Summary: A series on the lives of the 12 Disciples
12 Disciples – Peter – Monday 25th September 06
Originally named Simon, Peter was a Galilean fisherman (Mark 1:16; Luke 5:2; John 21:3), the son of Jona (Matt. 16:17; John 1:42; 21:15-17) and brother of Andrew. John 1:35 -44 tells us that the brothers came from the village of Bethsaida and had been disciples of John the Baptist before they became disciples of Jesus.
The name ‘Peter’ is the Greek word for ‘rock’ (petra) The Greek rendering of the Aramaic name, Cephas, is also used for Peter in John 1:42.
All of the Gospel traditions place Peter among the first disciples to be called, frequently along with his brother Andrew and the sons of Zebedee (cf. Mark 1:16-20; Matt. 4:18-22; in John 1:40-42 Peter is summoned by Andrew and given his ‘name’ as part of his calling).
1. Called By Christ.
This account of Peter’s calling is the example of how we should respond to the call for discipleship. Confronted with Jesus’ divine power evident in the large catch, Peter confessed his own sinfulness (Luke 5:6-8). When summoned to change his life and become a ‘fisher of men,’ Peter and his companions left everything in order to follow Jesus (vv. 9-11).
Peter’s possessions were always at Jesus’ disposal. Jesus stayed at Peter’s house at Capernaum, where He healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31; Matt. 8:14-15; Luke 4:38-39). He used Peter’s boat as a place from which to speak to the crowd (Luke 5:1-3).
2. Walks on Water (Matthew 14:28 – 31)
The forth watch was 3am – 6am (darkest part of night). For hours the disciples have struggled in the midst of the stormy sea. They see the Lord approaching and think that He is a ghost. Our attention then turns to Peter. (Two ways of seeing this)
Before we criticise him for sinking, it took a great step of faith to get out of the safety of the boat and onto the stormy sea.
Why did he sink? (eyes off Lord)
3. Publicly Confesses Christ (Matthew 16:16 – 18)
Christ asks a rhetorical question (He knew everything – even men’s thoughts) A right confession of who He is determines salvation (Rom 10:9-10, 13) Some thought He was John the Baptist others thought He was Elijah.
Look at Peters response. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Who do men today say that Christ is? Jw’s, Mormons, etc… You?
4. Witnesses Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1 – 8)
Peter is credited with being a leader among the disciples during Jesus’ ministry. Frequently, he was their spokesman. His name always occurs first in lists of the disciples (Mark 3:16; Luke 16:14; Matt. 10:2; in Matthew ‘first’ is added to Peter’s name). Along with James and John, he is singled out for special revelations of Jesus’ divinity (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51, the healing of Jairus’ daughter; Mark 9:2; Matt. 17:1; Luke 9:28, the transfiguration)
The Transfiguration was, first of all, a picture of the coming kingdom. Jesus promised that some of the disciples would not see death until they had seen His kingdom (Mat 16:28). Read carefully 2 Peter 1:16-20 for Peter’s explanation, and you will see that it has to do with the promised kingdom.
Peter had just recently confessed Christ as the Son of God (16:16) and had learned the truth about His coming death (16:21-23). He and the other disciples were probably asking, “If He is going to die on the cross, what about all the promises of the kingdom? Will they be fulfilled?” Christ in His transfiguration assured them that the Word would stand and the kingdom would come.
The scene is actually a picture of the kingdom: Christ glorified, the three apostles representing the redeemed Israel, Moses representing saints who died in Christ, Elijah representing saints who were raptured (for Elijah did not die), and the multitudes at the foot of the mountain representing the other nations.
Again Peter speaks with a carnal viewpoint and tempts Jesus from the cross! The Father rebukes him. “Hear ye Him!” (Mat 18:5) is still God’s message, for Christ is God’s “last word” to men (Heb. 1:1-3). The law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah) witness to Christ (Luke 24:27, 44), but Christ is superior to Moses and Elijah (see Rom. 10:4; Acts 10:43.) “Jesus only” (v. 8) is the only safe attitude for the Christian to have.
5. Denies Christ (John 18:15 – 27) –
The narrative focuses on Peter now, and we see his sad decline. In the Upper Room, Peter had boasted three times that he would remain true to Christ (Matt. 26:33, 35; John 13:37).