Simon Peter, Was He Simon, or Was He Peter? (Luke 6:12-16). We learn the twelve were divided into three groups, or three teams, of four. Each group had a leader. Simon Peter was the leader of the first group and also, as we will see, the leader of the twelve. Philip was the leader of group two and James son of Alphaeus was the leader of group three. Jesus established an order of leaders among leaders with Simon Peter being the leader of all.

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 6

by Pastor Delbert Young

Simon Peter, Was He Simon, or Was He Peter? video audio (Luke 6:12-16)

Simon Peter, Was He Simon, or Was He Peter? video audio (Luke 6:12-16)

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Simon Peter, Was He Simon, or Was He Peter? video audio (Luke 6:12-16)

Scriptures: Acts 1:8; Ephesians 2:19-20; Acts 2:42; Luke 6:12-16; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Matthew 10:2; Luke 6:14; John 1:42; John 1:42; Matthew 16:15-19; Luke 22:31-34

We are taking a few weeks to look at the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. As we began seeing last week, these men shook and changed the world.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ENDS OF THE EARTH.”

Jesus never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place he was born, but these men went to the ends of the earth.

Ephesians 2:19-20 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

It’s because of them we have church today and you will avoid the torments of hell. They are foundational in all our church and lives.

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly IN THE APOSTLES’ DOCTRINE and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

It’s actually by their doctrine we live and establish our lives. Yet, we know so little about them. These are the men Jesus, the Son of God, spent his time with, loved, spoke into their lives, and to whom he conveyed and committed his kingdom and his church. We need to spend some time with and know them also.

Last time we saw they were ordinary men called to be extraordinary. Life Gate Church was called to be extraordinary, but we’ve allowed it and ourselves to become ordinary. The Lord challenged us last week and many of you said you would do something to again take Life Gate from ordinary to extraordinary. Have you done anything yet? What are your plans? What these men did saved you, me, our children, and others from hell. We need to see everything we do for and in the kingdom will do the same. So, what do you plan to do?

Luke 6:12-16 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.

All these men were from Galilee (with the exception of Judas Iscariot). None were from the elite religious hub around Jerusalem. They were, by man’s standards, low class and most of them uneducated. They were unqualified “nobody’s.” None were priests, scribes, Pharisees, PhD’s, Sadducees, etc. Of the twelve, four were fishermen, one was a tax collector, one was a terrorist, one was a traitor, and we don’t know what the others did. Yet, the kingdom depended upon them. Jesus had only two years to train and prepare them and they had no idea what was about to transpire in their lives.

There are four lists of the apostles in the New Testament: Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-18; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13. In these lists the names are the same, but not in identical order except for three names –

Simon (whom he also named Peter),

Philip,

James son of Alphaeus

There are always three groups of four.

Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John,

Philip, Bartholomew (Nathanial), Matthew, Thomas,

James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

The first name in all four lists is always Simon Peter and in his group are always Andrew, James and John. In every list they are the first four. Andrew, James, and John are moved around, but Simon Peter is always first and these four are always in group one. Group two is always the same with Philip, Bartholomew (Nathanial), Matthew, and Thomas. Philip is always first, but Bartholomew, Matthew, and Thomas are moved around. Group three is always James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot. James son of Alphaeus is always first. Judas Iscariot is always last. Simon the Zealot and Judas son of James are sometimes moved around.

What do we learn from this? We learn the twelve were divided into three groups, or three teams, of four. Each group had a leader. Simon Peter was the leader of the first group and also, as we will see, the leader of the twelve. Philip was the leader of group two and James son of Alphaeus was the leader of group three. Jesus established an order of leaders among leaders with Simon Peter being the leader of all.

The groups also show decreasing closeness of relationship with Jesus. The first group is always close around Jesus – Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Group two is more distant from Jesus. Group three we hardly know anything about except Judas Iscariot.

What do we learn from that? We see how relationships are meant to be. In his humanity, Jesus was not as close to some people as he was others. Did that mean he didn’t love them all? No. That’s how God designed relationships to work. That shouldn’t offend us. Instead, work and build the relationships God has given us. We all have people we are close to, people a little more distant, and then people further away. That’s not wrong. It’s simply how God designed relationships.

