Peter’s life could be divided into two different periods of his life for the purpose of studying it…
Before Pentecost, with the pivotal point being found in John 21:15-19.
After Pentecost, which runs from Acts 2 through Acts 15.
A simplified outline of his life could be described in these few words.
A PASSIONATE and often impetuous man. He was an EYEWITNESS to the Life of Christ and heard God’s voice from Heaven. He was TESTED by Satan as seen in his denial of Christ.
Afterward he was EVANGELISTIC, even facing death for his preaching. He was a REPENTANT man as seen in his zeal to preach and his writings.
This bulletin will supplement our Sunday morning Bible study as we study the inspired letters of the Apostle Peter.
“And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona:” (John 1:42a)
We’re introduced to Peter at the SEA of Galilee (Matt 4:18). He is married as seen when Jesus heals his mother-in-law (Matt 8:14-15). He was still fishing when he is called to be a constant companion of Jesus (Matt 4:19-20). It’s after this second calling that he forsakes all to follow Jesus. He verbalizes this after his call to be an Apostle. “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee” (Mark 10:28)
As he followed Christ, he was included in an INNER circle of 3 that witnessed certain key events, one of which is the transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:2-9; cf. 2Peter 1:17), where they hear the voice of God.
Because of his often impetuous and passionate personality, it was he that requested to MIRACULOUSLY walk on water with Jesus (Matt 14:28-31). It’s only when he takes his eyes off the Lord and looks at the storm that he begins to sink requiring the Lord to reach out to save. “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”
It was Peter that took Jesus aside to rebuke Him and OBJECTED to His dying as the Lord was predicting (Matt 16:22). It was also Peter that OBJECTED to the washing of his feet by Jesus (John 13:8). “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet.”
Then, at the lowest point of this period, he denied Jesus after His arrest saying, “I know NOT this man of whom ye speak.” (Matt 26:31-35; Mark 14:71; John 18:15-18; 25-27). What makes this especially difficult for Peter is that he and the Lord make direct eye contact upon his 3rd denial.
“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Luke 22:61)
A pivotal point in this period of his life is his breakfast by the sea with Our Risen Lord (John 21:15-19). It’s here he learns that his life is about to change even more dramatically.
“This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.”
“thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” (John 1:42b)
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood up with the COMPANY of the other eleven Apostles to deliver the first sermon in the New Testament age. They preached the gospel which is the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. He commands the believers, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:14-38).
Even though 3,000 souls were added to the church after that first sermon, the next day he is in the Temple continuing to EVANGELIZE. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Through their efforts the church continued to grow in the first days (Acts 4:1-4).
It was Peter who was given the assignment to PREACH to the gentiles (Acts 10). Being summoned to the house of Cornelius, he PREACHES the gospel to them, giving them the same command he gave to the Jews. It was the same command given him by the Lord. “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized” (Acts 10:47; cf. Mark 16:15-16)?
As bold as he was, Peter is not without fault as seen in a moment of HYPOCRISY when he separated himself from the gentiles when those of the circumcision came to Antioch (Gal 2:11-14). But Peter is a man of HUMILTY and repentance. Holding no grudges, he acknowledges Paul’s teaching in his second letter (2Peter 3:15-16).
Another part of Peter’s story in Acts is during the persecution of Herod. Herod had killed James, and had imprisoned Peter. He escapes through ANGELIC help. The danger doesn’t deter him in the least. He goes to encourage the brethren and continues to preach the Gospel (Acts 12)
One of the last times we hear of Peter in Acts is in Acts 15. It was through his SPEECH along with that of Paul, Barnabas, and James that the church rejoiced with comfort (Acts 15:7-11, 31) knowing that the gentiles, along with the Jews, may be saved through the blood of Christ.
I hope this summary of the life of Peter aids us in our study of his inspired letters.
Spencer is the evangelist for the Franklin and Juniper church of Christ in Borger, Texas.