The Master’s men - Part 3Simon Peter: Up Close and personal Mathew 10:1 to 4
INTRODUCTION to the topic and contextual background Before chapter 10, Mathew’s focus was on Jesus’ public ministry. In Mathew 10, he directs his attention to Jesus training of the 12 . apostles. For the past 2 Sundays, We had learned about their conversion, their training and their weaknesses in general. We learned that this chapter is all about the 3rd phase of Jesus training of these twelve men which is their internship. We had an overview of the 12 apostles, and we learned about how God choose 12 ordinary men to spread the Gospel message. We learned all we can from the list of their names found Mathew 10:1 to 4. In the next few Sundays, we will learn all we can about each of the Apostles individually. For today, we will be discussing the first one in the list, Simon Peter.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: SIMON PETERAll of the twelve, Peter was by the centralfigure, both during the three years ofJesus’ earthly ministry and during the .early years of the church. Aside fromJesus no name is mentioned more oftenin the New Testament than Peter’s. Nodisciple was reproved as often or asseverely as Peter,How could Jesus take such aninconsistent, and self-centered man andmake him into the first—the “first”—of theapostles? From the gospels we candiscern at least three elements that wereinstrumental in the Lord’s preparation ofPeter.
SOME KNOWN FACTS ABOUT SIMON PETER Name: Simon (Common name given by his parents) . Known aliases: Peter (Which means “stone” as called by Jesus Christ), Cephas (in Aramaic) Occupation: Fisherman Residence: A native of Bethsaida and later moved to Capernaum Relationship status: Married Known family Relationships: Father: John (Jonah), Brother – Andrew, an apostle as well.
I – THE RIGHT RAW MATERIAL Peter had the right raw material from which Jesus could fashion thesort of leader He intended Peter to be. Peter had potential, but left to himself,Peter would never become what we know he is today. Here are some facts .recorded about Peter on why he seemed to have the right raw material..a.) Inquisitive – Peter was always asking Jesus questions. Many of hisquestions were superficial and immature, but they reflected a genuine concernabout Jesus and His work.A person who does not ask questions has little chance for success as a leader,because he has no desire or willingness to inquire about what he does notunderstand. When the other disciples failed to understand something, theyappear to have been more likely to keep quiet or simply discuss their doubtsand questions among themselves. Peter, on the other hand, was neverreluctant to ask Jesus about whatever was on his mind. (Matt. 15:11,15,(Mathew 19:27, Mark 11:21, John 21:21)
b.) Initiative – Peter showed initiative, another. necessary ingredient of leadership. Just as he was usually the first to ask Jesus questions, . he was also usually the first to respond to questions Even though his actions were often misguided, Peter was ready to respond in what he thought was Christ’s behalf. (Matt. 16:15-16, John 18:10) c.) Intent to be in the action – Peter positioned himself in the middle of the activity. He was a natural participant, never content to be on the sidelines. He stayed as close to Jesus as possible and wanted to be a part of everything that happened. (Mathew 26:69-75, Mathew 14:22-23 ,John 20:4)
II – THE RIGHT EXPERIENCES A second element in preparing for leadership is having rightexperiences. The Lord brought into Peter’s life all the experiences necessary todevelop his leadership ability. .a.) Given wonderful revelations – Peter has been given an opportunity by theLord to reveal wonderful truths to others about Him. (Matt. 16:16-17, John6:66-68)b.) Given great honor and reward - After Jesus explained to Peter that the truthof his confession was revealed to him by the Father (Matt. 16:18). The Lordused Peter to bring the gospel to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert. Peterunlocked the doors of the gospel to both the Jews and the Gentiles. All of theapostles opened the door to the kingdom as they preached the gospel ofsalvation, and every time any man of God preaches Christ he, too, unlocksthose kingdom doors to let men in.
