Editor’s Note: Charlie Batzold, as he liked to be called, was most certainly God’s man, almost a pattern for Psalms 37: 23, “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in his way.” A beloved padre in World War I, a Congregationalist minister and a spiritual trailblazer, he was a man on a mission. It was said that he could speak with all the passion of John the Baptist as he would quote such things as, “Ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell.” Yet, in the very next breath, his words could be tender and sympathetic and bring a tear to the eyes. His life changed when in 1920 he met Professor Odlum and Pastor Goard and he learned the Israel Truth. From that moment on, he became a crusader, a tireless leader, and a man with a purpose. Indeed, no man of the cloth had any more resolute confidence in his mission and its responsibilities than this man. He jumped in with both feet and went everywhere preaching the Israel Truth, at churches, service clubs and any place where the desire to listen was evident. As his name became known, huge crowds would be there to meet him. He took on the leading role of Secretary-General of the Movement and helped organize British-Israel associations, conferences and youth groups across Canada with much success. He went on to form his Reconciliation Ministry and “Excalibur,” a magazine that discussed world events in light of Scripture prophecy.
Peter is the best known of all the disciples of the Lord. In his life, we see our faults and failings. Peter vowed that he would never betray the Lord, and within a very short time, did that very thing in the denial of the Lord, as Jesus was being led away to prison. We too, vow to do certain things, and in the weakness of the flesh, soon find that we are incapable of living up to our desires in the matter.
There was something in Peter that raised him above the average. In spite of all his shortcomings, there was a grandness about him. By our study of the Scriptures dealing with Peter, we might say that he was a philosopher. The word ‘ Philo-sopher ’ means ‘ Friend of Knowledge’ ’ and Peter asked more questions than any of the other disciples: he did want to know things, and was not content until he had the answer.
Peter’s questions revealed depth: “To whom shall we go? How oft shall I forgive? Whither goest Thou? Why cannot I follow Thee?” Peter was deeply conscious of his own sinful shortcomings: “Depart from me O Lord, for I am a sinful man;” ‘That be far from Thee,’ revealed that he had a profound sense of the holiness of His Lord, and did not want any grief to overtake His Lord.
His “I will lay down my life for Thee” revealed his devotion to the Lord, and we sincerely believe that he meant what he said. Yet this m an lacked coherence in his subject matter. He did not put all his answers together. This factor was understood by John, who gave us that grand opening to his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the Word was God”.
To Peter; Jesus was indeed precious; yet his understanding of the divine realities, was as yet, uncut gems, rather than a necklace that one could put around one’s neck. So Jesus began to deal with this soul.
Simon, (Obedient hearer) was first given a new na m e, Peter, (stone) and Jesus looked on Peter. Jesus did more than glance at him, Jesus ‘estimated’ him, and said: “Thou art Cephas.” That Simon understood the Lord had looked into his very soul, was manifest in the fact for once, Peter became speechless.
A stone is solid and He needed solidity; this was a prophetic promise to him. Peter vac il lated all through Jesus’ ministry; immediately after this, Peter went back to his nets, and Jesus went after him. When the time came for Jesus to go to the cross, Peter would have him avoid it. But Jesus answered: “Get thee behind Me Satan.”
Later, when Jesus was transfigured, Peter wanted to build shrines; and shortly afterward, he denied his Lord, cursing and swearing. And to read that “Jesus looked on him” and this look made Peter recall all that the Lord had promised to do. This broke Peter’s heart, and he wept.
Peter revealed a far-reaching faith; for of all the disciples, he was the only one who dared to attempt the walking on water. He did not stop to question but stepped out of the boat and walked with his eyes on Jesus.
Later, this factor was brought home to Peter. He started to ask the Lord about His plans for John; and Jesus told him that his mission was not to be concerned with others, but to follow his Lord, (John 21:20-23). And so Peter began to experience the joy of the new birth with his outpouring at Pentecost; and he finally learned to put the truths of God together, as a necklace of spiritual gems. (2 Peter 1:1-10)