Paul and the Law

Paul and the Law

Paul warned about legalism and false teachings in most of his epistles. Paul was concerned for his flock. He knew that they had heard the Gospel, sometimes even from his own mouth. Christianity or being a follower of Jesus Christ was a new concept. While the Good News of the Gospel about Jesus Christ was strong and alive, still there were many who were resistant and confused. The common Hebrew religion, known as Judaism, was also still a very strong movement. Christianity builds on Judaism, because Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Jesus Christ completes Judaism.
Not everyone accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Not everyone was on board to embrace the Gospel of grace through Jesus Christ’s blood. And even those who understood, accepted, and believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior sometimes misunderstood the full Gospel message. It was a new, complex concept. The long standing traditions and Laws of Judaism were still fresh and well understood. But the full Gospel that Paul preached included “Christ is the end of the Law.”2
Commonly, converts to “Jesus” in the First Century were confused. They wanted to obey the Laws and still have Jesus. Paul constantly had to clarify exactly where the Laws fit into this movement. If Jesus Christ died for man’s sin and offers “saving faith,” what then should man do? What Laws must men obey? Where do the Laws fit into the Paul’s Gospel?


Paul's Gospel

Paul’s Gospel

Paul’s Gospel consists of many things. In short, all men are unrighteous before God. Therefore, it is impossible for justification through works. Jesus Christ is the propitiation and reconciliation for man’s sin and unrighteousness. Christ’s work was a gift to man. For only by Christ’s bloodshed, death on the cross and resurrection can man be declared righteous. Man accepts this free gift through belief or saving faith. All who believe are saved, justified and declared righteous. Not only is Christ’s blood saving, but it is also redeeming. Man was under the power of sin and Satan himself. But Christ met with Satan himself in death and bought back souls with His blood. Once saved, Paul taught that men are united in Christ. His identify is in Him. Also the saint has remission of all of his sins.1 This is a summarization of Paul’s theology and the message of the Gospel found in his letters.


Paul and the Law


The Law is important to Paul’s gospel message. The Law in Paul’s writing is one of the most controversial topics in the New Testament. One of the most difficult things to understand in the New Testament is this idea of the Law, according to Paul. A careful analysis of Paul’s writings about the Law in Galatians and Romans will show that the two books are complementary, not contradictory despite what some scholars might try to conclude. The Law is not evil or a problem to the Gospel. Rather the Law is an essential element to Paul’s Gospel.


Paul's Gospel

Righteousness- equity, justice, fairness, moral correct, right doing, good, worthy, virtue, decency, honest, innocent, holy, the perfectness and pureness of Jesus Christ.

Faith-ability to believe in Christ's death, as the ground of justification before God, saving faith.

Redemption- to let go free for a ransom. Sin is presented as slavery and sinners as slaves. Deliverance from sin is freedom.

Justification- acquittal for Christ’s sake, to be justified/ excused of sin because of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross.

The “Romans road” can be used to explain the Gospel. It is similar to how Paul explains the Gospel in the first 5 chapters of Romans. Let’s take a look at these verses and also so verses beyond the first 5 chapters in Romans. First Paul starts with the problem of the sin nature.” Rom 3:10 as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE.” Humans are trapped in a hopeless predicament because of sin nature. By the sin nature, men are not righteous. Rom 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Paul’s solution to the sin nature in the Gospel message is faith in Jesus Christ. Rom 10:9, 10 says “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” This is faith, saving faith. We believe that as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead so we were raised with Jesus.
Jesus’ death and resurrection according to Paul’s Gospel is justification for our sin and sin nature. Christ in his righteousness (perfection) sacrificed for fallen man. Through Christ we are justified. As Rom 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Because of our sin we are doomed to die. But through Christ we live. The only way this is possible is through redemption. Jesus justified us, acquitted us because he redeemed us through His death and blood on the cross. As Rom 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God allowed all of this to happen. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”


the confession

the confession:
1. admit your sin/action was wrong
2. believe that God's grace is enough to cover your sin
3. confess: say you are sorry specifically of your actions to God
4. If it involves other people ask forgiveness from the people/person you offended
5. Forgive yourself, God has forgiven you
6. Remember that God has "forgotten" the sin, separated it as far as east is from west
7. acknowledge that on your own power sin will overtake you again
8. Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit when temptations come again

True confession involves several elements. The first is the act of confession itself, which recognizes the act as a sin with the acknowledgment of guilt. The second step is the feeling of regret and Repentance on the part of the sinner for having been guilty of the offense. The final element in true confession is the resolve not to repeat the sin. Without the third steps the confession is of no value from a religious viewpoint.

The 6 steps of confession to God.

  1. Examine your conscience by inviting God to identify any specific sin(s).

    Periodically use some private worship time to invite God to convict you of anything that needs confession, then spend a few minutes in meditation so he can direct your mind. Don't settle for generalized guilt, expect God to identify very specific sins. Refuse to get sidetracked into subdividing the blame to other people, keep the focus on your own areas of responsibility.

  2. Look through the eyes of God at the sin long enough to feel sorrow.

    Sorrow is abhorrence at committing sin--a deep regret for offending the heart of the holy Father. Think of how you feel when you realize that you have betrayed or embarrassed a spouse or close friend. Since God loves us even more than they do, I'm convinced he feels even more sorrow when we betray or embarass him. Look until you can label the specific sin: ``intolerable.''

  3. Determine to avoid that sin in the future.

    Sure, we need God's help to resist temptation. We also need our own resolve. The mindset of being conquered and ruled by God is essential to confession.

  4. Determine what you can do to help restore the relationship.

    Talk to your pastor about how you can build a healthy relationship with God, or read Celebration of Disciplines by Richard Foster. If your sin caused damage to another person you will also want to think about how you can restore some of their brokenness.

  5. Articulate or write down your confession, including each of the steps 1-4.

    Suppose you are at a local store and hit a parked car, denting their fender. Nobody saw you, so you just drove off. You have sinned against the other car owner and against God. Your confession might sound like this: ``Holy Father, I realize that I sinned by ducking responsibility when I damaged the car. I claim to follow you but I failed to take responsibility for bending a bit of metal, while you took responsibility for all my sins even to the point of death. I see how my intolerable behavior embarrasses you. Please forgive me. I promise to take responsibility for such behavior in the future. I will talk with the store owner to see if he can help me find the owner of the car I damaged so that I can take responsibility.''

  6. Let go of the guilt, it's over, live in the freedom of God's forgiveness.

    Confession includes sorrow, but ends in joy. Scripture teaches ``redemptive remembering.'' This means we do not sit around remembering our sin, but we remember how God redeemed us from our sin.


Marks of Maturity

In the latter part of Galatians 5, the apostle Paul urges the Christians of Galatia, to practical godliness and he also warns against the snares of the false teachers. Paul wants to be clear. Christians are not to live by flesh. And they are not under law. Instead they are to live by love and live by the Spirit (v. 13-26). Paul wrote Galatians because Judiazers or Christian-Jews were coming in and teaching the churches in Galatia that in order to be saved, Christians must continue to follow the law. Paul’s main purposes in Galatians were to establish his authority as an apostle, re-establish the true meaning of the Gospel, warn against these Judiazers, and establish the place for the law.

Paul says that we are to love each other as ourselves. We can only do this by living by the Spirit. By the Spirit we are no longer under the works and desires of flesh: “sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things.” Instead we are filled with: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (v19-21).”

It is only through and because of Christ that we can live in the Spirit. For, “those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another” (v. 22-26).

I will examine three of these fruits more closely: Self-control, peace and patience. (I chose these three because they are most difficult for me.) Self-control is rendered from the Greek word, “ejgkravteia” and the Latin word, continenia. Self-control is a concept that is difficult to pin down and grasp exactly and completely. Self-control is the ability to restrain impulse, set up boundaries, or control actions. The only real “self-control” comes from the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is living in a Christian, then the Christian is able to resist temptation to sin, choose words wisely, and is able to control thoughts and actions that are fleshly or ungodly. Having self-control is a mark of spiritual maturity. Solomon writes in Proverbs five that “An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness (v. 22, 23).”
According to this verse, evil and foolish men do not have self-control. Self-control is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit and spiritual growth.
Peace is resting in relationship w God. In John 14:27, Jesus says "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (NKJV)." Again in Matthew 11, Jesus speaks of the true source of peace, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (v. 28-30)." Jesus is saying that he gives peace. He wants you to find rest in Him. In our own power we will not be able to handle the stress and sins of this world, but in Christ we can.

