FISHER OF MEN 7
fearless of death, sanguine both in the sense of being open and sensi- tive to the strange or the new, and in the sense of being subject to quick changes of mood. This Simon was a genuine Galilean. The Scriptures reveal him as a man of contradictions, but fully in accord with the temperament of his race. The blaze of great decisions burst from the power to love that is hidden in his heart, and in weak moments his timidity changes like the shadow of a swift-moving cloud over the brightness of his courageous will to be loyal unto death. These Galilean farmers and fishermen from beside the lake are like children in good and evil. Loathsome to them is the "yoke/* under which term they understand the law the 613 rules which the Pharisees deemed the will of God. A new Teacher who removed it from them and said that His yoke was sweet, won their hearts for His joyful tidings.
Simon was also among those who followed the Call of Jesus. For this he may have been prepared as a result of a popular movement which John the Baptist had created in the Land of the Jordan. From the beginning he was a member of the inner circle. When Jesus sent him out, together with the rest, He gav^him the name Kepha, which in English means "Rock" and in Greek "Peter." For these men and their times a name was more than a name. It was the sum- mary of a character and a destiny. Peter is, to be sure, not by nature a man of stone unless one thinks that his great, loyal willingness to self-sacrifice justifies the title. This willingness the fisherman, who is henceforth to be a fisher of men, does not lack. He is married, but gives up his trade; his house becomes a haven of the new Gospel. He gets out of his ship and places his feet on the water when the Master bids him come. When he suddenly recognizes Jesus calling from the shore, he casts himself from the skiff in which the others are straining to reach land and swims toward Him. But the "Rock" is also hard stone for the seed of the Sower. Jesus speaks of His Pas- sion that is to be, and Peter is frightened. God forbid! He places the voice of flesh and blood the hope that a mighty Messiah King is to be across the way of the Master whom he has even yet not understood. Jesus speaks sharply to him: "Get thee behind Me, Satan!" On the Mount of Transfiguration he desires three tents for his comfort; and beneath the olive trees of Gethsemane he sleeps