2013-09-14 - The Disciples ~ Peter
The Disciples Series ~ Part 1
Matthew 16:18 "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church?" (NIV)
Peter is probably the most prominent of the twelve Disciples or Apostles. Simon was his personal name, and Jesus gave him the name Peter, which comes from the Greek word meaning "Rock." Three different names are used in the New Testament for Simon Peter. In Hebrew, he is called Simeon. Then there is Simon. In his writings, the Apostle Paul calls Simon Peter by the name Cephas, which is Aramaic for "Rock." Peter's family were mentioned, as well; his brother Andrew was also one on the twelve Disciples of Jesus. Peter was married, as the Gospel of Mark mentions his mother-in-law. Peter's worked as a fisherman for a living. He was in business with the Disciples James and John. In fact, Jesus called Peter to follow Him, while Peter was fishing.
Peter is probably the Disciple who is mentioned the most in the New Testament. He was the leader and spokesman for the twelve Disciples. Along with James and John, Peter was part of Jesus' inner circle. These three were present at several important events, such as the Transfiguration, as well as Jesus' agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter frequently questioned Jesus on behalf of the others. Perhaps the most significant actions of Peter were when he walked on the water, and when he identified Jesus as the Messiah.
After Jesus' death, he functioned as the spokesman for the church. Most notably, Peter addressed the crowds at Pentecost. Although persecuted and arrested, Peter continued to preach the Gospel. He wrote the books of 1st and 2nd Peter, and also helped to establish the Jerusalem church. Peter was ecumenical in appeal, being known as the Apostle to the Jews, as well as the man whom the Catholic faith considers as the first Pope.
Peter's strengths were boldness, leadership, and a willingness to speak up. His major weaknesses were fear and doubt. Remember that Peter denied Jesus three times.
Peter died as a martyr in Rome. He was killed by Emperor Nero in 64 or 65 A.D. Tradition holds that he was crucified upside-down at his request. Peter felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus.
Series to be continued.
Richard Moser, Jr