The word "peace" comes from the Greek word “eirene”, the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word “shalom”, (and Latin word, “ pax,”) which expresses the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by the outward circumstances or pressures. This peace is rule of order in place of chaos. When a person is dominated by peace, he has a calm, inner stability that results in the ability to conduct himself peacefully, even in the midst of circumstances that would normally be very nerve-wrecking, traumatic, or upsetting...Rather than allowing the difficulties and pressures of life to break him, a person who is possessed by peace is whole, complete, orderly, stable, and poised for blessing. This is a mark of maturity because it is a command by Paul and Jesus to let the peace be a part of our lives. Phil. 4:7, “And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” It is also a mark of maturity because when outsiders of Christianity see our peace, they will be curious about it. They will want it. They will see Jesus in our lives.

This peace is difficult for me and many other Christians because we like control, or at least I do. I want to make sure I have everything under control. I want to do things my own way. So I try to do things on my own power. When I do things on my own power, I forfeit this peace that Christ offers. But when I let go of my own control and let Christ control everything, this is when I truly have peace!

Patience, which in some translations is "longsuffering" or "endurance," is defined in Strong's by two Greek words, “makrothumia” and “hupomone.” In Latin it is the word, “longanimitas.” Trying to give an English equivalent is a little more difficult. The words: lenience, forbearance, fortitude, patient endurance, forgiving tolerance, mercy, and longsuffering – come to mind. It describes a person who has the power to exercise revenge but instead exercises restraint. The person who is patient can endure suffering, stand during difficult circumstances, and tolerate unpleasant things, such as persecution or simply annoyances. Hebrews 10:36 says "For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise."

Patience is a mark of maturity in the same ways as peace is. In Eph. 4, Paul calls us to patience and tolerance towards each other as Christians to preserve unity in the Spirit. In 1 Tim. 1:16, Paul says, “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” We are following Christ’s example when we have patience. We are following Paul’s example in Antioch and the prophets example of old (James 5:10, 2 Tim. 3:10). Ecc. 7:8, “Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.”

As Christians we are to live life in Spirit. Right before Jesus ascended into Heaven he spoke about the Holy Spirit, which he left for us. Act 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Both Paul and Jesus commanded us to live by the Spirit. When we surrender our fleshly will to God’s will in the Holy Spirit then all of the characteristics, marks of maturity or fruits written about in Galatians 5:22–26, Colossians 3:12–17, or Psalm 15 will be evident in our own lives. I would like to close with 2 Peter 1: 5-8. See how these fruits build on each other. We start with faith and we grow into creatures of love! “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love.

For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately (NET).”


Costs of Discipleship

When one chooses to be a Christian, one becomes a follower of God. There are things that our leader, God, asks us to do as followers. These conditions of being a follower or disciple of God are not always easy. God wants a real relationship with his followers and when believers meet these conditions spiritual formation (and growth in that relationship) occurs.
Some of the conditions of being a follower of Jesus are self-denial, renunciation, “leaving it all,” steadfastness, fruitfulness, and love. Jesus taught that God does not like half-heartedness. God desires a real relationship with his followers therefore it is imperative that followers show that they are serious about their faith and put God first. There could be many people who say that they are Christians and many people who want to follow Jesus but they are not truly followers because they are not willing to follow through on these conditions.
The first condition, self-denial, is setting aside one’s own plans, goals, desires in life and following God’s instead. This is one of the hardest things about being a disciple of Jesus. Our life is no longer ours, but Christ’s. Do not get me wrong. This is not all bad or difficult. Look at the alternative. Willard says “the cost of non-discipleship is greater than the cost of discipleship.” The cost of having Jesus in your life outweighs the cost of not having him in your life. But being a disciple of Christ means that we will have to choose between the desires of our own flesh and the plans of God.
The second condition, renunciation, means to reject or renounce earthly pleasures. It is a sacrifice. Take the idea of self-denial and step it up to the next level. Not only are you denying your own plans and pleasures but now also rejecting all earthly pleasures and desires as well. Remember God wants all of us in our relationship to Him, not just to be compartmentalized to Sunday mornings only.
The next condition of “leaving it all” builds on the same ideas of self-denial and renunciation. We are taught by Jesus to follow him. Not to follow our own ways, not to follow the ways of this world, instead we are told to “leave all” behind. This might mean leaving behind other “important” things like family, friends, or a career to do God’s will instead.
The fourth condition is steadfastness. Steadfastness means to be dedicated, devoted, loyal, and fixed on a goal. When it comes to being a disciple we are to be fixed on following Christ. We are to abide with Christ, as we talked about together earlier in this class. We are to align our thoughts, doctrines, and teachings up with what Christ teaches in the Bible. The last two conditions are similar, in that we have discussed these things at some level in this class already. We are to be fruitful. Christians will bear fruits of the Spirit. This also progresses from being steadfast. If someone is steadfast in their faith, abides in Christ, and is serious about their relationship with God then they will inevitably become more like Christ. This means they will act and behave differently. They will love. They will have peace, joy, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.


Cost of non-discipleship

A lot of talk is done on the "cost of discipleship."
While yes there is a high price, it is totally worth it, especially when we look at the "cost of non-discipleship."

Think of these costs:
1. The obvious one: Hell. Eternity away from God. Eternity in pain and torment, beyond understanding.

2. Stress of an everyday life. The worries without God as the source of strength.

3. Ability to tolerate/understand hardships. When my brother was hospitalized for three months, my hope was found in God. Through that hardship, I grew in Him. I cannot imagine going through something traumatic like that without His help. It would be so difficult.

4. There are more. Without Christ, we are without are true identity, without our Creator, without our purpose in life....


Blurb from Love your God with all your Mind

"We should have good reasons for thinking that Christianity is true before dedicating our entire lives to it. We should have solid evidence that our understanding of a passage is correct before applying it to our lives. we should be training other Christians on how to think carefully about their faith. Apologetics should be a regular part of discipleship."

This is a paraphrase of JP Moreland from Love your God with all your Mind

What sticks out to me is the difficulty and just how uncommon this concept is.
I wish that apologetics were a normal part of training. Moreland shares a story and explains how we apply passages to our lives based on vague feelings and not by doing the hard work of study.

Abiding in Christ, John 15

What does “abiding in Christ” mean? The Greek word for “abide” is “men'-o.” It means to “stay” or “remain” in one place. One might say that it means to just “hang out” or be with Jesus. In one way it means to spend time with Jesus. You need to take your faith seriously. You need to spend time with Jesus if you are serious in your faith. In another sense it means that there are choices. We can choose to prioritize Jesus in our lives or we can spend time serving other “gods” or other masters in our lives. The choice is ours. We can serve God in obedience or serve other things, in disobedience to God. You cannot have two masters.

The best way to answer this question is by looking at it in context. Jesus is giving the 12 some of the last teaching and training on their way from the last supper to the Garden in Kidron where Jesus would be arrested and betrayed. The points Jesus makes are that, if you choose me as your Lord – If you spend time with me there are advantages! With me in your life you will grow your faith and bear fruit. With me you will “ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” With me in your life, you will have God on your side. You will make him happy. Also Jesus makes points on the other side. Dallas Willard would say “the cost of non-discipleship” (which is greater than the “cost of discipleship.” The costs of not having Jesus in your life as he argues (for himself) are that” without me you can do nothing.” In Christ, you can do all things, without him you can do nothing. It comes down to a dichotomy. You are for God or against him! Another reason follows similarly, remember that God is against you if you are not for him. “

If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” God tends
the branches. Metaphorically we are the branches. Jesus is the vine. He is the
source of strength, water, and goodness –all of life. God is the Gardener and
he tends the branches that do not bear fruit. The branches that are not fully
intact with the vine, God tends. Finally it is also important to realize that God wants us to obey his rules. Remaining in him also presupposes that we continue to obey and keep his commands.


