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Biblical Character Peter the Apostle
by Bobby Bruno
4/01/2014 / Bible Studies
Peter was a man who became a disciple of Jesus Christ when He walked the earth as the coming Messiah. He was born in Galilee and is the brother of Andrew, who also became a disciple of Jesus Christ. Their father was named Jonas. Peter's given birth name was Simeon (which means hearer) and was known as Simeon bar Jonah (Son of John) in the Aramaic language, as was the name of Cephas. Cephas' name was changed to the Greek name of Peter (both Cephas and Peter mean rock) by Jesus Christ Himself, when Jesus gave him the keys to the church ("Peter," 2007, para. 1).
Peter followed in the family footsteps and became a fisherman, and continued in that role until Jesus of Nazareth called him to follow in Jesus' footsteps. Peter was married. We know this from reading Mark 1:29 when Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law. We also read in 1 Corinthians 9:5 that other married apostles often took their spouses on missionary trips with them. Outside sources say that Peter had children (Clement of Alexandria) and that he was there when his wife was put to death (Eusebius) ("Peter the Apostle," 2002, para. 2, 4).
Peter's conversion began when Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, where Peter and his family were working as fishermen. Andrew, his brother, had possibly already told Peter about who Jesus was and what His missions was all about. There are three places in the Scriptures where this story is told (Mark 1:16-20/Matthew 4:18-22/Luke 5:1-11. NIV, here and throughout), and even though the differences are minor, the outcome was still the same: When Jesus told Peter to "come," Peter dropped his nets and simply followed the Christ into a better future to catch men instead of fish ("Peter the Apostle," 2002, para. 6, 7).
It is not truly known why Peter rose to become the leader of the disciples. Was it age over youth, experience over non-experience? Or was it because Jesus saw something in Peter that made him stand out among the rest? In Scripture, we see that Peter was hot-head, and liked to argue, even to the point of being rebuked by Jesus Himself for making an evil statement concerning His crucifixion (Mark 8:33). Peter was impulsive and fearful for his life when he denied Jesus three times in the yard during Jesus' trial (Matthew 26:69-75).
How could Jesus have picked this man to lead His church? Peter, the Rock, showed his true self and gave us the answer himself after Jesus rose from the dead. Peter and John ran to the empty tomb when Mary told them it was empty, and that the Lord was not there. Peter began to believe, as John had already, that Jesus had done what He said He would do. Peter the Rock finally emerged when Jesus came to the disciples in the upper room three days after His death. It was here that Jesus told the disciples to go to all the nations and proclaim the good news. As soon as the Holy Spirit, 40 days later (Acts 2:2-4), was given to the disciples, they instaneously became Apostles of Christ and spoke boldly of the risen Savior. Peter's message was so powerful that 3000-5000 men became a disciple of Christ in the first two meetings alone (Acts 2:41; 4:4). At the Holy Spirit's behest, Peter went on to preach to the gentiles and had great success in bringing more people in to the Kingdom of God.
The only recorded argument Peter had with another Apostle was when the Corinthian church started getting messages from someone other than an apostle that they gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved (Acts 15). When the Apostle Paul heard of this he went to Jerusalem to confront the other Apostles and leaders about this subject. Peter argued for it, but then backed down when the others realized that it was not necessary for the circumcision of the body to be done when Jesus circumcises the heart during salvation. After this, the church grew and continues to grow still today.
It is not known for sure how Peter was put to death, but the conjecture (Origen) is that he was hung upside down on a cross because he didn't feel that he had the right to die as his Savior did ("Peter," 2007, para. 3).
The life of Peter shows us that it doesn't matter who you are, God can us you, even if you are hot-headed or fearful of what others may do to you when you proclaim the Word of God. Peter did it regardless, and it brought him great success as an Apostle, disciple, leader, and as a man.
I chose to write about the Apostle Peter because, if he had not listened to the Holy Spirit when he was told to go to the gentiles, I might not be a disciple of Jesus, and my life would not be as satisfying to me as it is today.
"Peter." (2007). Smith's Bible Dictionary: Comprising Antiquities, Biography, Geography, Natural History, Archaeology and Literature. Retrieved from: Joyce Meyer Everyday Life Bible Study Library (Version 22.214.171.124). [Computer Software]. Database 2007 WORDsearch Corp.
"Peter the Apostle." (1992). Who's Who in Christian History. Retrieved from: Quickverse 6.0b2 1995-1999. [Computer Software].
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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