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In search of the Apostles, Simon Peter part 2

Updated on September 16, 2016
lawrence01 profile image

Loving God and loving mankind is an important part of who I am, in these hubs we explore what it's like to really follow Jesus.

Simon Peter

Peter, Did he really make it all the way to Rome?
Peter, Did he really make it all the way to Rome? | Source

Peter was an amazing character

We finished the hub on Simon Peter with the name change that Jesus did on the man and how the name that we often use actually tells people more about us than we realize. Today we;re going to take a look at Peter 'The Apostle' and see if he lived up to the name that Jesus gave him?

From the last

We can pretty much tell his story up to the end of Acts Chapter 10, but we’re more interested in finding out what happened to Peter after Luke stopped writing about him and find out what happened to him at the end of his life.

At the beginning of the book of Acts Peter is the leader of the small band of followers of Jesus, it’s often him voicing the decision to have someone fill the role that Judas abandoned (Acts 1 verse 15-24) and it’s Peter to gets up to preach on the day of Pentecost.

In the early chapters of Acts Peter and John (but especially Peter) are in and out of prison like Yoyo’s and he just can’t be stopped from preaching!

Acts chapter 6 is crucial though as the church is growing and leadership is called for, Peter had been the ‘defacto’ leader up until that point, and probably had every right to expect to be appointed, but he and the other Apostles all turn the role down! Listen to what they say.

“It’s not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables, therefore choose from among you men full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom that we may appoint them over this business, but we’ll continue ourselves with prayer and ministry of the word” (Acts 6 verses 2-5)

I don’t know about you but there are few ministers that I imagine would even entertain the idea of handing over the running of their churches to others. Yet that’s exactly what the Apostles did! They handed leadership of the ‘flock’ over so that they could get on with the job Jesus gave them to do.

Up until this point, Peter’s been the main speaker, but from now on the narrative begins to shift. Peter still has a huge role to play in it and there are some things that he’s the first to do,

What Peter had, COURAGE

Peter may have been brash, or loud, and he may have tended to act before thinking, but there’s one thing that Peter had lots of and that’s courage! Remember the story of Peter walking on the water?

We often think of Peter’s failures, but there were eleven other followers of Jesus out on the lake that night! They were in the boat, but only Peter got to walk on water because only he had the courage for the privilege of doing so!

We often read the story that Jesus is telling Peter off for his lack of faith, but is he really? Or is he telling the others off instead? They stayed in the boat! Courage was something that Peter had lots of; it had also been his biggest weakness!

Here's the thing, Peter pushed the limit, he went right out 'on a limb' saying to Jesus "If it's really you then let me come out to you!" Jesus was fine with that, he let Peter come out to him when the others were too afraid to even try! Peter got to do something that no one in history has ever done since!

Maybe there's a lesson there, next time you're unsure try it and see what happens, you'll never know until you try, and if you don't try you'll always wonder "was that meant to be?"

Which is easier to live with, to have tried and it didn't pan out? Or not tried and never known?

Imagine you in Peter's position

Would you have stepped out on the water? (remember you don't know if it is Jesus out there!)

See results

Peter's journey

show route and directions
A markerCapernaum, Israel -
Capernaum, Israel
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Peter's hometown

B markerJerusalem Israel -
Jerusalem, Israel
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Peter preaches here

C markerCeaserea, Israel -
Caesarea, Israel
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Peter gets to preach to Cornelius

D markerAntioch, Turkey -
Antakya, 31001 Kuruyer/Antakya/Hatay, Turkey
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Peter spent some time here in the past, right next to Aleppo (where the fighting is going on at the moment)

E markerBabylon, Iraq -
Babylon Governorate, Iraq
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Peter may have gotten here, the biggest Jewish community outside Israel lived here in New Testament times

F markerCorinth. Greece -
Corinth 201 00, Greece
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Some second-century documents have Peter in Corinth for a while (maybe where the division between Peter and Paul alluded to in 1 Cor comes from)

G markerRome -
Rome, Italy
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Traditional site of his Martyrdom

Samaria

When the faith started to reach out into Samaria it was Peter and John who were sent by the church in Jerusalem to ‘check it out’ and begin the work among the Samaritans.