Put off Flesh, Put on Christ

* What, practically, does Paul mean in Gal. 5?

Basically Paul is giving us a basic lesson on Christian living. This short passage is very consistent with Paul’s teaching through-out the New Testament as well as with what Jesus taught. As Christians we are to live in Christ and not in the flesh any longer. We have a choice to live in obedience or disobedience. Paul is calling Christians to unity in obedience to Christ. The text also means that it is not enough to attempt to stop sinning. The truth is that we must replace our vices and sinful habits with Christ, or we will just get caught in another sin or vice.

Paul’s other teachings that are very similar include his teaching on the “fruits of the spirit” (in Galatians 5:22, 23), his teachings on a right mind (in Philippians 4:8, 9), his teaching on spiritual warfare and the armor of God (in Ephesians 6:10-20), his teaching on reconciliation (in 2 Cor. 5), and his teachings on life according to the Spirit (in Rom. 8, 1 Cor. 6).
Jesus‘ teachings also lined up with what Paul is saying. Jesus was radical in his teaching. He was very clear that he wanted all of us. Not only did Christ want people to stop sinning, or to obey the law completely, but he wanted men to chose Him as their first priority completely (Mat. 6:19-24,33, 22:37).

* What is Paul instructing us to do?

First he asks us to put aside our old nature of disobedience. Verses 5-9, tell us what not to do. Second, Paul tells us to clothe ourselves with the fruits of the Spirit. Verses 10-16 tell us what we should do.
More specifically, in Christ, we are dead to the sins of our disobedient nature (immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed, idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech). We do not have to live this way, as we used to before Christ. Now we are to put on our new self, which is the image of God (holy and beloved, heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love, and unity in Christ and the Word of God.) Christ set the ultimate example. And through Him, Christians can find unity on how to live.

* How can one do it (Put off >Put on)?

There is a paradox. Only through Christ can one put off the flesh and put on the Spirit/Christ. It is about Christ making us right and righteous. On man’s power alone, man will fail. This is what makes Christianity unique from all other religions. God reaches his hand down to man. Man can do nothing to save self! Sanctification is only through Christ Jesus. Man cannot help themselves. Man has choices to make, sure. Some scholars will say that man has the ultimate choice. That man has to do something to be saved and to be sanctified, this is not completely true. Man chooses daily to obey Christ by simply putting on Christ or to disobey Christ by sinning. This is true, but it takes some examining to fully understand. The issue is more complex than that.

Yes, man makes the choice to obey or to disobey, sin or not to sin, but there is the issue of surrender. If man surrenders his will to Christ, then it is Christ’s power that sanctifies man. If man surrenders his will to Christ, then and then only will man truly obey. My point is that on man’s power alone this is not possible. Man on his power will fail into sin and flesh. But man surrendered to Christ’s will can put on Christ and live as Christ, sanctified in His image. The biggest choice is for man to let go and let Christ make Him.

* How do you do it?

I personally surrender daily through prayer. I am by no means perfect. But I have made it a goal to let go before I let the day begin. As I wake up, - to the sound of the alarm, wet lick of my dog to my face, the smell of coffee, or feel the heat of the shower water - I begin praying. I begin by asking for the Holy Spirit to help me in this new day. I thank the Lord for it; everyday is a gift from Him. And I imagine putting on the whole armor of God. I try to think through situations where the Lord will need me and people who need the Lord. I ask for opportunity to serve Him.

As the day continues, I attempt to “pray without ceasing.” Of course, my life is not a piece of cake without problems and without temptations. Surrender is a continual process. It is not a one-time event, but on-going. Will I let go and let Christ or will I try to run my own life? I attempt to follow God’s will. When temptations come, I could choose to sin or obey God. I sometimes say a quick prayer and flee from the temptation. (James 1:13-18, 2 Tim 2:22) But sometimes I fail. Sometimes I sin. Just goes to show that man will fail, but in Christ we are free (Gal 5: 1-5, Rom 6:18, 8:2). Amen!


Worship: Making the sacrifice

Worship is an essential part of spiritual formation.
Spiritual formation is about our relationship with God. Abiding in Christ, means living with Jesus in our lives, hanging out with him, making the choice to obey him! The Bible tells us that we are to worship God by sacrificing our whole being to God. We are to do his will and not conform to this world.

“Worship” has many facets, many levels to it. It is not merely singing praises. There is a lot more to it. To summarize “Let’s talk about worship,” we see that “worship” is about acknowledging and knowing the Lord, adoration and loving Him, and action in service to God. The word has several meanings and there are many ways to worship God. This is what we are discussing today, the many ways to express our worship to God in our worship services and in life.

regards to …the first directive that strikes my attention is that
we are to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise…” The idea is to praise
God all the time, without ceasing. In our worship services this means that when
the singing is over, the worship is still happening. We worship God when we
give our offerings. We worship him in prayer of praise. We worship him in
learning from his Word. We worship him in fellowship with others. Also I must
note that our entire life can be an act of worship. We must not compartmentalize
our worship to Sunday morning instead continually worship God.

second directive is the repetitive idea of “offering up a sacrifice” similar to
. Praise is not about making ourselves feel good and energized, but it is
about worshiping, giving to God. It is not entertainment for your own soul, but
a gift to God, a sacrifice. In our worship services, we must remember that
church is not merely for us. Sure, God blesses us and fills us. Our entire life
is about worship. It is not always going to be easy to worship God. But we
sacrifice for God. And he is pleased with us when we do.

third directive is “do not neglect doing good and sharing.” (This is another
sacrifice!) We can and should please God through sharing our wealth, money,time, energy, blessings, etc. But we also share life together with other Christians. We share our time, our sacrifices, food,
fellowship, but also our tragedies, our prayer requests. I think also that we
must not only share with other Christians, but also with those who are sick,
those who are in need, those who need Jesus, and those who are not into the
church. It is good, right, and a sacrifice (of sorts) that pleases God when we
share the Gospel truth!


Bibliography and Appendix


Allison Jr., Dale C.. Journal of Biblical Literature, Fall92, Vol. 111 Issue 3, p489, 7p

Alward, Joseph. 2004. Simon Peter and Cephas. http://sol.sci.uop.edu/~jfalward/Cephas.htm

Bing, Charles. THE MAKING OF A DISCIPLE. Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society.

Autumn 1992—Volume 5:2. Burleson, Texas

Camille, Alice. (“The Odd Couple”). U.S. Catholic; Jun2005, Vol. 70 Issue 6, p43-45, 3p, 1c

Camille, Alice. (“The Case for Peter”). U.S. Catholic; May2000, Vol. 65 Issue 5, p43, 3p

Carson, D.A. & Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd Ed. Grand Rapids,

MI: Zondervan, 2005.

Clarke, Adam. Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain. ~1800.

Ehrman, B. D. Journal of Biblical Literature 109(3, 1990)463-474.

Gill, John. John Gill exposition of the Bible. Public Domain. 1809.

Harrington, Daniel J.. America, 1/29/2007, Vol. 196 Issue 3, p38-38, 1p, 1

Henry, M. Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one

volume. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996.

Kerr, C. M.. "Jonas (2)," International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. Edited by James Orr. Blue

Letter Bible. 1913. 5 May 2003. 24 Jun 2008.


Lea D., Thomas and Black, Alan David. The New Testament, Its Background and Message (2nd

edition). Tennessee: Broadman & Homan Publishers, 2003.

Mackintosh, C. H. “Simon Peter - His life and its lessons.” STEM

Publishing. Retrieved from



(September 1978) 211-212

Strong, James. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Thomas

Nelson, 1995).

Thayer, Joseph H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA:
Hendrickson Publishers, 2003).

Vincent, Marvin. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament (4 Volumes). Public Domain.

New York 1887-91.

