Saint Peter The Apostle

The history of Saint Peter the Apostle of Jesus Christ. Peter was a fisherman who gave up all to follow Christ.

Some Bible scholars believer Peter was called to be an Apostle in three stages. The first stage is thought to be when he met Jesus for the first time. "Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two disciples who had heard John and followed Jesus. Andrew at once found his brother Simon and told him, "We have found the Messiah." (which means "Christ"). Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at Simon and said, "You are Simon, son of John. You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter)." (John1:40-42). Cephas is Aramaic for rock while Peter is the Greek word.

The second stage is believed to be when Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. "Jesus saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother casting nets into the sea. Jesus said to them, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him." (Matthew 4:19-20).

The third stage is believed to be when Jesus chose the Twelve Apostles. "One of those days, Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples together and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated as apostles. Simon (whom he named Peter) and Andrew his brother, James, John, Phillip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas (son of James), and Judas Iscariot who became a traitor." (Luke 6:12-16).

Peter apparently was born in or near Bethsaida as John1:44 mentions this was the hometown of Andrew and Peter. Bethsaida, located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, means the house of the fisherman. It was is the province of Galilee and located just east of the Jordan River. Bethsaida was under the rule of Herod Philip, a son of Herod the Great. Mostly wealthy Jews and Greeks inhabited the town. Peter probably spoke Aramaic and some Greek. Prior to meeting Jesus, Peter lived in the Galilean town of Capernaum. He was married (Matthew 8:14). He and Andrew were in a partnership with James and John. Peter has been described as being impulsive.

One day Jesus was standing by the Sea of Galilee. The people crowded around him as they listened to God's word. As the crowd increased and pressed closer, Jesus saw two boats nearby. The fishermen had stepped out of them and were washing their nets. "He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat." (Matthew 5:3). The water surface amplified his voice making it easier for the crowd to hear Jesus' teachings.

When Jesus was finished speaking, he told Simon to go out to deeper water and cast his nets. Simon stated that they had fished all night long without catching any fish. But then Simon agreed saying, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." (Luke5:5). The nets were suddenly filled with fish and began to break. They signaled their partners in the other boat for help. They came and filled both boats that they began to sink. "When Simon saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man." (Luke 5:8). Jesus replied in Luke 5:10, "Don't be afraid: from now on, you will catch men". Upon pulling the boats to shore, Peter and his partners left everything and followed Jesus.

Peter, along with James and John witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus led them up a high mountain. "There he was transfigured before them. His face shown like the sun, and his clothes became white as light." (Matthew 17:2). While this happened Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." (Matthew 17:4). While still speaking, a cloud enveloped them. A voice from the cloud said, "This is my son, who I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Matthew 17:5).

When they heard this, they fell face down on the ground, terrified. Jesus touched them and told them to get up and not be afraid. Jesus instructed them to tell no one of this event until the Son of Man has bee raised from the dead (Matthew 17:9). In 2 Peter 1:16-18, Peter wrote again of this wonderful experience.

Peter is also the Apostle who asked Jesus to let him walk on water. One night, the disciples were out in a boat after Jesus sent them ahead while he went to pray by himself. Later that night, the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake. They thought he was a ghost and became terrified. Jesus said to them, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." (Matthew 14:27). Peter replied to the Lord, "If it's you, tell me to come to you on the water." (Verse 28). Jesus told him to come. Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus. Then Peter saw the wind and the waves and became afraid. Starting to sink, Peter cried out, Lord! Save me!" (Verse 30). Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt me?" (Verse 31).

When Jesus told his disciples that all of them would abandon him according to the scriptures, Peter said, "Even if everyone else abandons you, I never will." (Matthew 26:33). Jesus replied, "I can guarantee this truth; before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you don't know me." (Verse34). Peter replied, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same. (Matthew26:35).

After Jesus was arrested, all of his disciples deserted him and fled. Peter followed at a distance as Jesus was led to the courtyard of the high priest. Peter entered and sat down to observe the outcome. While peter was in the courtyard, a servant girl came to him and said, "You also were one with Jesus of Galilee." (Matthew 26:69). Peter denied it before them all. "I don't know what you are talking about", he said. And then went to the gateway where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." Peter denied it again with an oath: "I don't know this man!" After awhile, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away". Then Peter began to call curses on himself and swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." Peter left and wept bitterly.

After Christ was crucified, buried, and resurrected, seven of the Apostles went fishing with Peter (John21). They fished all night without catching anything. When the sun rose the next morning, they saw a man on the shore. It was Christ, but the disciples didn't know who he was. Jesus asked them if they had caught any fish. They replied in the negative. Jesus told them to throw the net over the right side of the boat. They did so and were unable to pull it in because there were so many fish in it. Suddenly, John recognized Jesus and said to Peter, "It's the Lord!" When Peter heard this, he jumped into the sea and swam to shore. The others followed in the boat. When they arrived on shore, they saw a fire with a fish lying on the coals and a loaf of fresh bread. Jesus took the bread and broke it, giving it to them. He did the same with the fish.

After the had eaten, Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than the other disciples do?"

Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus told him, "Feed my sheep."

Jesus asked him again, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"

Peter answered him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus told him, "Take care of my sheep."

Jesus asked him a third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"

Peter felt sad because Jesus had asked him a third time. So Peter said to him, "Lord, You know everything. You know that I love you."

Jesus told him, "Feed my sheep. I can guarantee this truth: When you were young, you would get ready to go where you want. But when you are old, you will stretch out you hands, and someone else will get you ready to take you where you don't want to go. Jesus said this to show by what kind of death Peter would bring glory to God.

This exchange is similar to the time when Peter was questioned about his professed loyalty to Jesus. Three times, Peter was questioned by bystanders about his affiliation with Christ. Jesus questioned Peter three times about his love for him. It is believed that Christ was gently rebuking Peter. Jesus also told Peter where his faith and loyalty would lead him: to a martyr's death.

© High Speed Ventures 2011