These men were just like you and me with different personalities and temperaments. Peter was outspoken and always opinionated. John said very little. Bartholomew (also called Nathanial) had bold faith while Thomas was a skeptic and wouldn’t believe unless he saw and touched. Their politics were different. Matthew was a tax collector for Rome. Simon the Zealot was a terrorist who hated anyone attached to Rome. Zealots were a terrorist group known to knife Roman soldiers in the back. Yet, there was most despised Matthew placed with Simon the Zealot. Jesus made a blend that changed the world. Look around in here. Look at us. We have some very outspoken and opinionated people and some of you hardly say anything. We have some very bold in your faith and want to lay hands and prophesy on everyone. We have others who won’t believe in that unless they can see it and touch it. We have some terrorist… LOL, a few Democrats, a bunch of Republicans, and some independents… We are all different, but God put us together to change this area. Can we do it without knifing one another?

At least some, if not all, of the apostles had families. We know Simon Peter did.

1 Corinthians 9:5 Don’t we have the right to bring a Christian wife along with us as the other disciples and the Lord’s brothers and Peter do?

What I always point out is Jesus summoned twelve men to follow him. That was twelve men with families and family obligations. Someone had to take on the financial responsibilities for those families. That would be Jesus. Obviously, Jesus had healthy financial support to do this.

I’ve often wondered how it would be to do that. How would it be to take on the financial responsibilities for men with families and pour yourself into them? How would it be to sit around every day and night teaching and talking about the things of God, opening scriptures, praying, allowing each to share, and training men to minister? What would be the financial need to do something like that today for two years? Let’s use $50,000 x 12 men x 2 years = $1,200,000.00. If I were to tell you I wanted to take three men and do this for the next two years ($300,000), how would you respond? I don’t mean say, “That’s a great idea, Pastor.” I mean how would you respond to financially supporting the development of men to change your region, advance the kingdom, and save souls? A reason Jesus was able to leave men who would change the world is because people gave financially. I wonder how many of us would have given to Jesus’ ministry.

I said Simon Peter was the leader of all the apostles.

Matthew 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; the FIRST, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother…

The word first is protos {pro’-tos} meaning first in time or place, first in any succession of things or persons, first in rank, first in influence, honor, chief, principal, first, at the first. Simon Peter was the first in rank and overall leader. Peter was the leader. That’s why it was Peter who preached on the Day of Pentecost and leads in the first twelve chapters of the Book of Acts. It’s important we take a few weeks and get to know Simon Peter a little better.

Luke 6:14 Simon (he ALSO CALLED him Peter)…

Jesus didn’t change Simon’s name. He also called him Peter. Jesus didn’t replace the old name. He added a name. He was Simon and he was also Peter. We learn an interesting principle. Jesus met Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, first. Andrew brought Simon to Jesus.

John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be CALLED CEPHAS” (which, when translated, is Peter).

Cephas or Peter is Kephas {kay-fas’} meaning a stone or rock. Let’s read it that way.

John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called ROCK” (which, when translated, is Peter).

You will be called Rock. Peter would become the leader of the apostles, so Jesus created a way to communicate his approval and disapproval of his leader Simon, who he also called Peter. Jesus sent Simon Peter a message simply by the name Jesus chose to address him. If Jesus called him Simon, Simon was acting like his old self. If Jesus called him Rock, Peter was on target doing and being what Jesus needed him to do and be. The writers, i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John usually called him “Peter” or “Simon Peter.” However, frequently, Jesus changed from “Peter” to “Simon.” When that happens, we learn a valuable principle.

My parents did that with me. My name is Delbert Ray Young, Jr. My Aunt Ruth once called me, as a baby, Delby. I suppose I looked like a “Delby” (little Delbert) compared to my father being Delbert, Sr. (I was a very adorable baby and Delby fit.) “Delby” stuck. The first time my wife heard me addressed as “Delby,” she looked at me, said smiling, “Delby?” but she’s never called me Delby. All my aunts, uncles, cousins, my mother, and dad called me Delby… when I was a “good boy” doing and being what everyone expected of me, but when I messed up, even just a little and they were aggravated with me, I was Delbert Ray! (I know my sharing that story caused many of you to store “Delby” in your thinking and you plan to use it on me to be humorous. That’s ok. It’s an endearing name to me meaning I’m good and adorable, but God might get you if you mock your pastor!)