Vine, W.E. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Nashville: Thomas
Nelson, 1996 reprint)

Wall, R. W. Source: Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 29(1987)79-90

Wesley, John. Wesley's Notes on the Bible. Public Domain. 1755.

Wiki Media. “St. Peter.” http://christianity.wikia.com/wiki/Apostle_Peter

Zodhiates, Spiro. The Complete Word Study of New Testament. AMG Publishers, Chattanooga,

TN 37422; 199

Appendix A: Map

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(From: Asher, Jeff. 2000. Bible Talk. Retrieved June10th, 2008 from




Lesson Six – Spiritual Growth

Lesson Six – Spiritual Growth

Well class it has been quite the journey the past six weeks, hasn’t it? We have gone through a lot of material in Peter. And you have been an excellent class. Thanks you for your enthusiasm. In today’s lesson we will look back at Simon Peter briefly to see what spiritual shape he was in when he began his walk with the Lord. Then we will compare that shape to what kind of spiritual maturity we see that he is in near the end of his life by examining his letters and sermon.
I will discuss on some liberal theories that are amiss in our culture recently about these writings of Peter. Then we will finish this lesson and this series with Peter’s death. If we run out of time today then Peter’s death is yours to take home with you and to study on your own time.

Let me read to you Matthew 4: 17-20, this is the calling of Jesus’ disciples:From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He *said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (Mat 4:17-20 NASB)

We see from the beginning that Peter was loyal. We see that right away he knew Jesus was worth pursuing. We see that Peter was just an average fisherman, with some education. He was trained by John the Baptist and knew of a coming Messiah. And right away he knew the Messiah was Jesus. We know he had faith. But we will see how he grows in not only divine faith but also in understanding and knowledge of our Lord as he matures in faith.

Please turn to Act 2:14-41 NASB. _____, would you read the first section? We will split this into three parts: 14-22. 23-36, 37-41:But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. "For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. 'AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 'THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. 'AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'

Here we see Peter has grown in his faith and maturity. First we see that he is willing to be used by the Holy Sprit. Second we see that he sees that faith is not just about him, but loving and telling others the good news. Peter becomes one of the first evangelists. And definitely he was one of the first evangelists to the Gentiles, although was a Jew and focused more on the Jews, in general. Also we see that Peter is quoting Old Testament Material here. This tells me that Peter has not only matured spiritually but has grown in his academic and Greek abilities. Picturing Peter preaching this sermon, we see a completely new and different Peter than we have seen in the Gospels. The Peter who seemed undisciplined, ignorant, and impulsive is now training others in deliberate discourse! Talk about maturity!

_______ Okay, will you take the next section?

"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. "But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. "For David says of Him, 'I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 'THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 'YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.' "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. "And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET."' "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."

Thanks, I will read the last part here:

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

(Act 2:14-41 NASB)

One thing that really impresses me about Peter’s sermon and in his writings is that he refers back to the Old Testament quite a bit. In fact, “probably no other letter is said to rely so much on traditional material” as 1st Peter. 37 We see is 1 Peter chapter two verse seven, Peter not only quotes OT but refers t o a passage he heard Jesus himself teach on that we looked at earlier.

1Pe 2:7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, "THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,"
It is really cool, because we see that Peter made connection. He finally understands what Jesus was talking about. He realizes that Christ is the cornerstone, not him. This is one mark of spiritual maturity.

Finally, we learn that God blesses those who do the work of evangelism. That day, about three thousand were added to the kingdom that day. This is not to say that Peter felt prideful and was looking for this kind of success, but rather that the Lord glorified this occasion. Peter had submitted to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit did all the work. Peter was just the vessel that he Holy Sprit worked through, yet God still glorified the occasion by adding three thousand to his number that day.

As a writer, Peter is thought to be involved in the writings of the two Peter letters (1st and 2nd) and as we discussed in an earlier session scholars believe that Peter was involved in the writing of the Gospel of Mark, because mark was a close disciple of Peter and wrote down the stories he told him. But of course there are several liberal theories about his writings and I want to know about some of them.

Some contemporary scholars question if 1st Peter was written by Peter because Peter does not mention certain information about Paul and “Paul’s territory.” Also the theology in 1st Peter seems to be “too much like Paul.” Also Peter’s education level and knowledge and skill of writing Greek is put into question. This is particularly questioned in the writing of 2nd Peter.

All of these arguments put together still are not strong and very inconclusive. The truth is Peter and Paul’s issues of conflict are exaggerated. Peter and Paul were actually “beloved friends” despite the fact they did not always understand each other or agree with everything. It is very likely that they worked the same territory, Peter with the Jews and Paul with the Gentiles. Peter’s writing skills along with more advanced theology could be explained with two possible theories. Possibly Peter had an amanuensis (skilled slave used for hand writing)38. Or slightly less likely but a possibility nonetheless, Peter increased in his knowledge and skill of Greek during the thirty years between Christ’s resurrection and his own death.

While, according to Carson, 1st Peter has some of the strongest external evidence for authorship of Peter, 2nd peter on the other hand, has some of the strongest claims against Peter authorship!39 2nd Peter is overwhelmingly thought to be pseudonymous, that is falsely written in Peter’s name, by someone else. Still all of their arguments, which I do not have time here to get into can be refuted or at least denied full authority. The best conclusion is a quote from L.R. Doneslson, “No one ever seems to have accepted a document as religiously and philosophically prescriptive which was known to be forged. I do not know of a single instance.”40 In other words, we can and should trust and have faith in the early church, as they carefully chose 2nd Peter as canonical material.

Leading up to Peter’s death, there is speculation as to how exactly Peter makes it to Rome, but we do know that Peter died in Rome under Nero. He was martyred on a cross upside-down at the same time Paul also was martyred. The interesting fact is that we do not hear of Peter’s being in Rome, except once, in 1 Peter 5:13, “Babylon.” Even this reference is questionable. Most scholars do believe that this is in fact Rome, not actually Babylon.41

If so why didn’t Peter mention that he was near Paul? One theory is that Peter’s disciple and writing of the Gospel (Mark), John Mark lived in Rome. Therefore Peter spent at least some time in Rome with John Mark.

There is further speculation about Peter in Rome, evolves around Paul. Paul probably left Rome for mission trips from 60-62 AD. This would have given Peter ample time to come into the city and writ 1st Peter. And this might actually explain why Peter’s writing seems so much like Paul’s Romans letter. As Peter might have become more acquainted with the letter during his stay in Rome. In the end Peter and Paul end up together in Rome sometime around 64-65AD and both die there under Nero.42 Between 62-64, leaves Peter some time to write 2nd Peter.

Class, I thank you for your time, effort, and participation. It has been a pleasure teaching you about Simon Peter. I hope you learned a lot. I did. Thank you!


Lesson Five - Gun-Hoe Spontaneity

Lesson Five - Gun-Hoe Spontaneity

Class. I wanted to say thank you for putting up with my long-windedness, today we will do more discussion. As you can tell I like to talk. But I hope the Lord has been good to you as he has been good to me. I have been learning a lot from Peter, as I hope you have too. The lord has been dealing with me and it is good. Your homework from last week, we too look at Peter and Paul’s conflict in Gal. 2. I want to briefly go over this as we have great stuff to cover today about Peter. We will see Peter’s “Gun-hoe spontaneity.” He truly was the leader among the twelve. His passion for Christ was spectacular.

Discussion: Would someone please summarize what happened in these passages? Thanks _____. That is correct. Paul reproofs Peter for being hypocritical.
What does Paul correct Peter for? Peter's offense was public, so he publicly reproved him for it: He said unto him before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? Let’s see the AMP translation:” If you, though born a Jew, can live [as you have been living] like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how do you dare now to urge and practically force the Gentiles to [comply with the ritual of Judaism and] live like Jews?”
What is this dispute about? hypocrisy. Does it matter? How important is it? It was important that Paul pointed this out. As Christians we can give off bad signals and turn away non-believers by our hypocrisy. This scenario was appropriate for Paul to reproof Peter. And we see that the situation was well taken by Peter. And they left the situation as friends and not divided. Peter agreed that he was wrong.

