The following is an article I wrote for the “Men of the Bible” section of the January 2017 issue of the Scroll. It features Peter.
Men of the Bible – Peter
Name: (Simon) Peter
His Work: Before becoming a disciple of Christ, Peter was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.
His Character: Peter could be described as brash and impulsive, but he possessed a strong faith.
His Sorrow: Peter’s greatest sorrow was that he denied Jesus three times.
His Triumph: Peter was one of the leaders of the disciples and one of the inner circle of Christ. Because of his faith in Christ, he had a name change.
Key Scriptures: Gospels; Acts; 1st and 2nd Peter
Simon, who would later be called Peter, was one of the first disciples of Christ. Peter was residing in Capernaum when his brother, Andrew, introduced him to Jesus. Peter followed Jesus closely. He saw firsthand the miracles that Jesus performed during His ministry. But Peter saw more than that. He was part of the inner circle of disciples (with James and John) that were closest to Jesus.
He was one of the three disciples who witnessed Jarius’ daughter being raised from the dead, saw the transfiguration of Christ on the high mountain, and saw Jesus’ sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane. From that viewpoint, he had a clearer understanding of who Jesus was than most. Perhaps this is why Peter had the insight to proclaim that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Peter was bold and blunt. When Jesus explained his death to the disciples, Peter cried out (what was probably in all their hearts) in denial. Peter walked on water with Christ. Peter, who at first refused to have his feet washed by Christ, corrected his error and asked to have his hands and head washed as well. On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant.
Peter’s walk with God was not always stable. His faith was solid, yet at the same he was shaken by adversity. He confessed to be committed to Jesus, yet he denied Christ three times. He boldly taught the Good News to Jews, but he struggled with accepting Gentile Christians as equals. And perhaps that paradox in nature makes him relatable as we struggle with duplicity in our own natures.
From the beginning of their relationship to the end, Christ’s direction to Peter was simple: follow me. And Peter did just that. He wasn’t perfect in his path, but he stayed his course. When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He isn’t looking for perfection from us. He knows that we will fall. What we learn from Peter is that with all of our flaws and imperfections, we can be transformed by Christ.
Peter is credited as the author of two epistles, 1st and 2nd Peter. In the first letter, he admonishes believers to continue in their faith during suffering and persecution. Peter knew about suffering for the Gospel’s sake. He was beaten and jailed. In the second letter (believed to have been written three years after the first letter), he warns believers about false teachers and cautions against division in the church.
In the end, Peter followed Jesus into martyrdom. It is believed that he was martyred under the rule of the Roman Emperor Nero. It is believed that Peter was also crucified, but he requested to be crucified upside down.