c.) Given great rebukes – After Jesus honored Peter by his declaration inMathew 16, perhaps feeling proud and overconfident as the leading disciple, hedemonstrated that his mouth could be used by Satan as well as by God. Whenthe Lord foretold his crucifixion, Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him,saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You’” But his severe .rebuke of Jesus brought an even more severe rebuke from Jesus: “ (Matt.16:21-23)Peter was also rebuked in advance by the Lord when the Lord predicted that allthe disciples would fall away when He was arrested, Peter again contradictedHim, but God told him he will deny him three times. (Mathew 26:31-35, 69-75).d.) Given a great re-commissioning - When Jesus confronted him with the lackof love, Peter assured the Lord three times that he had affection for Him, andJesus three times reinstated him and charged him to care for His flock. Jesushad not given up on Peter. He reassured His backslidden disciple that hiscalling still stood and commanded him again just as He had in the beginning,“Follow Me!” (John 21:15-19).
III – THE RIGHT ATTITUDES A third element in Jesus’ training of Peter was teaching him theprinciples of godly leadership. .a.) Taught Submissiveness - Because leaders can easily become domineering,they have a special need to learn submission. When the Capernaum taxcollectors demanded a Temple tax from Jesus, He commanded Peter to go andcatch a fish, in whose mouth would be a coin, exactly enough to pay the tax forboth Jesus and Peter (Matt. 17:24-27). From that experience Peter learned alesson not only in submitting to Jesus but to human authorities. This is lessonfrom the Master is later on reflected when he wrote 1 Pet. 2:13-15, 17.b.) Taught restraint & self control - When the Roman soldiers came with theofficers of the chief priests and the Pharisees to arrest Jesus in the garden,Peter drew his sword and began to fight—even though those that came toarrest Jesus may have numbered 500 or more men. Jesus told Peter to putaway his sword and to let God’s divine plan take its course (John 18:10-11).
c.) Taught humility - Only a few hours after he proudly boasted, “Even thoughall may fall away because of You, I will never fall away,” Peter denied the Lordthree times—although he was in little, if any, danger (Matt. 26:33, 69-75). But .he eventually learned his lesson, and many years later wrote, “God is opposedto the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5).d.) Taught Sacrifice – Jesus foretold Peter’s death through martyrdom in John21:18-19). When Peter became concerned that John might not have to paysuch a costly sacrifice, Jesus told him sternly, “If I want him to remain until Icome, what is that to you? You follow Me!” (vv. 21-22). For the second time onthis occasion Jesus commanded Peter to follow Him, That was the last timeJesus had to command Peter to follow Him. From then on, Peter obeyedwhatever the cost. He even learned to rejoice in his suffering for Christ, as hewrote in 1 Peter 4:13-14, 16, 19.
e.) Taught genuine love – It was genuine love that caused Peter to deny HisLord, and it was about that love that Jesus pressed him three times. Jesus’washing the disciples’ feet not only was an example of humility but of the .source of humility—love. Service to others, no matter how costly or demeaning,is neither humble nor godly if done from any motive but love (1 Cor. 13:3).Peter records the lesson he learned: “Above all, keep fervent in your love forone another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8).f.) Taught courage - Because Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s suffering pointed togreat sacrifice, it also pointed to need of great courage. When Peter wasbrought before the high priest and the Sanhedrin council for preaching thegospel, he was no longer the fearful coward he had been in the high priest’scourtyard the night of Jesus’ arrest. (Acts 4:10-11; 3:1-8).
CONCLUSIONPeter learned his lessons slowly, but he learnedthem well. He took the initiative to replace Judasamong the apostles . (Acts 1:15-17), became the firstspokesman of the church (2:14), was the first todefend the gospel before the Sanhedrin (4:8), wasthe first to enact church discipline (Acts 5:3-9), didseveral miracles, was the first to take the gospel tothe Gentiles (Acts 10), and wrote two epistles inwhich he included all the lessons Jesus had taughthim. Peter was indeed a man God touched with Hisgrace in a special way.Tradition reports that Peter died a cruel death.Before he died, He is said to have been forced towitness the crucifixion of his wife. Peter is said tohave pleaded to be crucified upside down, becausehe was unworthy to die as his Lord had died.