One last note that I found interesting in research is about the personalities of Paul and Peter. The two could not have been much more different. Camille suggests that conflict issues between the two might have had something to do with this mismatch in background and personality. Camille says they were “a match made in purgatory.”34 In short Peter was a humble, local fisherman who never strayed too far from the Sea of Galilee. He was a warm-hearted, conservative with a little education that everyone knew and liked, even Jesus. Paul on the other hand was more liberal, well-educated, a world-traveler who never got a chance to met Jesus. Peter merely betrayed Jesus, as Paul persecuted and killed Christians.

Peter might be most well-known for his enthusiasm and gun-hoe spontaneity in the passages that we look at today. We learn a lot about faith and loyalty in these two key passages: Jesus walking on water (Mat 14:22-33 NASB) and Peter with a sword in Gethsemane (John 18:1-13 NASB).

_______ would you open us open in the Mat 14 passage? Thanks.

Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." And He said, "Come!" And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"

(Mat 14:22-33 NASB)

Men have imperfect faith. Notice Jesus does not say “no faith,” but “little faith.”

We see in this passage, despite Peter’s willingness to follow and his love and affection for the Lord, he is first off not willing to go unless commanded, (although this is more initiation than the other eleven.) And then despite the fact hat Peter does go somewhat spontaneously, somewhat in fear, we see his faith and fear collide.

Notice that he was afraid; although it is likely he was a good swimmer, being a fisherman. 35 And also he was afraid despite the fact, he saw Jesus walking with his own eyes!

Adam Clarke brings it all together for real life application: “Every moment we stand in need of Christ: while we stand - we are upheld by his power only; and when we are falling, or have fallen, we can be saved only by his mercy. Let us always take care that we do not consider so much the danger to which we are exposed, as the power of Christ by which we are to be upheld; and then our mountain is likely to stand strong.36”

Let us take faith, strong faith in the Lord on a daily basis.

____ would you please read John 18:1-13? Thanks.
When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, "Whom do you seek?" They answered Him, "Jesus the Nazarene." He *said to them, "I am He." And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground. Therefore He again asked them, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus the Nazarene." Jesus answered, "I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way," to fulfill the word which He spoke, "Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one." Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?" So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

(John 18:1-13 NASB)

In Luke 22:49 When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"- Some of the other disciples ask the Lord if they should attack, then out of no where, Peter smites his sword and slices Malchus’ ear off. This is just a reflection of Peter. He does not wait, stop to think, or hear what Jesus says, he just cuts off the ear!

And again, Peter is the one of the disciples who takes action out of loyalty for Jesus as the other disciples are slow to action. This time the others are at least thinking about taking action, as we see in the question that they ask.

Discussion Questions:
What can we learn from Peter and his gun-hoe attitude?
we learn to think before we speak. We learn to have Peter’s faith - when we are on Jesus Christ's errands, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. We should set all of our inhibitions aside and follow, as Peter did better than the other disciples.
What are the pros and cons of this type of behavior for Peter?
For Peter, his loyalty got him into Jesus’ inner circle of friends. His gun-hoe attitude also brought him some humility and embarrassment.
What are the pros and cons of this type of behavior in your daily life?
In our daily lives, in our culture this attitude is looked at as extremism. People say “‘wow’ you are one of those Jesus freaks, weirdo.” It is a good thing in the sense that people know where you stand and what you believe, (if they actually do actually know what the tenants of Christianity are.) But the negative side is that people might look down on you, not really understand what you believe because of stereotypes, or people might think that you sold out to Christianity. Other might think you are radical in your faith. The point is that having this much devotion to the Lord sometimes scares people away or turns them off, mostly because they do not understand. We as Christians should be fully devoted to the Lord but we have to communicate love and Christ, grace and peace. We have to explain what we are to others clearly.
Have there been moments in your life recently where you had a strong desire to live for the Lord, but the realities of fear and temptation caused you t o wimp out of fail in your desire to “die for Christ?” Anyone willing to share a moment with us?

Tonight we looked at Peter and Paul and their conflict. Then we examined more about Peter and his famous incidents: walking on water and playing with a sword. Peter displayed lots of loyalty and a little faith. The Lord calls us to follow with the same amount of loyalty and even greater faith…Are you up for the challenge? Take some time this week to examine where your faith is lacking. The Holy Spirit will sure guide you if you ask him to.

Okay, thanks class for another great night. You are always open to talk and share insights and experiences that really enhance these lessons and our small group. I appreciate all of your own thoughts, the time and energy you are putting into studying God’s Word and making this small group better. In my appreciation there are no reading assignments for next week. I will tell you what we will be looking at, in case you over-achievers need some thing to read for next week. Next week we will be looking into the writings of Peter. His Sermon in acts 2, 1st and 2nd Peter, and the Gospel of Mark (indirectly). Thanks, see you next week!


Lesson Four- Loyal vulnerability

Lesson Four- Loyal vulnerability

Welcome back to our fourth class on Simon Peter. We have seen in the last class how Simon Peter’s temperament got him in trouble. He is quick to speak and not so quick to think. We will see today a few instances where Peter’s temperament is quite admirable. Peter was very loyal, faithful, and obedient to Christ. We will see today how this type of vulnerability is worth having but a difficult aim, as we will see in both Peter’s life and ours. Then if we have time we will look at Peter and Paul’s debacle. If we run out of time it will be homework! First open up to John 13:1-17 and we will examine the homework passage a little more closely.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." Peter *said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Simon Peter *said to Him, "Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head." Jesus *said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean." So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. "Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. "If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

(John 13:1-17 NASB)
Discussion Time:

In this first verse… What is this hour that is come? Who is it that Jesus loved? Yes you are right, the hour is Christ’s imminent death. Good try, Jesus DOES love His disciples, but this passage is referring to Christ’s love for ALL of the elect, everyone that he would die for upon His hour.

Many scholars31 believe that the most approved reading of the first part of verse two is γινομένου, the present participle, denoting while a supper was in progress. And Not “Supper had ended” as seen in the Received text and in KJV. It is interesting to note that washing of the feet is not a typical Jewish Passover tradition, but one specifically associated with Jesus. Do you see the similarities when we compare this passage to the passages we saw last week?

Very good. You are right. In this passage, Peter respectfully asks Jesus, “Why should you wash my feet?” – I should be washing yours!!! - In this respect Peter had thought about something before speaking. This is a little different.

And again you are right, Peter is ignorant in this passage, just like usual. But in this passage, we feel more sympathy for him, for Jesus is being somewhat mysterious about what he is saying for he knows that the disciples are just NOT getting it.

The second time Peter rejects Jesus’ request to wash his feet, Peter is less respectful, that is correct. But despite his bold rejection we see that Peter is obedient and let’s Jesus wash his feet once he hears Jesus say, “"If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Peter is quick to go from an extreme of rejection to an extreme of acceptance of loyalty.” Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head." Because Peter desires to be a part of Jesus. He is faithful and obedient. Good answers!

Anyone have a question about this passage?

Is Judas’s father Simon Peter? – Great question. It is uncertain who exactly Judas’s father is. Simon Peter is not typically even considered but it a good thought. Usually Judas’s father, who is named Simon is thought to be a tanner. His surname, Iscariot, may come from "Iscortia", which signifies a tanner's coat.32 Thanks for that good question ____.

The meat of today’s lesson we will see Peter’s complete devotion to the Lord. Open your Bible up to Matthew 26:31-75. This is rather large, so we will break it up into three parts: 31-47, 48-56, 57-75.

_____ would you read the first section 31-47 please?

"You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, 'I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.' "But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee." But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away." Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." Peter *said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." All the disciples said the same thing too. Then Jesus *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and *said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He *said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done." Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He *came to the disciples and *said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. "Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!"

Two times early in this passage, we see extravagant claims of loyalty for Jesus by Peter. Yet three times after Jesus repeatedly commands them to pray, only to caught them sleeping. Jesus knew the moment was quite important and desired his faithful friend’s prayer, yet they were unfaithful, even Peter.