Jesus had made a few trips across Samaria but the Samaritans were hated by Jews because of differences that went back centuries and different ways they worshipped God, the Samaritans only really accepted the five books of Moses and certainly didn’t accept the Jerusalem Temple as the right place to worship God, yet the good news about Jesus was spreading among them and the believers in Jerusalem needed to know if God really was at work among them! Peter and John got the job.

Later on, Peter would be the first Jew to preach to non-Jews and see God transform lives right before his own eyes, he’d be the one that the later council in Jerusalem would address when James gives his verdict at the council of Jerusalem that non-Jews could come to faith in Jesus!

In the footsteps of St Peter part 1

In the footsteps of St Peter part 2

Peter 'the man'

There’s a lot of ways that Peter or ‘Simon Peter’ was just an average person, in many ways just like us. He hadn’t studied at any great ‘university’ (not like Paul) or even (up to the time Jesus called) been with any great religious teacher, he was just a guy ‘trying to earn an honest buck’ and I think that’s one of the great things about him, he’s just like us!

He had a ‘bit of a temper’ on him and there were times when he’d ‘lose the plot’ swinging for the servant of the high priest with a sword to protect Jesus, he was fiercely loyal, yet tried so hard not to upset people (Galatians 2 verse 1 where Paul says he had to confront Peter because Peter was trying so hard not to antagonize those who believed you could only be saved by living out the Mosaic Law!)

Some see that Peter’s preaching to Cornelius as causing problems among the Jewish believers to the point that it created unrest in the city that Herod responded to with Peter and James’ arrest which lead to James’ later execution. Herod had planned to execute Peter too, but the Holy Spirit had other ideas!

Healthy and Wealthy

I always think of the question "why was one rescued and another executed?" Why does one escape and another, for no seeming reason have the ‘unthinkable’ happen to them? Sorry, but I’ve got no real answers here! Just that sometimes in the greater scheme of things God seems to have it in a plan of some kind!

There’s a lot of talk in churches even today that “God wants you healthy and wealthy” but take a look at the New Testament church and that’s not what you see! Stephen executed, James executed, Peter on the run and those are just the ones we know about!

We’re not 100% sure where Peter went after Acts 12, possibly to Antioch as in what Paul says in Galatians 2, but he could also have travelled as far away as Babylon (1 Peter 5 verse 13) though some say that it’s just Peter’s way of talking about the city of Rome where he is at the time of writing!

Interesting to note that some of the ‘Christian families’ of modern day Northern Syria actually claim blood descent from the Apostle Peter as tradition has it that he moved his family to Antioch and the family stayed on for a while when he later moved to Rome.

Peter, who by reason of wicked jealousy, not only once or twice but frequently endured suffering and thus, bearing his witness, went to the glorious place which he merited (5:4). . . . To these men [Peter and Paul] who lived such holy lives there was joined a great multitude of the elect who by reason of rivalry were victims of many outrages and tortures and who became outstanding examples among us (6:1).

— 1st Clement circa 90 AD

Peter in Rome

There are actually a number of early documents that suggest that he did make it and that he was there around the time that Paul was in the city, most of them date from the late first or early second centuries.

What we do know is that by 50 AD there were so many Christians in Rome that the tension between them and the Jews spilled over into real violence that was so worrying that Emperor Claudius had both Christians and Jews exiled from the city, by 60 AD both were back in Rome and tension was brewing again, so much so that when Rome burned in 64 AD Emperor Nero had a ‘scapegoat’ that everyone was pretty willing to accept and persecution of the Christians broke out.

There’s a tradition that Peter was imprisoned once again and scheduled to be executed when something happened and he was able to escape.

Peter escapes and is running away when he sees a lone man carrying a cross heading to Rome, he runs over to the man to warn him only to realize that it’s Jesus!

“Master, what are you doing?” Peter almost pleads with Jesus.

