The Apostle Peter

Scripture Reading

And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.

Matt. 8:14-15

Miraculous Healing

As with the previous Bible study, there are frequent scriptural references of the healing ministry of Jesus In this instance, the apostle Peter is noted along with his mother-in-law who was healed of a fever. The record of her arising and then ministering unto them shows that her healing was instantaneous upon Jesus touching her. With limited records in scripture of this particular woman, this study will provide a sense of who Peter was and the role he played with both Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. In order to build a better contrast, both the apostle’s shortcomings and his abilities will be explored from scripture.

Peter’s Frailty

On the surface, one could say the apostle Peter was nothing more than a common fisherman as noted in his initial calling by Jesus, “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.” [Matt. 4:18] It could also be construed that at times, Peter even suffered from a lack of faith, “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” [Matt. 14:30] Sometimes, Peter was even once rebuked by Jesus in quite a stern manner, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” [Matt. 16:23]

On three separate occasions, the apostle Peter even denied that he was with or knew Jesus, “But he denied before [them] all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.” [Matt. 26:70] The second occurrence was shortly thereafter even bearing the strength of an oath in his denial, “And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.” [Matt. 26:72] Then sadly, Peter denied knowing Jesus yet a third time, “Then began he to curse and to swear, [saying,] I know not the man.” [Matt. 26:74] Scripture records this unfortunate series of events in all four gospels as a testament to its veracity. 

Peter was also an impetuous man, often speaking sarcastically to Jesus such as when Jesus inquired who may have touched him, “Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press [thee,] and sayest thou, Who touched me?” [Luke 8:45] Another example of this occurred when Jesus was washing the apostles feet as a sign of humility, “Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also [my] hands and [my] head.” [John 13:9]

Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.

Luke 5:8b

Peter’s Boldness

If we are to stop here however, one would truly not be aware of, nor comprehend what the Lord Jesus Christ had in store for Peter. The first commendable characteristic of Peter was recorded upon his acknowledgement and conviction over his sin in the initial presence of Jesus, “When Simon Peter saw [it,] he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” [Luke 5:8] For all readers desiring to come to a knowledge of saving faith and belief in Jesus, this is indeed the starting point in acknowledging sin is one’s life.

Let us now continue in the study on Peter’s encounter with Jesus. Peter, also known as Simon Peter, was one of the first called by Jesus as his disciple, “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him.” [Matt. 4:19-20] When the twelve apostles were identified in scripture, Peter was the first one to be named, “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother.” [Matt. 10:2] When Jesus asked his disciples who do they think he is, Peter was the first one to make the bold declaration, “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” [Matt. 16:16] This event was also recorded in all four gospel accounts.

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God

Matt. 16:16b

Peter the Inside Man

It is interesting to note that in a group of people, there are invariably smaller, closer knit people within the group. This was evident on many occasions with this event being one of them, “And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.” [Luke 8:51] These three apostles, as recorded throughout the gospels, the book of Acts and in letters within the New Testament, were clearly the inner circle with Jesus.

Another notable occurrence of the apostle Peter in the gospels takes place when he was invited by Jesus, along with James and John,  to witness his transfiguration, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.” [Matt. 17:1-2] Being one of the select few was indicative of how Jesus respected Peter.

In another instance, Jesus sent two of these apostles for a special purpose, “And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.” [Luke 22:8] Other notable sightings of Peter were recorded as being one of the first to hear from Mary Magdalene that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, “Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter. Upon hearing that, both Peter and John ran to the sepulchre where Jesus was previously laid as shown in Luke 24:12, Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.” [John 20:2]

Peter takes the Lead

The apostle Peter was the first to take the lead with the disciples on the notion of replacing Judas who betrayed Jesus and was no longer with them as noted in Acts 1:15-25. This prompting by Peter led the apostles to choose two individuals who were witnesses to everything that took place with Jesus. Eventually, they chose Matthias to be numbered with the eleven apostles, replacing Judas.

On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost gifted believers with the ability to speak in other languages to help spread the gospel message, many people mocked them as though they were intoxicated but Peter again boldly spoke up in their defence, “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.” [Acts 2:14]

Peter was also a person who preached the gospel with direct boldness toward people, “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” [Acts 3:14-15] Peter was also not afraid to challenge the rulers when they commanded him and John not to speak about Jesus, “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” [Acts 4:19] Peter, always taking the lead, was forthright in declaring who believers should obey, “Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29]

Peter Empowered

More records indicate further healings done by Peter through the power of the Lord upon him, “And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.” [Acts 9:34] Peter always strived to give God the glory for such healings with his words and comments expressed. Peter also brought a disciple named Tabitha back from the dead, “And he gave her [his] hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.” [Acts 9:41] It would perhaps be easy indeed to let this spiritual gift go to one’s head or to possibly abuse its power but this was never evident in Peter’s ministry.

Peter, in his humility, also declined to receive worship from men, “And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped [him. ] But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.” [Acts 10:25-26]

… Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

John 6:58

Peter the Disciple

To close off this study, Peter reflects a most compelling person of God as recorded in the New Testament. Despite his many shortcomings and setbacks, including imprisonment by Herod [Acts 12], he continued on in his spiritual journey with the Lord Jesus Christ and wrote two letters in the New Testament. He described himself as a servant and an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ in his letters to fellow believers [2 Pet. 1:1]

Let us therefore end with an inspirational quote from Peter as he proceeded to encourage believers in their walk of faith in Christ, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” [1 Pet. 1:4-5]

For the apostle Peter, this was a faith worth preaching before all of humanity. If you are seeking to find new life in Christ, why not come to him now believing in his saving grace and atoning work on the cross, reserved in heaven for you. For as Peter once exclaimed to Jesus, “…Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” [John 6:68]

Bible Study Questions

  1. In contemplating the contrast between Peter’s faults and frailties and his boldness in ministries, what does this tell you about people God can use as believers?
  2. Can you identify with any of the faults noted of Peter such as being impulsive, impetuous and lying within yourself?
  3. How could these faults hinder or affect your faith walk in Christ from this study on the apostle Peter?
  4. Can you identify some of the positive characteristics of Peter’s such as boldness, bravery, courage and determination within yourself?
  5. How could these traits benefit your walk of faith in Christ?
  6. Despite all of Peter’s challenges, what does it show you about Jesus considering that Peter became part of his inner circle?
  7. Memorize John 5:68 as part of your growth in faith today (last verse in the study above).

Helpful Resources

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For reference, here are some frequently asked questions that are answered in this Bible Study. It is with sincere prayer that they have been answered through carefully researched and written commentary for seekers of faith. The absence of answers in the study is perhaps indicative that the events and circumstances were deemed less worthy of documentation in the overall importance of biblical scripture. What is Peter the apostle known for? What are 5 interesting facts about Peter as a person? is Peter a prophet or apostle? Saint Peter. Peter the apostle in the Bible. Simon Peter characteristics. Interesting facts about Peter the apostle.

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