This is not the first time Peter has made such claims earlier right after the foot washing passage you read for homework, Peter says this: John 13:37 Peter *said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You."

In Luke’s account the same (or a similar, maybe an addition of the) conversation we just read in Matthew, the conversation between Peter and Jesus is very intense:

"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." But he said to Him, "Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!"

(Luke 22:31-33 NASB)

“Simon, Simon” – the repeating of his name is a sign of love. In this account we learn that Satan must get permission to even tempt a man. Jesus give Peter a fair warning that something bad is going to happen. Peter whole-devoted, ready-for-anything attitude says “I am ready….even for death.” This suggests he is not afraid of Satan himself. And his loyalty to the Lord is main priority.

____ will you read the next section of the Matthew passage, 48-56? Thank you.

While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him." Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus *said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? "How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?" At that time Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. "But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets." Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

Here is a disappointing passage. First we see Judas, who already is under Satan’s control betray Jesus, with the infamous kiss. Then we see according to Matthew’s account, “one of those who were with Jesus” slice slave’s ear off with a sword. Why in Matthew and especially Mark (assuming Peter is the source material for Mark) does it say “one of Jesus’ followers instead of Peter? I don’t know. But in John 18:10 -( Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus) - it is clearly Simon Peter? Great question!

Finally we see that Peter is weak and not as devoted as he desires to be. The passage ends, Jesus is captured and the disciples are no where to be found.

____ would you please read the last section from 57-75? Okay, your girlfriends can split that passage with you. Thanks. Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome. Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, "This man stated, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.'" The high priest stood up and said to Him, "Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?" But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus *said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN." Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?" They answered, "He deserves death!" Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, "Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?" Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about." When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and *said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man." A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away." Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man!" And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.

(Mat 26:31-75 NASB)

It is interesting to note that Peter was following “from a distance to see the outcome” but he was not willing to go all the way. Finally we see Peter’s denial of Jesus three times outside near the courtyard. Peter sins; he falls into the temptation Jesus had warned about. Peter lies. Yet we see that immediately he remembers what Jesus had said and began weeping bitterly. Peter was ashamed of his sin. His tears are of shame and repentance.

Peter loved Jesus so much. He was the most loyal of the twelve. He made extreme promises, willing even to die for Christ. In the end of his life, he did in fact die for Christ. But in this passage we see that Satan’s temptation to sin and be passive, causes Peter to faultier. He falls into the temptation and sins. He was not perfect.

Harrington suggests that there are three steps to dynamic discipleship: – revelation, recognition, and reassurance33. Peter takes these steps several times in the Gospels. He has the divine revelation that Jesus is the Christ (Mt. 16). He recognizes the Jesus is greater than he (John 13). And he is reassured of Christ’s love in John 21.

I the Matthew passage we see all three steps occur. Jesus gives Peter the revelation that Satan will tempt him. Peter recognizes that he sinned immediately after the roster crows. And Peter is reassured of Christ’s forgiveness as he wept alone.

Today in our own lives we have similar stories. We can relate to Peter. In our heart, our devotion to the Lord is great. Many of you, I know would say that Jesus is your first love, as he should be and you might even commit to death for the cause of Christ as Peter did. But when it comes down to the real life application, we fall. We sin. We mess up. Satan even tempts us to sin. The Father wants us to be strong in our temptation. We also can see the three steps of dynamic discipleship today in our lives.

We receive revelation through the Word of God and through the Holy Spirit. God holds teachers to a high responsibility to feed our flocks. We recognize the revelation is truth and we are re-assured in Christ when all is said in done. Christ still forgives us of our sin. Christ still blesses us when we do what is right in the sight of the Lord.

Discussion Questions:

When have you recently felt like Peter, you where on fire and would die for Jesus? Do you still have that zeal for the Lord? Recently in your own private life, (answer this one to the Holy Spirit) have you fallen in sin? Take a minuet to let the Holy Spirit examine you life and reveal sin that stands between you and the Lord….do you need to deal with the Lord today?

After you lift up your sin, remember that there is re-assurance in the Lord…we can have the same vulnerability with the Lord that Peter has here.

The Lord wants to restore you and make things right. Accept the Lord’s forgiveness and grace today.

Okay, I know we are running out of time, let me give you your assignment for next week: Does anyone recall an account between Peter and Paul that left the two in an enigma. They had a dispute of sorts. I want you to look at it in Gal. 2.

Questions to ask yourself: What does Paul correct Peter for? What is this dispute about?

Does it matter? How important is it?


Lesson Three- Foot In Mouth Syndrome

Lesson Three- Foot In Mouth Syndrome

Welcome back class. I hope you spent time this week dealing with God. I hope you realized how Peter was not that different from you and me. He was an average man who had a heart for God. God blessed Simon Peter’s heart. Today we are going to be a little more critical on Peter, especially concerning the things that Peter says. Peter had a tendency to speak without thinking. I have been guilty of this, myself. So we will look at some of the instances where this happens in the Gospels.

The First passage we will be looking at is Mat. 17:1-13: Six days later Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and *led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid." And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead." And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.

(Mat 17:1-13 NASB)

Peter, I am sure, was well-intended; he was full of good-will. But his zeal overpowered his discernment. Peter was excited! He speaks first and for the other disciples when he says, “it is good for us to be here.” Peter was enjoying the company of Moses and Elijah. Then out of his sanguine temperament, he speaks without first thinking. “, I will make three tabernacles” (one for Jesus, another for Moses, and another for Elijah.)

God himself responds to Peter’s comment! Think in your own life, have you ever heard a response directly from God? (If you have, I would love to hear about it.) Peter shows his ignorance despite his loyalty and willingness to serve, gets this one wrong. God, himself comes in the form of a bright, overshadowing cloud and in a loud voice to correct Peter’s doctrine.

John Henry points out that this bright cloud is different from the dark clouds God would dwell in during the Deuteronomic history24, when was displaying judgment upon his people. Instead this bright cloud reflects light, love, and liberty. God is proud of His Son, Jesus, who is light, life, love, and liberty.

Anyone want to explain to me first off what Peter gets wrong and second how or why Peter gets it wrong? (we have scratched the surface a little bit here.) Right, good job ______, Peter is wrong in putting two men upon the same foot with Christ25. God himself vindicated the rights of His Son. Peter was excited and ignorant, correct. Peter did not think before he spoke.

Peter had a habit of doing this. He spoke up before the other disciples; many times he spoke for the others. Sometimes he got things correct, but other times he gets it wrong.

Let’s go back to the Mat. 16:13-23 passage we spent the past few weeks in:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He *said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."

(Mat 16:13-23 NASB)

Jesus addresses all the disciples with a question, “Who do you say that I am?” Simon responds, while the others sit there confused. Simon gets the initial question correct, ‘You are the Christ, Son of the Living God!” but just a few verses later Jesus rebukes Peter saying, “"Get behind Me, Satan!” Peter holds divine knowledge in verse 16, then in verse 22, he is full of Satan’s lies! Poor Peter!

When he says, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." We see that he gets a bad case of foot-in the mouth. I cannot even imagine how Peter would have felt…his friend, leader, and Messiah had just cast Satan out of him. In this particular scenario we see similar features in comparison to the transfiguration scene. Peter gets excited. Peter is ignorant, yet loyal and obedient. Peter loves Jesus and does not want to see him die. He misses the point. He misses the significance of Christ’s death. In both cases, Peter is corrected by God himself (this time in the form of Jesus.)

It is interesting that Peter boldly confronts Jesus right after being praised by him. As Henry points out perhaps Peter was a little prideful or elevated after being praised by Christ, therefore he was bolder26. And Jesus saw this and wanted to keep Peter humble. Having Satan casted out of someone, is quite a humbling experience.

Discussion time:

What do you think Jesus means by “Satan”? Do you think he means that Peter is his enemy, literary Satan is in Peter, or something else? - Good response. I think Wesley really hit home for me, he says that Peter was acting the very part of Satan by endeavoring to hinder the redemption of mankind. (Whether or not Peter knew that or not is unimportant.) Jesus was pricking the pride from Peter’s puffed up heart.27

Does Jesus reproof other disciples the same manner, sharpness we see him reproofing Peter? If so where? - Good. that is an interesting moment of discipleship, sure, but I don’t think it compares to this moment. This is the sharpest reproof we see to any of his apostles at any time.

