Summary: In this summary of the series on the life of Peter, we explore the end of Peter's life left to us through history and tradition, and we explore how to leave a legacy like Peter's.
A. There’s a story told of a group of tourists who were on a sightseeing tour of the Holy Lands.
1. The group came to one of the historical areas and a local exhibit owner offered to take the group into his exhibit to see the bones of the apostle Peter, for a small fee, of course.
2. The group members paid the fee and entered the exhibit.
3. As they looked at the bones of Peter, one of the group members said to the exhibit owner, “In a different city on our tour we visited another exhibit that claimed to have the bones of Peter. Your bones of Peter are much smaller than the bones we saw in that exhibit.”
4. The exhibit owner quickly explained, “The bones of Peter that I have on display are his bones when he was a boy, and that’s why they are smaller!”
5. That certainly makes sense, doesn’t it?
B. Although there are many legends and myths surrounding the apostle Peter, it has been my goal to lead us in a study of the life of Peter that was Biblical and truthful.
1. I hope that our sermon series on Peter’s life has blessed you as much as it has me.
a. I am sad that the series is coming to a close today.
2. We started the series 18 sermons ago, back in May.
3. In Peter’s very first encounter with Jesus, Jesus gave Peter the name “rock.”
a. We have seen Peter grow into that name.
4. In Peter’s next encounter with Jesus, he was given a call to become a fisher of men, and Peter, Andrew, James and John left their nets and boats behind and followed Jesus.
a. When we follow Jesus, there is much that we must also leave behind.
C. As we have journeyed with Peter as he followed Jesus, we have witnessed his highs and lows.
1. We have seen Peter get it, and we have seen him fail to get it.
a. We have seen Peter do the right thing, and we have seen him do the wrong thing.
b. One minute he was walking on the water with Jesus, and the next minute he was sinking.
c. One minute Peter declared the Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God, and the next minute Peter tried to keep Jesus from God’s mission and Jesus called him “Satan.”
2. Peter witnessed Jesus’ glory in the transfiguration, and he saw the power of God at work in Jesus through the healings, the exorcisms, and even in the miraculous catches of nets full of fish, and a single fish with a coin in his mouth to pay their taxes.
3. When many in the crowd turned their back on Jesus because the demands of discipleship were great, Jesus asked His disciples if they too wanted to leave, and Peter declared, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of life…you are the Holy One of God.”
6. We watched Peter learn to serve when Jesus washed his feet.
7. We learned that there is hope for the fallen by seeing the way Jesus treated Peter after Peter had denied Jesus three times.
a. When Jesus was raised from the dead, He sent word through the angel that He wanted to see Peter, and then Jesus made a private appearance to Peter, and finally Jesus reinstated Peter in the presence of the other apostles in John 21.
8. Then we saw the change in Peter that came after the resurrection of Jesus and after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
a. Peter rose to the occasion and to his calling, and proclaimed the truth about Jesus to the crowd of Jews on the day of Pentecost, and in a single day the church grew from a group of about 120 to a group of over 3000.
9. From that day forward, we saw the influence of Peter’s life as he had a ministry of healing, helping and encouraging, and has he had a ministry of rebuking and correcting.
a. We saw Peter’s courage as he would not be silenced by the Jewish leaders, even though they arrested him, beat him, and threatened him.
10. At the house of a Gentile named Cornelius, we witnessed Peter allowing God to change his heart and mind about the prejudices he had toward the Gentiles.
11. And then last week, as we saw Peter’s miraculous escape from prison and from the hand of Herod, we, along with Peter and the early church, worked to understand that God is in control and that God’s will is not always our will.
D. Today, as we bring our journey with Peter to completion, I want us to look at what we know about the end of Peter’s life that comes to us through history and tradition, rather than from Scripture.