Peter – Lesson 1

Below is what I wrote for lesson 1 on Peter (for my New Testament class). Honestly, I don’t think that I have brought anything “new” to the table regarding the apostle, but decided that I would share it anyway. I really do want your feedback. Let’s discuss the Word! I want to be challenged and grow in my understanding of the Word. Not only to better understand it, but also to better present it to the people that I come in contact with (believers and unbelievers), especially if I am going to one day teach.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20)[1]
                The Great Commission was not aimed solely at the eleven disciples closest to Jesus that day. When He gave the command to go He intended for it to include everyone in every era that would continue the same work that had begun in the disciples. Not only would it would have been impossible for those eleven to reach all the nations, they certainly could not have fulfilled it in their lifetimes.[2] No one is excluded from this command. Just like Jesus’ mandate was not limited to the eleven, neither does it limit the calling based on social status, position in life, or personal experience.
                Long before Jesus spoke those words, God called people from different backgrounds to further His kingdom. Take Rahab for instance. Had she let the fact that she was a prostitute keep her from aiding the two spies sent out by Joshua, perhaps the story of Jericho would have had a different ending (Josh. 2). Not only did her faith in hiding the spies gain her favor with Joshua, she obtained a place in the lineage of Jesus as the mother of Boaz who was the grandfather of Jesse, the father of King David (Matt. 1:2-6). Another example would be David. We first see David as a lowly shepherd boy whose family didn’t think highly enough of him to present him to Samuel as a prospect as King of Israel (1 Sam.16:5-13). David did indeed become King of Israel, but not before he struggled with issues such as adultery and murder (2 Sam.). While these issues caused discord in David’s life and among his sons, it didn’t stop him from singing the praises of God in the Psalms or prevent him from being called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
                A Galilean fisherman was no exception. From a village called Bethsaida (John 1:44), Peter was often not only the first to act, but acted before he thought things through; and, certainly spoke whatever was on his mind.[3]
Matthew 4:18-23 and Luke 5:10 indicate that Peter operated a fishing business with his brother Andrew along with partners James and John, the sons of Zebedee, on the Sea of Galilee. Other accounts of these apostles fishing seem to say that they continued this business during their time with Jesus, and are usually used to teach them, Peter, a lesson on faith and dependence on Jesus (Luke 5:1-9; John 21:3-14; Matt. 17:27).   
                Like most people today, Peter was also a family man. He had a wife whose mother was healed by Jesus in Mark 1:29-31. It is thought that he returned home at the end of his different travels, and sometimes his wife accompanied him on missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5).[4]
                In Acts 4:13, Peter is perceived to lack education and training. However, this does not mean that he was ignorant, just that he lacked formal education and was not a “professional religious leader”.[5]  At this point in Acts, however, Peter had spent much time with Jesus which certainly could be counted as an educational experience.
Jesus knew Peter. He knew his position in life, his outspoken personality, the career path the he chose, everything about him, God knew. Still He called him. Still He commanded him to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). We are all called by God, and just like with Peter He has a plan for us (Jer. 29:11).  He is calling everyone to His service and commanding us to reach the lost. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations”. Do not let your past, present or perceived future keep you from accepting the call of God or fulfilling His command to go.

[1] Unless otherwise noted all Bible quotes are from the NKJV, 1982.
[2] Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, & Doug Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, (Oak harbor: WA, Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), chp. 28.
[3] G. Osborne and J. Douglas & P.W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian History, (Wheaton, Il: Tyndale House, 1992), 551.
[4] G. Osborne, 549.
[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, Il: Victor Books, 1996), 1 Pe 1:1.

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