A few years ago I experienced the Rock of Gibraltar on the coast of Spain. My prayer partner and I declared God’s Word over a cliff, within a cloud that descended, and prayed to our Rock, Jesus Christ. That’s important to today’s message because I want to talk about Peter’s name change from ‘hearer’ to ‘rock’ in this second part of Leadership Lessons gained from Simon Peter’s life.
First of all, God has divine, rock-like attributes that bring us reassurance. He’s unmovable, unchangeable, impenetrable, and He’s our Protector. When things aren’t going well in our lives we can confidently trust those characteristics that describe Him.
From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Psalms 61:2, 3 NLT
Secondly, Jesus strategically changed Simon’s name to Peter which means rock. That’s significant because this impulsive, young follower would ultimately be transformed into the leader of the Twelve Apostles and the newly formed Church. Jesus knew His name needed to reflect a new characteristic: his rock-like faith.
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. Matthew 16:15-18 NLT
Undoubtedly, the reason why Jesus changed Simon’s name was that he had received a personal revelation from God that would forever transform him. It was the Rock of Salvation who spoke to Simon’s heart and revealed Himself as Christ and it’s the same divine revelation God uses with individuals today. No person can give revelation; it’s only God who removes the blinders from people’s hearts so they can hear and understand Him.
Leaders, we need to receive divine revelation from God and declare it into our lives and ministries in order to create life. Words have power and they impart life; Jesus blessed Peter for using them correctly. Peter, later on in his life, preached the gospel and used more of those inspired words to convince Jews and Gentiles alike that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
Finally, the Church that was being formed would need this revelation of the impenetrable, immovable, unchangeable Rock in order to endure. The gates of Hell and it’s power will not prevail over this global community of believers who have rock-like faith. When I stood on the Rock of Gibraltar and declared the wonderful scriptures describing God as the Rock, faith rose up in my heart and I knew, without a doubt, God would always be there for me. It’s proven true.