There is a concept from the Church Planting Movement whereby one looks for the "the man of peace." This concept comes from the sending of the disciples out two-by-two. When I first learned of it a couple of months past, it fascinated me. In contemplating what was to powerful as to move Peter so deeply, I started with his background.
Our first glimpse of his family comes from John 1:19 and following. Here John the Baptist baptizes in the Jordon leading to the baptism of Christ. John is in the crossing town of Bethany (Bethabara) and many of Israel are coming to him. Some theologians suggest that this was the sabbatical year giving the men of Israel the freedom to travel and come to John. It is in this context that we find Andrew and Peter, and John and James in Bethany. Andrew and John had spent enough time that they were now referred to as disciples of John the Baptist.
So, you might ask, what does this have to do with “the man of peace”? As I have spent the last week meditating on these texts, it appears to me that Peter was such a man. He clearly had come with his brother Andrew to see the Baptist, and likely was on some kind of spiritual walk that made him open to the voice of God.
If this is the beginning of Peter’s story, what might this say to us and our local gatherings? I was reminded recently by one of our missionaries of the importance of targeting our efforts so as to be wise stewards. Could this passage be challenging us to become more attuned to those who are already on a spiritual journey? Could we have much greater impact in people’s lives if we were sensitive to their walk? Do people notice the difference in our lives and come to see, but unlike John the Baptist, we don’t see their searching?
How have you seen God send into your life people who are looking for God? What might this kind of outreach look like in the day-to-day life of a church? What might attract people on the journey to us? Do we see God’s work in the lives of those around us?
In the life of Peter, the answer to these questions had a profound impact upon him, as John the Baptist, Andrew and John all had a part in the life-changing first meeting with Jesus. That story and its implications will be the topic of my next step in my journey.