“I’m going to Rome” Jesus replies.

“But why?” He asks, slightly dumbfounded, doesn’t Jesus know what’s happening to his followers there?
“To be crucified” Jesus replies, then he adds, “Because no one else will do it for me!”

Peter is totally stunned. He had the chance to get away, but Jesus is taking his place, he let Jesus down once, he sure isn’t going to do it again!

The legend says that Peter turned around and walked back to Rome; as soon as he was back at the prison he told his jailers that he wasn’t as good as his Lord and asks can they please crucify him upside down?

There’s no way to know if the story is true, but one thing it shows is the change in the man from the disciple who denied his Lord just before Calvary to the one who willingly gave his life for him some thirty years later.

History doesn’t tell us how big the church in Rome was, or how much of an impact it had on the city, but one curious fact that it does tell us is that by the end of the first century the church in Rome despite the persecution and hardships it was dealing with was caring for and feeding over six thousand widows and orphans on a daily basis and a large part of that was because of a big-hearted Galilean fisherman whom Jesus gave the nickname ‘Rocky’ to!

That's all for the moment

In some ways, we're only 'scratching the surface' with these hubs, the early followers of Jesus have so much to tell us about themselves and by extension about ourselves if we'll just take the time to listen to them!

There's so much more written about them that we could go on for months and months covering things, but that's not what I really want to do with the hubs. I want to 'take a peek' or get a 'written snapshot' of them and see what they're saying to us.

These two hubs about 'Simon Peter' were only a few 'snapshots' at the man and what he's meant to so many over the centuries, but I hope they're pictures you've enjoyed exploring.

Blessings

Lawrence

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    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Nell

      I agree. We read the book and often don't 'connect the dots' so they stay remote to us.

      I wanted to get away from that a little.

      Lawrence

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 10 months ago from England

      Its always interesting when I see a Bible character 'fleshed out' so to speak. otherwise they are just far away characters in 'The Book' so to speak! interesting stuff, nell

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Mel

      Glad I helped you see something new in the story.

      Peter had lots of faults, but lack of courage wasn't one of them! He got to do some amazing things simply because he had the 'balls' to take Jesus at his word and try!

      Peter also had the courage to say to the crippled man in Acts 'Silver and gold we don't have, but what we do have we give you" and the guy walked!

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 11 months ago

      Lawrence

      Great!

      I anxiously await your HUB re: "Paul and his impact on the early Church!"

      Blessings

      Norine

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Norine

      I had thought of doing a series on the 'covenants' in the scripture but thought it a bit too controversial (some are unconditional like God's covenant with Abraham and the new covenant we have through Jesus, but some are conditional on obedience like the Mosaic covenant)

      Having said that a look at Paul and his impact on the early church might be a good avenue, but first I want to look at the ones who actually 'walked and talked' with Jesus.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 11 months ago

      Mel: It sure is hard (in the flesh) to have enough "courage" to "get out of the boat!" Look what they think of me on HP!

      II Corinthians 3:5;12 "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of GOD. (v12) Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are VERY BOLD!"

      Blessings

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 11 months ago from San Diego California

      Great work as usual. "Rocky," indeed. You've got me looking at the walking on water story from a new angle, now. I've always focused on Peter's failure there but you are right, he was the only one with the balls to get out of the boat.

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 11 months ago

      Yes, you did a GREAT JOB of it! However, since you are the ONLY ONE I see "Searching the Scriptures to see if these things are so" (Acts 17:11), I was praying you would "Search the Scriptures" and write a HUB pertaining to "Salvation" under the NEW COVENANT where procedures ("Commands") are given AFTER "The Day of Pentecost!"

      I find MOST on HP are stuck half under OLD COVENANT LAWS and half under THE NEW COVENANT of "GRACE" but Scripture tells us we can't straddle the fence (Galatians 4)!

