A Brief Look At Peter's Life
By Eli Stutzman
November 1, 2009
Few people in the Bible have caught the attention of many of us, as does the apostle Peter. There were twelve apostles, yet none dominate the New Testament as much as Peter. Matthew chapter four tells us of Peter and Andrew's call from Jesus as they were fishing. They were all simple people who made a living working with their hands. As we go through this story, we will see Peter experience some steps that could affect the way we see our own importance. At this time, they were simply disciples. It would be later on in chapter ten, that the twelve were chosen for their special service.
In all of our lives, none of us have ever walked on water. Yet that is what Peter experienced:
Matthew 14: 28-29 says: And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
As we know, if we continue to read, Peter took a look at the waves and began to sink. In spite of all that we may say about Peter's doubt, none of the other apostles even tried walking on the water. So we know Peter was a man who was not afraid to try something new. If any of you have ever walked on water, please let me know about it.
In several passages, we read of Jesus taking Peter, James and John places where the other apostles were not along. Matthew 17 says six days after the teaching at Caesarea Philippi (Luke says about eight), that the four of them went to the top of what is now called the Mount of Transfiguration:
Matthew 17:2-3 says: And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
This is another step to remember in Peter's life. Can you imagine the conversation after they returned? It might go like this: "We were on this mountaintop and heard Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah!" That would certainly impress the rest of the disciples. But as we know, Peter was yet to undergo some serious testing. And eventually it came:
Matthew 26:34-35 says: Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
Well, we know how that turned out. Peter did, indeed, deny knowing Jesus three times. So much for all the tremendous experiences! If a powerful supernatural experience could make us strong believers, then it should have worked for Peter. But it did not work for him and it won't work for us. However, God was not yet through with Peter.
After the resurrection, John records the event of Jesus bringing about reconciliation with Peter.
John 21:27 says: He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
History records a lot of what Peter did in the book of Acts. The earlier failures were not terrible failures as much as they were times to weed out the weaknesses.
I say all the above to point out what eventually was considered important by Peter. Writing later on, near the end of his life, we read in 2 Peter 1:17-20:
(verse 17-18) For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
Peter writes of what are, indeed, more powerful experiences than any of us have ever experienced, yet he writes in the next verses...
(verse 19-20) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: What is more sure? He says in verse Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
He is saying scripture is more sure than hearing God directly as he did in the two incidents. Shouldn't we also place the highest emphasis on what is written in scripture?
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