(J.R. Miller, “Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ” 1890)
“He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, He gave the name Peter” Mark 3:16
In an art gallery in Europe are shown, side by side–the first and the last works of a great artist. The first is very crude and most faulty; the last is a masterpiece. The contrast shows the results of long culture and practice.
These two names, are like those two pictures:
Simon shows us the crude fisherman of Galilee, with all his rashness, his ignorance, his imperfectness.
Peter shows us the apostle of the Acts and the Epistles; the firm and secure rock; the man of great power, before whose Spirit-filled eloquence, thousands of proud hearts bow; the gentle, tender soul whose words fall like a benediction; the noble martyr witnessing to the death for his Lord.
Study the ‘two pictures’ together, to see what grace can do for a man!
It is not hard to take roses, lilies, fuchsias, and all the rarest flowers–and make forms of exquisite beauty with them. But to take weeds, dead grasses, dried leaves, and trampled and torn and faded flowers, and make lovely things out of such base materials–is the severest test of skill.
It would not be hard to take an angel, and train him into a glorious messenger. But to take such a man as Simon, or as Saul, or as John Newton, or as John Bunyan, and make him into a holy saint or a mighty apostle–that shows great power and ability!
Yet that is exactly what Christ did with Peter, and has been doing ever since. He takes the poorest stuff, despised, worthless and vile–ofttimes the outcast of men; and when He has finished His gracious transforming work–we behold a saint whiter than snow!
The sculptor beheld an ‘angel’ in the rough, blackened stone which had been thrown away. And when he was finished–behold! men saw an angel cut from the rejected block!
Just so, Christ can take us, as rough, as unpolished and as vile as we are–and in His hands, our lives shall grow into purity and loveliness, until He presents us at last before the celestial throne, faultless and perfect! “For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son!” Romans 8:29
See what grace can do for a man!
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