      They perceive that the HOLY SPIRIT is something that came back then and we ALL automatically have It although Scripture tells us to "SEEK" It (Matthew 6:33)! Romans 3:11 says "There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that "SEEKETH" after GOD." Therefore, can you "SEEK" by "Searching the Scriptures" for TRUTH in HIS WORD regarding "Salvation" and write a HUB?

      I PRAY that the LORD place this desire on your heart!

      Blessings

      Norine

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Norine

      Thanks for the comment, I'd agree with a lot of what you say, but what I was doing was trying to put myself in his 'shoes' and trying to think what he might have been thinking at the time.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Methinks there's a little bit of Simon Peter in every one of us!

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      I think that's what the Gospels are, little 'snapshots' of what Jesus and the disciples were like.

      Glad you're enjoying the series.

      Lawrence

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 11 months ago

      Lawrence

      Peter was human, as you and I, and his action was "in the Spirit of the Lord," which MOST don't comprehend "IF YOU DO IT FOR JESUS; HE'S OK WITH IT!"

      He didn't 'blow it,' but his action reflected how much he LOVED THE LORD by defending JESUS when he cut off the soldier's ear! His action may have "appeared" wrong 'in the sight of men,' but I'm so glad; GOD "looks at the heart" and not at the action; as with men!

      Yes; I enjoyed it thoroughly and pray that you READ 'past' the Day of Pentecost to find TRUTH in HIS WORD which is; we NOW live under the NEW COVENANT in which "GRACE" is NOW our "salvation" through our "FAITH" and NO MORE WORKS (Ephesians 2:8-9)!

      It time ALL move past OLD COVENANT THINKING and into THE NEW COVENANT (Galatians 4)!

      Blessings

      Norine

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Norine

      I'm the same in some ways, tending to 'engage mouth before putting brain into fear' but then again, Peter walked on water, none of the others did!

      I'm glad there was a disciple like Simon Peter, and one with the courage to even let the stories where he 'blew it' stay in the record.

      Glad you enjoyed it. There will be more following as part of the reason for writing them is to see what they mean for people today.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Sending out another "well done" Mr. Hebb. Lots of good information and challenges as well. Thank you, my friend!

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 11 months ago

      billybuc: "Ye thinks" - RIGHT!

      We ALL are "Changing from "glory to glory" (II Corinthians 3:18)!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 11 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Peter was, indeed, one of the more interesting characters in the Bible, a strong man and yet a man filled with frailties......like many of us, me thinks.

      bill

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 11 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very nicely done. I surely do like your "snapshots". It is good to read of these matters, and it is made pleasurable by your style. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Norine Williams 11 months ago

      Of all the apostles, Peter is the one my family says I remind them of! Brash!

      When I speak to an Atheist, I rebuke with WORD! When I speak to an unbeliever, I rebuke with WORD! If they speak harshly to me, I speak harshly to them; giving WORD! It may not "seem" right to man, but Thank GOD, HE "looks at the heart" (I Samuel 16:7)!

      I continuously pray as David, "LORD, create in me a "clean" heart, and renew a right spirit in me" (Psalms 51:10)!

      I am as the disciples in Luke 17:1-5 "Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, REBUKE HIM; and if he repent, forgive him. And if the trespass against thee seven times in a day, an seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, INCREASE OUR FAITH."

      As a human being, it's hard! Sometimes on HP "proclaimed" Christians infuriate me so, I have to "continuously" pray, ask forgiveness, and beg the Lord to "INCREASE MY FAITH!"

      It's "lonely" out here! I can relate to the Apostle Paul when he said in II Timothy 4:16 "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray GOD that it may not be laid to their charge."

      When I get in that mood (flesh), feeling sorry for myself saying "I don't have nobody but Jesus," I can hear a small voice inside of me saying "Nobody "BUT" Jesus?" Did you hear what you just said, "Nobody "BUT" - JESUS?" And Something tells me "That's all you need!"

      THANK YOU JESUS!

      I look forward to you completing your writings re: the disciples and hope and pray you continue reading the WORD thereafter to discover "It is "The Gospel of Christ" - "GRACE" - that now "saves us" under the New Covenant!

      Blessings