The story of Peter begins when he encounters Jesus for the first time while fishing on the lake. In this encounter, Jesus calls Peter to become his disciple, promising to make him a “fisher of men.” Peter, along with his brother Andrew, immediately leaves his fishing nets and follows Jesus, thus embarking
Chosen when he was a simple fisherman to be an early disciple, or follower, Peter infamously denied Jesus three times. However, Jesus ultimately chose Peter to lead the church, calling him the rock of the church. Peter died after intense persecution as the first Pope and leader of the Catholic Church.
He gave up his life as a fisherman to lead others to Jesus by being a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19) for Christ. He was a witness to the Transfiguration, when Jesus was revealed to be God’s Son. He saw Jesus bring a dead child to life (Luke 8:40–56), and he was an eyewitness to Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane.
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The Story Of Peter In The Bible
First Peter focuses on the importance of believers bearing up under unjust suffering yet continuing to live well (1 Peter 2:20). In this way, 1 Peter might be called the Job of the New Testament, providing encouragement for the true believer to continue on in the way that Jesus has laid out for all His followers.
Peter is a biblical figure whose life story is told in the four canonical gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, New Testament letters, the non-canonical Gospel of the Hebrews, and other Early Church accounts of his life and death. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called during Jesus’ ministry. Peter is credited with the special insight that he had concerning Jesus’ identity, being the first to call Jesus the Son of the Living God – the Messiah.
Peter was born in Bethsaida, a town on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee. He was the son of Jona and had a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus. Peter was a fisherman by trade and was married.
Peter was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and was a prominent figure in the early Christian church. He was a man of great faith and devotion, but he was also a man who made mistakes. His story is told in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as in Acts of the Apostles.
Peter was a man of great courage and faith. He was the first person to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and Jesus chose him to be the apostles’ leader. Peter was also the first to preach the gospel to the Gentiles and was instrumental in the establishment of the early Christian church.
Story of Peter In The Bible Summary
Peter’s life is, perhaps, the greatest redemption story ever recorded.
Fishermen in his day were considered manly men with hot tempers and vulgar language. They were traditionally uneducated but would’ve had ample wits and survival skills acquired by working hard and braving the seas and fish markets. Fishermen were stereotypically men of action, very physical, and unafraid of others, which Peter demonstrates when he cuts off the soldier’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane at Jesus’ arrest—a fleshly reaction of violence instead of love as he’d heard Jesus preach for three years.
Yet this simple fisherman’s journey to an apostle of Christ is found throughout the New Testament. According to church tradition, the gospel of Mark is actually a collaboration with John and Mark, who wrote and put it together as a retelling of Peter’s life—a biography of sorts. Then, Peter’s plight of spreading the Good News is found in the Book of Acts, and he wrote two letters to new Christians that were adopted into the Bible. Pictured below: Peter and fisherman on the Sea of Galilee.
The impact of Peter’s life cannot be summed up in an article or even a few of them because his influence is rich with knowledge, applicational studies, and relevant messages. But I’d like to present four notable points concerning Peter’s example and ministry. It is my hope that these spur you on to do your own study of this complicated and imperfectly perfect man.
“Upon this rock I will build my Church” – Jesus Calls Peter
After this restoration, Jesus gifted Peter back his identity, which was the most important thing about him—His belonging to God.
Jesus reminded Peter of his identity and importance in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The name Peter means “a rock or stone” – Jesus knew the destiny of Peter!
Facts About Peter In The Bible
Peter was a sinful man, yet he became a part of Christ’s inner circle
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke list Peter as the very first disciple called on by Jesus, followed closely by Peter’s brother Andrew, then James and John.
Matthew and Mark’s accounts are an almost identical telling of when Jesus approached their fishing boats. But Luke adds more detail, painting a picture of Peter and Jesus having a sincere moment at the very beginning of their relationship. Upon seeing the miracle of fish on an otherwise barren fishing trip, Peter realizes his sinful state and gives glory to the Lord before him by falling to his knees and exclaiming, “‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’” (Luke 5:8 NIV). Yet Jesus looked at this wicked man and said, “‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’” (Luke 5:10 NIV).
