Today, Tomorrow, and Forever

by M. A. Jollay

Chapter Two
The Man Peter

The term "apostle" with which Peter identifies himself in introducing his first epistle has become so stratified through ecclesiastical application that its original simplicity has all but disappeared. Whatever it may mean in the many religious orders of our day, it certainly was clothed with sincerity and humility when Peter placed it with his name.

This comes out more clearly in the salutation of his second epistle, where he says:
"Simon Peter, a bond-servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ."

Literally, that is "Simon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ." We will look more closely at the word "slave" when we get into the studies of 2 Peter, but sufficient for the moment . . . it is not as grotesque as it may sound. Not incompatible in such union usage as slave - apostle.

The original root words for apostle simply mean "one sent on a mission for another." Contemporarily, it relates more closely to our English word "ambassador" than any other, and is so used in the expanded translation:

"Peter an ambassador of Jesus Christ to those who have settled down along side of a pagan population -- scattered, the same as seed, throughout Pontius, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia . . . "

An ambassador, under some circumstances, may have a stiff responsibility at times in which his veracity and obedience as a representative must be as unfaltering as a bond-slave. But at the same time maintain the purpose and dignity of his assignment. And, most of all, to be a true representative of the one he represents.

Even the casual reader of 1 Peter will be convinced Peter's modest claims to apostleship were well warranted. And an in-depth study will make it all the more certain.

It is really hard to think of an ambassador being other than a designate of good will. It escalates back through the Calvary-Christ . . . all the way to God Himself, who so loved the world that He sent the first emissary of peace . . . the Lord Jesus Christ. His was a message and ministry of reconciliation . . . that the world might be reconciled to God. To find peace in His presence, joy in His fellowship, purpose in His will, wonder in His love.

The man who understands the heart of God in Christ can no longer be the enemy of God. This is John 3:16 literally poured forth:

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17)

The bruskness of Peter's early days have long since passed away. Calvary made a difference. Pentecost made a difference. But with these foundational penetrations of God's encounters into the rugged fisherman's life came the same mellowing and compassions that were so beautifully self-evident in the Saviour he loved.

Long and worn was the path Peter followed. We have reasons to believe no less hazardous than that of Paul's. But beyond those to whom he could personally minister, Peter yearned to share with many of the scattered believers who had, in the certain providence of God, settled down as germinating seed alongside the pagan. They were the life lines God had sent out to leaven the world with the gospel. But in their dire isolation, they needed the fellowship and counsel of more illuminated minds . . . words of faith, of love, and understanding.

So Peter, borne along by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, wrote this wonderful. message of kind love and admonition. And it is as up-to-date and needful today as before the ink dried on his scroll.

read Chapter Three

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