Summary: Peter’s call by Christ

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I don’t know if you have a favourite character in Scripture or if there is someone with whom you readily identify? I love Simon Peter in the New Testament. Yet when I think about him I have to readily admit I don’t know an awful lot about him and yet he is mentioned 200 times in the New Testament. That shows how central a character he is when you compare that John is mentioned less than 50. In fact the first 12 chapters of the book of Acts are given over solely to Peter. Peter is generally pictured as rugged, impulsive, strong and quick tempered. He is also remembered as the fragile fisherman who denied Jesus to a little servant girl and the one who cut off Malchus’ ear in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet he is a far more complex character than the caricature in most people’s minds. So today we start a sermon series on Simon Peter. The purpose is that in understanding Simon from the New Testament we will understand more of his friendship with Christ Jesus – and so learn how our relationship with Christ can grow.


His given name was Simon bar-Jonah – which means today Simon Johnson. Jesus gave him the new name Peter – we will look at that further in a moment.

He was the brother of Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus.

He was originally from Bethsaida, on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee.

In Mark 2.4 we read that his house was 2 stories high, providing space for him, his wife and his mother in law, brother Andrew and possibly Jesus (Matthew 8.14; Mark 1.29, 36; 2.2).

He was a fisherman by trade, he partnered with Andrew, James and John.

He had no formal education..

He had a distinct Galilean accent, which readily identified him.

He was in the core of the disciples, the ‘three’ closest to Jesus.

He was clearly the leader amongst the twelve – the disciples are often designated as ‘Peter and those with him’ (Mark 1.36; Luke 9.32).

His name is always the first in the list of the disciples, and Judas’ always last. The denier and the betrayer as a set of bookends.

He was the first person to confess his sinfulness to Jesus.

He receives the most severe rebukes from Jesus.

At least seven miracles of Jesus are performed for Peter or are connected to him – two miraculous catches of fish, the curing of his mother-in-law, his walking on water, the healing of Malchus’ ear, two miraculous deliverances from prison and the coin in the mouth of the fish to pay the taxes due.

Mark’s Gospel is written because of him.

He suggests replacing Judas (Acts 1.15).

He preaches the first sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2).

He performs the first healing (Acts 3).

He defends the gospel before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4).

He decides the case of Annanias and Sapphira (Acts 5).

He is the first counsellor to Paul (Gal.1.18).

He mediates between James and Paul (Acts 15).

We don’t know much about his later life – other than that he took missionary journeys to Corinth and Rome – where Eusebius tells us he was crucified by Nero. So that is a brief synopsis of Simon Peter’s life. But this morning I want to concentrate on the call of Simon by Jesus.

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