The Message

Peter.1A Sinful Man #2

A study in Jesus’ dealings with Simon, brother of Andrew, who became the Apostle Peter.

Unlike some who continued to cling to John the Baptist after he identified “the lamb of God,” Andrew left John to follow Jesus as soon as John identified him as the Messiah. Andrew’s understanding of John’s message kept the evil one from snatching away the word sown in his heart and the seed grew into an even greater understanding.[1]

Andrew and Simon had good reasons for believing and embracing the gospel John and Jesus preached. An examination of the passage John the Baptist pointed to when the priest and Levites questioned him revealed John’s true identity.  John was not the Messiah but he was not “the voice” either. The passage in Isaiah 40 that began with the words “the voice of one calling” concluded with the words “For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” The “voice” was God’s voice giving John his calling.

A voice said, “Cry out.” And he [John the Baptist] said, “What shall I cry?”[2]

The voice, which is God’s voice told John to “Cry out.”  John the Baptist knew he was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophesy.  John’s mother, father and maybe Mary told him about prophesies spoken about him before he was born.  John knew Isaiah spoke of one that would announce the arrival of the Messiah and identify him to others. But he did not act upon the word of people of flesh, or even the written scriptures. He waited for a voice he could trust. Gods! That may be why John chose to live in the wilderness. He was waiting for the voice of God, so he could ask a question. “What shall I cry?”

This is where we get to the meat of John’s message to Judah, which encompassed more than pointing them to the Messiah. Isaiah gives us the voice told him to preach.

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass.  The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”[3]

Isaiah identified the fading flowers scattered by the breath of the Lord as the rulers of Israel and Judah. These rulers had no regard for the deeds of God and had no respect for his word. They had become wise in their own eyes and called evil good and good evil. They were drunkards who acquitted the guilty for a bribe and denied justice to the innocent. Their roots will decay and flowers blow away like dust because they “have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”[4]

Simon a.k.a. the Apostle Peter later quoted Isaiah 40:5-8 as a warning in his first letter to the Jewish Christians who had been driven out of Jerusalem.[5] The God we call upon judges each person’s work impartially. What he did to their ancestors, he will do to them if they allow themselves to become corrupt like their ancestors did. This warning also applies to the Gentile Christians. If anyone thinks they can become corrupt like the rulers of Israel and Judah without withering and being blown away, they are deceived. God’s word is good and stands forever. He will judge those who pervert justice and oppress the weak.

James also referenced Isaiah when he wrote the rich will fade like a wildflower.[6] But he was not talking about everyone who is rich. You can be rich without being corrupt. God is rich. Abraham, the father of our faith, was rich. James was talking about the rich who exploit us, drag us to court and slander the name of Jesus.[7] The rich who hoard wealth instead of helping the less fortunate, refuse to pay their workers, live in self-indulgence and condemn the innocent will wither and blow away.[8]

Andrew and Simon followed Jesus because they understood John’s message and believed Jesus would bring an end to tyrants who abuse their authority and exploit us. Their purpose in following Jesus transcended obtaining something for themselves. They sought a better world for everyone.

The senseless man does not know,

fools do not understand,

that though the wicked spring up like grass

and all evildoers flourish;

they will be forever destroyed.

Psalm 92:6-7

___________________________________________________________________________

[1] Matthew 13:18-23

[2] Isaiah 40:6, NKJ, John the Baptist is not in original text, added by author.

[3] Isaiah 40:5-8

[4] Isaiah 5:1-24

[5] 1 Peter 1:1 “The Jewish Christians driven out of Jerusalem and scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and Bithynia.” The Living Bible; 1 Peter 1:24

[6] James 1:9

[7] James 2:6-7

[8] James 5:1-6

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of Southern Christian Writers, Editor for Joyful Life Publishing, a freelance writer and author of three books.
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