The goal of this series is to study the group of 12 young men who spent approximately 3 years with Jesus, from the time of his baptism until his resurrection. We’ll look at their character, their transformation, and their relationship with Jesus and learn from their lives.
You can read the full preface to this series to see how I have defined discipleship and see a timeline of how the disciples met Jesus and followed him.
So far we have looked at Andrew.
Peter: The Rock or Fisher of Men?
What image comes to mind when you think of the disciple Peter? For many, it’s “the rock.”
No, not that rock!
*Sorry to all those reading this that have never watched the WWF at some point in your life…I simply couldn’t resist the temptation.
So, we were saying…Peter, the rock.
No, not this image either!
When Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 that He was going to build the church on “this rock,” it is easy to confuse what He actually meant. Was he speaking of Peter? Was Peter to be the foundation of the Church? Taking that to its logical conclusion, it is easy to see it’s absurd outcome: the Church would be built on the foundation of a flawed human being.
So what was Jesus speaking of? By reading Matthew 16:13-18, we see that he was actually speaking of building His Church on the fact that He was, in fact, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. From this rock, the Church and the Kingdom of God would grow and thrive on a solid foundation. I like the way this picture depicts this idea.
Peter, then, must be pictured differently. Probably the most famous visual is that of Peter, the fisher of men.
Umm…I’m sure you saw that one coming!
Before we even begin our look at Peter, put yourself in this story. Pause for a moment as you imagine yourself on a salty, wet boat. Your arms and back are aching from casting and pulling in a thick, coarse net. You look up and you see a familiar face standing at the shore. Your brother had introduced you to this man before and you were intrigued by his wisdom and character. Life, however, continued, sweeping you along to this very day. As He calls out to you, you feel destiny tugging you toward Him.
In the Bible
Accomplishments of Peter:
How could you not put “walking on water” at the top of Peter’s list?! Jesus invited Peter to come to Him, and Peter got out of his boat and, for a moment, walked on water (Matthew 14:28-33). Kind of hard to beat that kind of accomplishment!
Peter also correctly identified Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 16:16), thanks to the Holy Spirit, before the other disciples except Andrew, his brother. He was chosen by Jesus, along with 2 of the other disciples, to witness the transfiguration. After Pentecost, Peter boldly proclaimed the gospel in Jerusalem, unafraid of arrest and persecution. Most scholars believe Peter to be the eyewitness source for the Gospel of Mark. Later, he wrote the letters 1 Peter and 2 Peter.
Like the other 11 apostles, he left his occupation and family to follow Jesus for three years, learning from Jesus about true life. Once he was filled with the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, Peter was a fearless apostle for Christ.
Peter was a flawed and perfectly ordinary man, full of fear and doubt. He allowed his passions to rule him, causing him to act rashly and overconfidently many times. The glaring moment of weakness was when he not only abandoned Jesus, as the other disciples did, but he also denied three times that he even knew Jesus.
Peter: A Changed Man
Peter, probably more than any other disciple, gives us the most hope of transformation as a Christian. We see true humanity in Peter as we witness his ups and downs, accomplishments and failures.
His story, like ours, is full of laughter, tears, mistakes, and growth, adding a depth to the Gospel the tugs at our emotions.
In the end, Peter gives us hope when he goes from denying Christ to preaching the first Christian sermon on the day of Pentecost.
Peter: Leader of the Early Church
After delivering the first sermon to the swelling crowds in Jerusalem on that historic Pentecost celebration, Peter seems to have become the leader of the disciples and the early church. He appears frequently throughout the Book of Acts, leading the early Church through it’s turbulent formative years.
Through Peter’s story, we see the love and grace of God unfold and work in him and through him. He is a shining example of what Jesus can do with the least of us, using our weaknesses to display His goodness.
Preview of the Next Disciple:
I hope this has opened your eyes to the fact that Peter was a real man. He wasn’t just a character on a few pages of the Bible. He was real and there’s so much we can learn from him.
Next, we will look at Philip. What do we know about Philip and what lessons can we learn from his life? You can find out this and much more in the next post.
Wait! Don’t Leave Without Saying Hi!
Thanks for taking the time to read. Below is a place for you to say hi, what you thought about the post, and ask any questions you may have. And yes, I’ll respond! In fact, I’m looking forward to interacting with you! So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment below!
*For related reading about the disciples/apostles of Jesus, please visit my friend’s page here.
Check Out the Rest of the Series
Also published on Medium.