Perhaps you had a name your parents switched to when they were unhappy with you. That’s what Jesus did with Simon who he also called Rock. He was Rock when Peter was who Jesus needed him to be – the first leader and example of his apostles. He was Simon when he reverted back to his old self.

Here’s our principle. Jesus needed Simon to be Rock. Who does Jesus need you to be? Within every one of us there are two “identities”…LOL. My wife went on a trip with her best friend. A day or so after she returned, she and I got into her car to go someplace. The radio station was on some hard rock, head banging, rap station and it was loud! I looked at my sweet, laid back Judy and said, “Did you have it on THAT station?” She smiled and said, “Yes. That’s my other self.” What’s your “other self”? When does Jesus call you “Simon,” and when are you the “Rock”?

Jesus asked his disciples who people were saying he was. They said some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.

Matthew 16:15-19 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: FOR flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art PETER {ROCK}, and upon this ROCK {PETER} I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew writing this gospel called him Simon Peter. Jesus called him Rock! The Rock was not listening to whom people said Jesus was. The Rock was listening to whom God the Father said Jesus was. That’s what Jesus needed from the Rock. Jesus could and would build on that. When he was the Rock he had access to the keys of the kingdom and able to bind and loose.

It’s important to know who Jesus wants and needs you to be. Not only will he build upon you, but you will have the keys of the kingdom to bind and loose. What do you need bound and loosed – finances, health, marriage, occupation, children? It’s when you’re who God needs that you can bind it or loose it.

Luke chapter 22 is where Jesus ended the Old Covenant Passover and instituted the New Covenant with the Lord’s Table Communion. It was an intense moment with Jesus only hours from execution. However, the disciples got into a dispute about who was the greatest (22:24). Obviously, Simon Peter was involved in the dispute. After addressing the issue, Jesus looked at him…

Luke 22:31-34 “SIMON, SIMON, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, SIMON that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I TELL YOU, PETER, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Isn’t that interesting? Here he is both Simon and Rock. Satan could sift Simon. Rock would come out of the sifting and strengthen his brothers. Simon would go into the denial of Jesus, but Rock would come out and did.

What’s interesting is this “Simon, Simon…” is only hours before Jesus was crucified and late in Simon’s experience with Jesus…. “and on this rock I will build my church…” was fairly early in Simon Peter’s experience with Jesus. It shows us, because we grow older in the Lord doesn’t mean we cannot regress in the expectations the Lord has for us. Too frequently Jesus has to say to me, “DELBERT RAY, DELBERT RAY!”

Peter was like all of us. He was sometimes carnal Simon and in the wrong kingdom. He was sometimes Rock spiritual and doing the exact will of God. Interestingly, this “sometimes Peter” and “sometimes Simon” guy was the leader of the people who changed the world.

Other than Jesus, Simon Peter’s name is mentioned in the gospels more than any other name? All four gospels are filled with Simon Peter. No one speaks as often as Simon Peter and Jesus spoke to no one as often as Simon Peter. No apostle is so criticized and rebuked as was Peter. No other apostle criticized and rebuked the Lord but Simon Peter. No apostle recognized and proclaimed the Christ-ship of Jesus more than Simon Peter, but no one denied it as boldly as Simon Peter. No apostle is as remembered and praised as is Simon Peter, but no one is called Satan by Jesus but Simon Peter. Jesus said harder things to Peter than he said to anyone else, but that’s what it took to make Peter the person God needed him to be. Simon Peter became the greatest preacher and dictates the first twelve chapters of Acts which is the birth of the church.

Who would admit that sometimes you are not the identity Jesus wants you to be? Sometimes you more like Simon when you know Jesus needs you to be Rock. So what can we do about it? This is the first step when you recognize it. But second realize, it’s times when you are more like Simon when you are sifted by Satan. The bad things happening in our lives are when hell prevails. You need the keys of the kingdom and they are in conjunction with when you are more like the Rock. How many will say, “Lord help me be the person you want me to be”?

Other Related Sermons:

You and the Tomb – Easter sermon

Siftings of Satan, Simon, Simon – video audio notes(Luke 22:31-38

The Resurrection Proofed – Easter sermon video audio notes

Also see:

Sermons Change The World

Life Gate Church sermons by Delbert Young