Have you recently had a case of foot-in-the mouth as Peter does? -Thanks for sharing.

Before we close this lesson we will examine one more major passage. Turn to John 21:20-25 . Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. (This was the disciple, who had leaned back against Jesus' chest at the meal and asked, "Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?") So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus replied, "If I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours? You follow me!" So the saying circulated among the brothers and sisters that this disciple was not going to die. But Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but rather, "If I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours?"

(John 21:20-23 NET.)

Last time we visited this chapter, we saw the amazing Grace of God through Jesus restoring his relationship with Simon Peter. Peter has just been restored, proclaiming that he does love Jesus and now has been challenged by Jesus to “Follow me” and “Feed my sheep.”

I want to examine this last part of the book of John for a couple of reasons. First we see how Peter is beginning to think in a more mature way. Second because we see one key life lesson from Peter. And thirdly this passage has some controversy attached to it.

There a few different theories about this particular passage28. Is Peter jealous of John, “the beloved disciple?” Is Peter having another foot-in-mouth moment by asking “What about him?” Do you love him more? Is he your favorite? Or is Peter genuinely concerned about what will happen to John? Jesus had just told Peter how he will die. Is Peter asking, “What about him?” How will he die? Or maybe Peter is still ignorant and thinking that John will be the one who will betray Jesus. “What about him?” Is he the one who will betray you? The latter theory is further by some scholars due to the fact that John was the only disciple not martyred.

They were good friends and both really close to Jesus. Maybe Peter simply cared about John. I personally think that How is he going to die? theory fits best. If this is the case, then we also see a new maturity level in Peter. He is slowly learning to think before saying something stupid. Nevertheless, if Peter hadn’t learned anything all this time around Jesus and this is a case of foot-in-the-mouth, we have an advantage to learn from him. Assuming that Peter is jealous and maybe even asking Jesus, what about him, is he your favorite? Let’s listen to what Jesus says, “what is that to you?" Do not be concerned about this!

The more I read the verses, the more I lean towards the second theory, because the full context of what Jesus says speaks to John “remaining.” Jesus says, “"If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?" The Greek word for remain is menō29; = continue, remain, abide….to continue living!

Study Questions/Homework:

Read Mark 14:27-31,66-72

How is this passage different from the ones in this lesson?

Does the fact that Peter’s behavior is predicted by Jesus make it less of a “foot-in-mouth” episode?

Read Jn 13: 1-17 – Wesley says this about what Peter says in verse nine: “How fain would man be wiser than God! Yet this was well meant, though ignorant earnestness.30”

Do you see the similarities when we compare this passage to the other times Peter speaks without thinking? He has passion and zeal. He is obedient, but he is ignorant.

A principle from an anonymous but somewhat famous quote, I take from Peter in this lesson: “A closed mouth gathers no feet.”


Lesson Two: “Cephas”, the Rock

Lesson Two: “Cephas”, the Rock

Last week we began studying Simon of Jonah. We learned a great deal about his biographical background, personality, and even his father. Today we are going to finish up the introductory section on Peter. We are going to evaluate his name. Not Simon, but the name Jesus gives him, Peter. First we are going to pick up where we left off last week, in Matthew 16. Simon Peter had made the good confession that Jesus is Christ, the Messiah. Jesus said “upon this rock I will build My church.” I left you with some questions and encouraged you to study this on your own. Has anyone come to a conclusion about what Jesus is talking about here? Is Jesus going to build the church on Peter? He is a key foundation to history?

[Discuss answers to this question and the questions from last night:

By what means was Peter able to make such confession? - divine testimony flowing from divinely given knowledge, it was faith and certainty. Peter knew Jesus was the Messiah!

Why do you think that Peter rebuked the Lord the way he did? - Peter did not understand the cross. He loved Jesus so much. He didn’t want him to die. He didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. Finally, it is good to point out, Jesus is using future tense here. He is not building; he has not already done this, but he WILL8. Is Peter the foundation to our church today? – No!

What is the significance of Jesus’ statement, what is the foundation of the church? – right. Jesus is saying all along that He is the Rock. He will die. He is the foundation to the church. ] Okay, good job. I am proud that many of you did your homework and have put a lot of thought into this foundation of the church, which is Jesus. We will come back to this passage as we further study Simon’s name, Peter.

[Open you Bible to Mark 3: 14-18]

“And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons. And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means, "Sons of Thunder"); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot; “

(Mar 3:14-18 NASB)

Remember in John 1:42 [Andrew] brought [Simon] to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter)9 for “Cephas10,” also means ‘hollow rock or stone’ the Greek is Κηφᾶς or Kēphas or Petros, which means “rock.” Peter was the rock not because of his strengths, but “in spite of his weaknesses11.”

Now let’s look at this in context to the rest of the verse. “"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church;” We have “Petros” for Peter, and for “this rock” there is actually a different Greek word, “petra.” "Petros” denotes a piece of a rock, a detached stone or boulder, in contrast to “petra”, a mass of rock12. Jesus is playing on words here. Simon was to be given a name that meant "rock," because he was to be a rock in a figurative sense, the foundation on which Jesus' church would be built13.

John Gill says that “rock, is meant, either the confession of faith made by Peter; not the act, nor form, but the matter of it, it containing the prime articles of Christianity14, and which are as immoveable as a rock…he goes on to say that “Christ is the rock.”

Julius Mantey confirms that Christ was the rock. Christ was (and still is the cornerstone.) Mantey shows us that in 1 Cor 10:4 and Eph 2:20, that Paul recognizes the connection. Mantey also points out that the Webster dictionary points defines ‘cornerstone’ literary as "the most basic element15." Christ is the most basic element to the Christian faith for the apostles and for us even now. Peter is not the foundation, Jesus is.

Jesus himself quotes Psalm 118:22 in Mark 12:10 "Have you not even read this Scripture: 'THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone;” Jesus had just told the parable of the tenants. His earthly message of this parable was himself. He is the cornerstone that the priests, scribes were rejecting. Jesus himself taught that he was the foundation to faith.

“Peter was only one of the builders in this sacred edifice. Jesus Christ did not say, on thee, Peter, will I build my Church… expression says, “upon that very rock”, επι ταυτη τη πετρα, to show that he neither addressed Peter, nor any other of the apostles16. In other words we need to examine the full phrase carefully, Jesus did not say I build the church on Peter, but rather Peter is a rock on the foundation, which is me.

Liberal scholars always have interesting feedback. They remind us to think critically and use reason in our faith. It is good to study their theories so we can challenge our faith and grow even deeper when we realize that in the end God got it right. The truth is we can stand firm in faith and reason and studying these types of things makes us better apologists. Of course we must be careful studying liberal theories and not get too caught up in the issues and totally lose track of our faith.

One liberal theory out there about the name Cephas, is from Bart Ehraman. Ehraman suggests that the Apostle Peter and Cephas are two separate people17. The evidence is sketchy, in my opinion but someone as intelligent as Ehraman pulls it off. Although the theory is not new and novel, Clement, Riddle and Goguel all have previously made this argument. Most modern New Testament scholars reject this theory.

Dale C. Allison Jr makes a strong case against Bart Ehrman’s suggestion that Cephas and Peter are not the same people by looking at Paul’s writings, especially Galatians 2 and the original Greek18 Gospel words for Peter, Cephas19. It is pretty safe to safe that we can have confidence in the fact that Peter and Cephas are one and the same. Let’s look at one more bible passage to get one last glimpse of Peter and his love and loyalty for the Lord. Turn in your Bible to John 21:15-19.