After His words, Peter and the other three drop everything, including their very identities as fishermen, and begin a beautiful journey with Jesus. Peter continued to make mistakes time and again, but Jesus, as is His nature, loved Peter wholeheartedly and continued to use him in His kingdom’s work. This included Peter’s proclamation that Jesus was the Messiah (Luke 9:20).
Peter is considered a part of Jesus’ inner circle because there are quite a few incidents where only Peter, John, and James were witnesses, including the Transfiguration. This was when Jesus’ physical appearance changed to reveal His divinity (Matthew 17:2), Moses and Elijah appeared in “glorious splendor” before them (Luke 9:30 NIV), and the Father spoke from a cloud saying, “‘This is my Son, whom I am well-pleased. Listen to him!’” (Matthew 17:5 NIV).
Peter’s close-knit relationship with Jesus proves that He longs for an intimacy with His followers—normal, everyday people, like Peter, and like you and me. Seeing how Jesus took an uneducated, sinful man and loved him infinitely gives us assurance He can do this for us as well. Pictured below: Jesus washing the feet of Peter
Peter grew in maturity as a follower of Jesus
During Jesus’ ministry, Peter was a man who wanted a mighty faith but faltered often. He stepped onto the rough sea to meet Jesus walking on water, yet even after safely taking a few steps, he begins to doubt and plunges into the waves. In this passage, Jesus saves him of “little faith” (Matthew 14:31). Later, Peter even rebuked the Lord after He foretold of His death, saying, “‘Never, Lord… This shall never happen to you!’” (Matthew 16:22 NIV). And after Jesus was arrested, before the rooster crowed the next morning, Peter disowned Him three times (Matthew 26:69-75).
Even still, after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, having been restored and forgiven by His Lord, Peter becomes the spokesman for the apostles. This unschooled man spoke with boldness to crowds of thousands, bringing them the Good News and converting them to what we now call Christianity. In his 30-plus years of doing work for God’s Kingdom, he performed many miracles including bringing the dead back to life (Acts 9:36-43). He traveled all over sharing Jesus’ message, enduring persecution, imprisonment, and ultimately death, showing his maturity by living a Spirit-led life.
For in 1 Peter 2:2, Peter, himself, says, “Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (NIV). You see, Peter recognized time spent with Jesus should produce maturity in the believer’s relationship as it had with him. This can be evidenced by one’s obedience to His Word and the spiritual fruit one bears. I pray with each passing day my growth in understanding of Jesus strengthens, so He can use me in ministry like He did with Peter.
Peter showed the world non-Jews can be Christians
The significance of Acts 10 through Acts 11:18 cannot be understated. After a vision, Peter went to the house of a Gentile named Cornelius. At this time, it was “against our (Jewish) law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile.’” (Acts 10:28 NIV). Yet, knowing what the Lord wanted, Peter led Cornelius and his family to Christ and witnessed them receiving the Holy Spirit. Peter then baptized the family in the name of Jesus.
Peter is questioned about this by the Jewish believers. He told them his story, saying, “‘if God gave them the same gift (the Holy Spirit) he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?’” (Acts 11:17 NIV).
Because of Peter’s faithfulness, the Jewish Christians responded by having “no further objections and praised God saying, ‘So then, even to the Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” (Acts 11:18 NIV).
Isn’t it amazing? God wanted to be sure the whole world knew that when He gave His life for all, He meant for all. And He used Peter to make this clear, to show us just how big His love is and just how capable His grace is—that it can forgive the sins of all and give all everlasting life. For as the book of Romans 3:22-24 states, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Peter’s stumble as a Christ-follower doesn’t cancel his identity in Christ
I don’t believe in coincidences. So when Jesus said the exact same words in His first few sentences to Peter as His last, we should take note. In their first interaction, Jesus told Peter to follow Him (Matthew 4:19). Then after Jesus’ resurrection, and at the special breakfast on the shore where Jesus restored Peter, His last recorded words to him were once again, “Follow me!” (John 21:19).
Peter’s story is a reminder of the importance of faith and obedience to God’s will. He was a man who God had chosen to do great things, but he also struggled with fear and doubt. He was a man who made mistakes, but he was also a man who learned from his mistakes. His story is a testament to God’s faithfulness and loving care for His people.