Peter was a fisherman. As a young Jewish boy, he would have learned the law and memorized scripture. If he had been an exceptional student, a rabbi would have taken Peter on as a disciple. Peter would have followed that rabbi, learning from the rabbi so that he could eventually carry on that rabbi’s tradition. Apparently, though, Peter wasn’t a good enough student. No rabbi wanted to take Peter on as a disciple, so Peter turned to fishing, a trade he probably learned from his father.
I wonder if that reality passed through Peter’s mind as he stood up to give the first Christian sermon at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit had just fallen on the church and each person was speaking in different languages. They were declaring God’s glory as seen in Jesus and everyone present was able to hear the good news of the Messiah. It was into this setting that Peter stepped up to the proverbial microphone and preached a sermon that saw 3,000 people respond and get baptized.
Not bad for a fisherman who wasn’t good enough to get picked up by a rabbi.
That’s the difference between other rabbis and Jesus, our rabbi. Other rabbis picked students who were good enough, who could pass on what they were taught. Jesus picks us even though he knows we aren’t good enough on our own. We’re broken, sinful people and without Jesus we have no chance of passing on the hope, love, peace and righteousness that Jesus exemplified. In spite of that, though, Jesus picks us to be his disciples because, as Galatians says, his power is made perfect in our weakness.
So when we feel like we’re not good enough, that we can’t carry God’s kingdom to our neighborhoods much less the ends of the earth, we need to remember that we’re not alone. Peter was an uneducated fisherman who wasn’t good enough for any rabbi, but the Messiah chose Peter and Peter did amazing things for God’s kingdom.
We may not be called to preach in front of 3,000 people, but whatever our calling, the Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish it. As many have said, God doesn’t call the qualified, but he qualifies the called. God will give us everything we need, not because we’re good enough but because he is eternally good.
We have everything we need to fulfill God’s call on our lives and do our part in spreading his kingdom to the ends of the earth. We just need to get started.