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs." He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." He *said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him, "Tend My sheep. "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!" (John 21:15-19 NASB)

Here we see that Peter is called by Jesus to be the leader of the disciples to “Shepherd My Sheep.” But more importantly, Jesus is restoring Peter’s heart20. This is the end of the book of John. Jesus had been resurrected and had appeared to many. In this story, after the disciples and Jesus eat some breakfast, the fish they just caught, Jesus talks to Peter one-on-one. When he says, “more than these?” scholars are still debating as to if Jesus is referring to the other disciples, the occupation of fishing, or something else. This story shows us a picture of God’s grace and restoration to Peter, even after he denies Jesus three times, he has a chance to tell Jesus three times that he loves him!

To finish up today’s lesson, let’s look at what works in the Bible that Peter is responsible for briefly. We will analyze these things in greater detail in our last lesson.

For sure Peter was involved in writing the letters, 1st Peter and 2nd Peter. There is some debate as to if Peter wrote them with his own hand or if he had the help of a writer we will examine this in a later lesson21. Interestingly enough, scholars have more confidence that Peter wrote 1st peter than any other book in the New Testament22.

Many scholars believe that Peter is the main source to Mark, when he wrote the Gospel of Mark. This makes sense because there are some stories in Mark that Mark personally could not have been a first-hand witness to where as Peter is mentioned in these stories. As we will see in another lesson, Peter has a good influence to Christianity in his writings. It is thought that John Mark, the author of the Gospel Mark was a spiritual disciple/son of Peter. (1 Peter 5:13) Thus Mark learned a lot from Peter and wrote the things down as Peter shared them. Something interesting to consider is that some Catholics believe that Peter was the first Pope, thereby lending legitimacy to the modern day papacy23.

Let’s reflect a bit about God in closing today’s lesson:

God chose to use an average fisherman, God is a God of Grace, God wants great fisher of men, God enabled Peter to speak boldly to thousands, preaching that worked great.

We should allow God and the Holy Spirit to use us to speak boldly the name of Jesus
God restored and forgave Peter. Jesus is the cornerstone, not Peter.

Study Questions:

How does one “catch men?” Compare fishing for fish with “fishing for men”… Is it possible for every disciple to fish for men? What would that look like?

Imagine what it must have felt like to have been restored by a resurrected Jesus, after sinning in denial three times. Take a few minuets to reflect on how God has forgiven all of your sins and restored you even after you knew you messed up big time.

Is Jesus the cornerstone in your faith right now? Do you need to get right with him?

What else can we learn about God through Peter’s life?


Lesson One: About Simon

Lesson One: About Simon

Good evening class. Tonight we are going to begin a new series on the life of Simon, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. We will make a lot of observations about Peter from the Bible. We will be focusing on the real life applications we can take from his life. Simon Peter was a very interesting man. He was very authentic in his faith. There is a lot we can learn about human character through Simon Peter.

In this series we will be looking deeply at the life of Simon Peter in the Gospels and in his own writings to the church. We will examine the human characters from his life and see what we can apply to our own lives. This series will require some deep thought. The next few weeks we will see Peter’s great qualities (of loyalty, vulnerability and leadership) and also his flaws (foot-in-mouth syndrome, speak-first, act-second mentality), but overall through the good and bad we will see his spiritual growth!

Just to give you a brief biographical background: Simon was a Galilean fisherman who was married () and lived in Capernaum (), although he was probably born in Bethsaida1 (). His father was named Jonah (or possibly John, we will look at this further later tonight, ). The Gospel of John reports that Andrew and Peter were disciples of John the Baptist before they joined Jesus. John also reports that Peter was introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew, who had already recognized Jesus to be the Messiah ().

[Please turn your Bible to , let’s read this passage:]
Again the next day John [The Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and *said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?" He *said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He *found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter). The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus *said to him, "Follow Me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.


Simon was one of Jesus’ closest followers. In verse 17, he is given a new name by Jesus. We will get into more details about this in our next lesson. We see though that Simon is called “Cephas” or Peter. The only other disciples with a nickname directly from Jesus are James and John. They are dubbed “sons of thunder.” (John is also known as the “beloved disciple.” .) In verse 37 we see that these three special disciples2 were the only ones allowed to come with Jesus when he went in Jairus’ house to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead. These three were also the only ones with Jesus at the transfiguration () and during Jesus’ final prayers in Gethsemane ().

Not only was Simon Peter in Jesus’ inner circle but it is thought that Jesus was the eldest of the twelve. Jesus counts on him, not Judas, to pay the temple tax for the two of them, even though Judas has the responsibility of holding the common purse (). Camille suggests that Peter pays this tax because he is more responsible than Judas, who is suppose to have the responsibility of the “accountant” for the disciples.3 But I take personally think there is a few other things going on here.

Let’s read this passage for ourselves and see what we glean:
When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?" He *said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?" When Peter said, "From strangers," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are exempt. "However, so that we do not offend them, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me."


Notice two things: First “the sons are exempt” and second “give it to them for you and me.” The only two who have to pay the tax is Jesus and Peter and because “the sons” (or children) are exempt from this temple tax, we learn that Peter is the eldest. We also learn that the other eleven disciples are teenagers or very young men! God uses the young! Also I think that Jesus is trying to make a point to Peter in this passage. We see nothing really about responsibility or of Judas.

The next four lessons we are going to learn a lot about Peter. Peter was one of my favorite New Testament characters. I can relate to his temperament and his flaws.

Jesus knew well aware of Peter’s impetuous, sanguine temperament. And through-out the Gospels, Jesus certainly uses Peter’s personality and temperament in actions as an example for others to learn from. We will be examining many episodes where Jesus teaches Peter through-out this series. Peter’s passion and loyalty leads him to attempt to walk on water, defend Jesus with a sword, and brings him to vulnerability with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

We will see how Peter is both a leader and a learner. He loves to talk but sometimes he doesn’t think before he speaks. He didn’t always understand every situation, or the significance of the situations. I love that Peter is teachable, obedient, faithful, simple, honest, and bold. In the end we see a lot of spiritual growth through-out his life. Peter was humbled by his own weaknesses in character. Through this we learn a lot about how to be humble, how to relate to Jesus, and about the grace of God.

Simon was involved in the Jewish religion and as a disciple of John the Baptist was on the look out for the Messiah. Simon and Andrew knew something was different about Jesus. They realized that Jesus was Lord and Christ. We see Simon Peter’s famous good confession of Jesus as Christ in Matthew:

[Open your Bibles to ]

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He *said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."


This passage there is a lot of great stuff! We see that Jesus is asking all of his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” But Peter is the first to speak up! And he gets it right this time! Another really neat feature is that Jesus calls him “Simon Barjona.”

And then after getting something right we see Simon Peter, getting something wrong and a classic case of his “foot-in-mouth syndrome” (more on that in a later lesson.)

Finally, we also see Jesus says “upon this rock I will build My church.” This is something worth further evaluation in our next lesson.

First though, let’s figure out Peter’s sir name. The Greek is Βαριωνᾶς or Bariōnas; of Ara4. Basically it is referring to Simon’s father or grandfather. He is the “son of Jonah,” Barjona is the equivalent to Bar-Jonah, a surname.

But there are a lot of different understandings or translations. Later we see in that that Simon is “son of John.” According to John Gill “some read it Bar Joanna, the same with John; but the common reading is best; Bar Jona signifies "the son of a dove", and Bar Joanna signifies "the son of one that is gracious 5”. Long story short, according to Gill, his father was a good man, “like a dove.” In , Simon is named “son of John.” Nothing further is known of this John, except the different forms of his name. Jonas may be a contraction for Joanes.6 Another theory is that Simon Peter is in the genealogy of . (or at the very least in a metaphoric sense) because Simon Peter Jesus three times and seeks forgiveness, as Jonah betrayed God and spent three days in the mouth of a fish. The evidence for these theories is inconclusive.

Ok guys today we have only touched the surface on Peter. We have examined who Simon Peter is. We will pick up next lesson with the continuation of the passage, as there is still a lot of questions about what Jesus is talking about here. I want you to come back next week after studying this passage further. See if you can come up with an understanding for says “upon this rock I will build My church.”

Study Questions:

By what means was Peter able to make such confession? Why do you think that Peter rebuked the Lord the way he did? Is Peter the foundation to our church today?