Sunday International Fellowship July 10, 2011 Character study of Peter Prepared by Ed van Ouwerkerk
Calling of the first disciples John 1:35-51Jesus’ finds His first disciples, after John the Baptist says: “Look, the Lamb of God”. Andrew was the first one who followed Jesus. Then Andrew brought his brother Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). Both names Cephas (Aramaic) and Peter (Greek) mean (small) rock.Why would Jesus rename him immediately? 18And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.[c](Matthew 16:18) [a]Peter means small rock. [b]Or hell [c] Or not prove stronger than it Psalm 89:26 says: He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ In Matthew we also read about the calling of the first disciples: They (Peter andhis brother Andrew) were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 20At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-20)
After Jesus' Resurrection when the church was established, we read: 25As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” (Acts 10:25-26). Luke 5:1-8 1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret (Galilee),with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2 he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” What do we learn here about Peter’s character?
Matthew 14:22-33 22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
John 13:4-9 4 ,so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Peter’s denial Matthew 2632But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” 34“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. 74Then he (Peter) began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. Mark 14 27“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’28But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” 29Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” 30“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows (twice) you yourself will disown me three times.” Luke 22 34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” 54 . . . Peter followed at a distance. 55 But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. John 18 15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. 17 “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” 25 As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. What do we learn about Peter’s character?
Mark 14:32-38 32They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
At Jesus’ arrest by the priests and Judas we read: 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (John 18:10-11) 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (Luke 22:51)
Luke 24:9-12 9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. Compare John 20:3-9
Similar to Peter’s three denials of Jesus, we see in John 21:15-17 a three-fold question and answer between Jesus and Peter: 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter “Simon son of John, do you truly love (agape) me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love (fileo) you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love (agape) me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (fileo) you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love (fileo) me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love (fileo) you.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love (fileo) me?” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Agape = unconditional, godly love Fileo = friendly love Eros = sexual love Sturge = family love
Mark 16:14 14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. Luke 24:44-45 44He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Not many days later Peter interpreted the Scriptures (Psalms) concerning the death and replacement of Judas (Acts 1:12-26) And again after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost Peter addressedthe crowd explaining all about Jesus what was foretold by the prophet Joel and king David (Acts 2). Peter shows to be a great church leader. He exclaimed: 38“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, heals and preaches on the streets 6 Then Peter said (to the crippled beggar), “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. (Acts 3:6-8). See many people healed in Acts 5:12-16. Short thereafter Peter and John were arrested and brought before theSanhedrin, where they continued to preach: 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
Read on yourselves the interesting visions of Peter and of Cornelius.It became obvious that also the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit, were baptized in the name of Jesus. (Acts 10 and 11) In Acts 12 we see the miraculous escape of Peter from prison. The rest of the book of Acts is more about Paul and his journeys. The Bible doesn’t account for the death of Peter, although somescholars think that Peter has been crucified up-side-down.
The First Epistle of Peter was written to Jewish and Christian believers living in the northern part of Asia Minor. They faced persecution because of their commitment to Christ. Peter wrote to urge them to show endurance and commitment. Peter also wanted his readers to show a Christian life-style that would convert pagan sneers and accusations into appreciation and respect. To accomplish this, he urged all Christians to obey their leaders, servants to be subject to their masters, and husbands and wives to demonstrate honor and submission to one another. The vivid descriptions of Christ’s suffering and death (1 Peter 2:21–25; 3:18) could serve as an encouragement for Christians to conquer evil and endure to the end. Peter wrote his Second Epistle to counter the influence of heresy (doctrine) within the church (2 Peter 2:1). He appealed for spiritual growth as an antidote to defeat heresy, and he urged his readers to live holy lives in anticipation of Jesus’ return (2 Peter 3:11–12).
Peter’s character can be described in two phases in his life: A simple fisherman, impulsive, enthusiastic, fast follower, that falls into temptations of anger and denial. Many times his disbelief and misunderstanding hinders him to act in full obedience and commitment. After the resurrection Jesus shows Himself to Peter and the other disciples. Then the eyes of them are opened to understand the Scriptures. After Jesus ascension Peter develops by God’s grace as a strong bold leader, who faithfully serves the first church in scriptural teaching and performs manifestations of the Holy Spirit. He endures persecution till the end.