Friday, 24 April 2009


Andrew, discerning that to meet
Messiah was his brother’s wish,
Brought Simon as his earliest fish
To lay before the Master’s feet.

But Simon was already known
Before he joined Christ’s company
For He looked on him carefully
And gave to him the surname “stone”.

Thus was begun a work which would
Proceed by teaching, grace, rebuke
And all the ways that wisdom took
Till what remained was wholly good.

The Master, walking by the sea
Saw Peter and his brother cast
Their net, as often in the past;
They ceased when He said, “Follow Me”.

In Simon’s house the Lord observed
His mother-in-law who was ill;
With Him it was not long until,
Under His powerful hand, she served.

When Jesus guided to detach
From nature Peter - doubtful yet
Obedient - letting down his net
Was given an overwhelming catch.

He cried, stunned by the bulging haul,
“O Lord, I am a sinful man:
Depart from me!” - but then began
To go with Christ, forsaking all.

Such now his hunger and his thirst
For righteousness that he was blessed
And, sovereignly, among the rest
Of the disciples he was first.

Thus in the history we may note
Increased affection for the Friend;
“If it be Thou” - he would depend
On Christ to draw him from the boat.

And if while on the water waves
Distracted till he cried with fear
He quickly found the Lord is near
As One who cares, and helps, and saves.

The twelve, like formed stones in a hod,
Were borne till each should be a block
Being built together on the Rock,
The Christ, Son of the living God.

But it was Peter who confessed
Because to him it was revealed -
He had begun to be a field
Whose produce showed the Lord had blessed.

Yet it was Peter who next took
Jesus to him, trying to divert
From suffering, making Christ assert
Peter’s mind’s sin, by sharp rebuke.

Peter was one whom Jesus chose
To climb the mountain where the light
Shone from Christ, and His clothes were white -
And what did Peter do but doze!

Wakening he, with his usual vim
Spoke - but mistook God’s special choice;
He was adjusted by the voice,
“This is my Well-Beloved: hear Him“.

Years after Peter could record
The glory of Christ’s majesty
And what the Father had to say
To magnify His Son, our Lord.

Descending to a lowly place
The Saviour took the dying way
And helped His own from day to day
To learn Him and to grow in grace.

When Peter said of Christ that He
Would pay the tribute men thought due
He gave - and gave for Peter too -
But taught him that “the sons are free”.

He gave as Master of the sea
By bringing first to Peter’s hook
The creature from whose mouth he took
The coin, Christ said, “for Me and thee”

Amid men’s ignorance and crimes
He taught His own how they should live,
Instructing Peter to forgive
To seventy times seven times.

Christ shunned by Jews and their High Priest
Sent John and Peter as a pair
To work together to prepare,
In line with his desire, the feast.

But in His wisdom He did not
Provide a name of house or street;
They would be led when they would meet
A man who bore a waterpot.

Their work for Him might be complete
But His for them went on apace -
Kindly He took the servant’s place
Coming to each to wash His feet.

That One with all things in His hand,
Laying His usual garments by,
Should take their feet to wash and dry
Peter could barely understand.

Christ taught that nothing else sufficed
If Peter was to know His mind -
And how ennobling to find
That thought was to have part with Christ.

The Lord then showed to them before
The sorrow came how great His care,
With Simon, subject of His prayer,
Assured that Jesus would restore.

See Peter at Gethsemane
Asleep - or brandishing a sword:
Or hear while he denies his Lord
As warmed by fleshly company.

For Peter to repent this sin
Did not require a harsh rebuke
But only Jesus’ tender look
Since grace was strengthening within.

See Peter, lately sunk in gloom,
Bitter in spirit and forlorn,
Bounding, as if he was reborn,
Towards the Saviour’s empty tomb.

In the same grace He showed before
The day when the Lord Jesus rose
Was spent in shepherd care for those
Like Simon whom He would restore.

Christ spoke of more than men could wish
In heavenly relationships -
But see how quickly Peter dips
From God’s high thought to go to fish.

As always Christ’s response was fine:
He gave the wanderers a catch
Which human efforts could not match,
Then said to them to come and dine.

Christ’s probe to Peter’s soul was deep,
Though that was grace to meet his need;
Then Christ could give the charge to feed
His lambs, and feed and herd His sheep.

God’s work secured in Peter’s soul
Could, though the Lord had gone on high,
Give wisdom and the word to apply
That the disciples might be whole.

Thus when the Holy Spirit came
Peter was ready for the hour
And God could fill him with the power
Suiting the message to proclaim.

He preached of how God’s counsels planned
That Jesus died (while men displayed
Their hatred) and that God had made
Him Lord and Christ at His right hand.

He preached that Jesus Christ who went
To death was He who had sustained
All life, and they would be maintained
By Him if they would just repent.

He preached the virtue of the Name
Of Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone:
Since that Name - and that Name alone -
Has power to be the sinner’s claim.

He preached that God must be obeyed,
While through the One men crucified,
Whom God had raised and glorified,
The Holy Spirit was conveyed.

He preached to Gentile as to Jew
Asserting Christ is Lord of all -
Gentiles who answer to His call
Will have their sins remitted too.

He preached with power - but power was seen
In action too: the lame man walked,
Leaped, and praised God, when Peter talked
Of Jesus Christ the Nazarean.

While there was power in judgment when
Defiant Ananias lied
Since it was God he had defied
As his wife’s judgment showed again.

And there was power when he had kneeled,
Then called out, “Tabitha, arise”;
With Dorcas opening her eyes
God’s might and favour were revealed.

And there was power from God to reach
The Gentiles - and in Peter’s mind
To break the wall there till we find
Him greet Cornelius through that breach.

The Lord required that he should see,
From heaven, the beasts in the great sheet
And have the word to slay and eat:
It came, he said, “even to me”.

Yet law’s grip on him was to force
Paul to withstand him to the face:
Only by faith in Christ, through grace,
We have relief, and new resource.

If wicked men would have him chained,
With walls, and guards, and gates to keep
Him till his death Peter could sleep
Since, come what might, God would have gained.

Soon he had reason to rejoice -
Chains fall, the angel leads, gates swing,
He finds a prayerful gathering
Of saints, and one who knows his voice.

Though Jesus had conveyed to him
That Peter would be bound, and die,
In his epistles the supply
Of faith and grace have not grown dim.

He wrote about the preciousness
Of Jesus blood - the blood of One
Foreknown before time had begun
Through whom God’s heart is free to bless.

He wrote about the preciousness
Of Jesus as the Living Stone,
God’s chosen to whom we alone
Come, though men think him valueless.

He wrote about the preciousness
Of One formed in the Christian’s heart
Which gives grace beyond human art
From twist of gold or curl of tress.

He wrote about the preciousness
Of that faith which believers share;
Yet gave us warning to take care
Lest we should fall from steadfastness.

Ready to quit his earthly tent
And knowing this would soon take place
His final word was, “Grow in grace…”
Following his own development.

“…And in the knowledge of our Lord
And Saviour Jesus Christ”, the Man
With whom God’s work, since it began,
Brought Peter’s soul into accord.

His words to us are ended when
That Name had made his spirit bow
In praise - “To Him be glory…now
And to…eternity. Amen”

Away for a couple of days - so I have left you something to keep you going!

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