"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah ". (Matthew 16:13-20)
What makes the Bible so fascinating is that God used ordinary folks like you and I to bring His Word down to earth. People such as fisherman, doctors, tax collectors, shepherds, Kings, prophets, simple laymen and even a Pharisee, etc. were mightily used of God to transcribe His holy Word. God’s Word is used as a guide for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Thus we look at the account of the life of the Apostle Peter.
This character, Peter, is one of my favorite apostles, and you will see why as we move along in this blog. Peter was so much like myself. He oftentimes would result to the "open mouth and insert foot" syndrome. In other words, he often spoke before thinking. He was known to be rather erratic and impulsive at times, but also very optimistic. He was my kind of man, my kind of "holy combatant" for the gospel. (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
While he lived centuries ago, he was so real and down to earth. And yes, the Bible truths never change. You see, as Paul points out, "we all down through the ages, have come to God by the same faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) We have all obtained faith of equal standing, by reason of the impartiality of Christ's blessings. (2 Peter 1:1) Although being of impulsive character, he was strong and stalwart in his love for his Master, as we will see here in this blog.
Having displayed the character that he did, he often would receive mild rebukes from his master. But he never grew tired of seeing and feeling his Lord’s tenderness. As the old Deacon once said, "It is so much better to be a true follower who often fails than one who fails to follow". So was the apostle Peter.
Although he was one of the most inexplicable combinations of courage and cowardice that ever lived on earth, his great strength of character was loyalty, friendship. Peter really and truly loved his Lord.
Peter first came on the scene in (Matthew 4:1-20). Walking by the sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew, casting their fishing nets into the sea. When Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men, they immediately left the nets and followed Jesus. This was Peter's call to service and illustrates the directness, profundity, and power of Christ's commands. (Matthew 28:19) and (John 13:34)
So, let us take a brief, concise and to-the-point look into Peter's life with our Lord Himself. Probably more than any other Bible character, Peter shows us a true paradox of Christian living; having to wrestle between the flesh and the spirit.
Throughout the scriptures, Peter would show his human side. Oftentimes Peter showing his human character, would have a concern regarding forgiveness, as shown in (Matthew 18:21-22). On other occasions, Peter also showed his human desire for wealth. (Matthew 19:27).
On one occasion, shortly before the last Feast of the Passover and His death, Jesus resorted to washing His disciples’ feet. Peter responded by telling Jesus, "Never shall you wash my feet." Jesus answered," If I do not wash you, you will have no part with Me." Peter, then realizing the doctrine of humility, told Jesus to wash him all over. (John 13: 6-9)
In the account of Peter walking on the water, Peter requested that the Lord command him to come to Him by walking on the water, and Jesus did. When Peter's faith failed, due to fear of the storm, Jesus rebuked him for his lack of faith. (Matthew 14:28-31)
At the transfiguration, in which Jesus was seen in His holy glory (Matthew 16:2) Peter, one of our Lord’s most loved three disciples, wanted to build tabernacles in honor of the occasion, and stay there forever (Matthew 16:4), showing Peter’s sincere love of his Lord.
After Jesus' death and resurrection, the disciples reverted back to what they knew best, fishing, but caught nothing. (John 21:3) Then when Jesus manifested Himself to them, one of the disciples proclaimed that it was the Lord. Peter impulsively leaped into the water and swam ashore, while the others followed in the boat. (John 21:7)
He was the outstanding preacher of the twelve; he did more than any other one man, aside from Paul, in establishing the gospel. Sad to say, however, along with Judas, he was the first to deny Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75), but then weep bitterly in confession. (Matthew 26:75)
After his rash denials of the Master, and his being forgiven, he became one of the greatest soul winners of all time. After the arrival of God's Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), and upon preaching his famous sermon of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41), over 3000 souls were saved at one time. Here was the beginning of the first church. (Acts 2:41-47) Yes, the first church, like a rock, was established as a result of Peter's preaching.
Peter was one of the many men who God used to pen the truths of the Scripture in his writings of First and Second Peter. (1 Peter 1:20-21) And he was the first apostle to come forward defending the work of Philip and Paul among the Gentiles.
At the end of Jesus' earthly life, when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter showed his human love for his Lord as he drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. (Matthew 26:51)
Yes, Peter was mightily used of God. Jesus renamed him from Simon, which meant "God has heard,” to that of Peter which meant "rock." This new name is an indication that he would be changed from a mere fisherman to one of Scripture’s greatest preachers of all times. And as Scripture so proudly points out, like the proverbial Rock of Gibraltar, he did in fact live up to his new great name.
He went forth from Jerusalem proclaiming the glad tidings of the Kingdom with power and glory until the fullness of his ministry had been accomplished; and he regarded himself as the recipient of high honors. When his captors informed him that he must die as his Master had died on the cross, rumor has it that he insisted on being crucified upside down, that he was unworthy to die as his Christ did.
You can be sure that when I get to heaven, Peter will be one of the first apostles, along with Paul, that I plan to spend a good part of eternity with, simply talking over old times.
Jesus' first words to Simon Peter were "Come follow me" (Mark 1:17). His last words to Peter were "Follow me" (John 21:22). And according to Scripture, Peter never wavered in following Jesus, even though he often stumbled. Since he wasn’t a perfect person, what did Jesus see in Peter? Like the other chosen disciples, Jesus was looking for real people who could show evidence of being changed by His love, a prime example that His love can change anyone.
We know from scripture that Peter oftentimes spoke without thinking, was brash and unpolished, as were the fishermen of that day. Nonetheless, God's faithfulness, His free grace and His unfailing love can surely compensate for our greatest unfaithfulness.
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