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1 & 2 Peter
Lesson 1: A Portrait of Peter
It is a scene many of us are very familiar with; however, this time, imagine yourself in Peter’s shoes: You are scared and alone as you warm yourself by the fire (John 18:18) reflecting on the events that had just taken place. Jesus, your teacher and closest companion, the one you knew to be the son of God (Mark 8:29), has just been arrested (John 18:12). In the garden just a short while ago, you were prepared for a fight, certain that this was the moment you had been waiting for, the moment that the Messiah was going to usher in His kingdom. Boldly you stepped forward, willing and expecting to give your life for your Master and His cause. You lashed out at none other than the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear (John 18:10). Then, unexpectedly and calmly, Jesus told you to put away your sword and went with the soldiers (John 18:11). Confused at the events that had just taken place, you followed closely behind (John 18:15) and now here you are, standing by the fire outside the court of the high priest, while Jesus is being questioned (John 18:15-16). You hear a girl beside you ask if you are a disciple of Jesus and you tell her you are not. Two more people ask if you were associated with Him and you turn your back on your dearest friend twice more (John 18:17-27). You immediately hear a rooster crow and realize that you have done the unthinkable (John 18:27), denied Christ Himself, just as He said you would (John 13:38). The reality of this sinks in and you begin to weep bitterly (Matt. 26:75)
This is the man that authored the letters we will be studying the next few weeks. He was fiercely loyal, headstrong, passionate, and sometimes missed the mark. For us to understand what Peter writes in his letters, we must be willing to see things from his perspective. As we take a deeper look into his life, don’t simply dwell on the facts about Peter; get to know him personally. Peter had some amazing moments of self-realization throughout his time with Jesus and beyond, each molding him into the man who was so convicted in the gospel message that he was willing to face imprisonment and possible death to share it with others.
Probably one of the most fascinating things to dwell on when you look at the life of Peter, is the fact that Jesus took a simple fisherman (Matt. 4:18) from Bethsaida (John 1:44) and shaped him into one of the most compelling speakers and writers the world has ever known. He was not an educated man (Acts 4:13), yet the Holy Spirit poured amazing wisdom and knowledge through him (Acts 4:8).
Peter had the amazing opportunity of experiencing Jesus’ teachings and miracles first hand.
- Matthew 8:14-17
- Mark 5:21-43
- Luke 5:1-11
Peter was a firsthand witness to these awe inspiring events! This caused him to be the first to make the bold confession that Jesus is “the Christ, Son of the living God.” (Mark 8:29) Jesus then gives Peter the “keys to the kingdom” (Matt. 16:19) and allows him to be the one to preach the first gospel sermon, (Acts 2:14-41) which opened the kingdom to the Jews. Later, when he baptizes Cornelius (Acts 10:17-29), he has the opportunity to do the same for the Gentiles.
Peter had an experience that very few people in scripture ever had. He heard the voice of God (Matt. 17:5).
Luke tells us in Acts 4:13 that Peter and John were speaking with confidence even though they were untrained men. Surely hearing the voice of God give approval to the Man you were following would have erased any possible doubts you may have had.
Peter had a boldness and loyalty in his faith that was to be admired. He didn’t hesitate to follow after Jesus, even if it meant getting a little wet (Matt. 14:22-33). As impressive as his confidence and faith were, Peter did have some faults and was rebuked by Paul and even Jesus Himself on occasion.
Often times we influence people without even knowing it. We must be very careful that our actions are not causing our brothers and sisters in Christ to stumble. Has there ever been a time when you unknowingly influenced someone in a negative way?
Even though Peter spent his time with the Savior Himself, he still struggled with thinking of plans from an earthly perspective instead of a godly perspective.
As we study through 1 & 2 Peter, keep in mind the things that Peter experienced and how they are affecting his writing. Many times the things Peter tells his audience to fix are the things that he struggled with himself. Remember that Peter was a man of extreme passion and fidelity, he had seen first-hand the miracles of Jesus and heard the voice of God with his own ears. While guided by the Holy Spirit in his writing, you can’t help but see how his experiences shaped the way he presents his material.
By Kristy Huntsman
Kristy is CFYC’s Finer Grounds Editor, a co-host of our podcast CFYC Espresso! and all-around right-hand-gal. She and her husband, Lance serve with the Southwest church of Christ in Ada, OK where Lance is the youth minister. Kristy is a stay-at-home-mom to their two daughters Taylor and Makayla.