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Sabbath: The Ministry of Peter — 18 Comments

  1. Perhaps we can understand Peter a little better if we remember his vigorous denial of Jesus and his subsequent anguish, and humiliation, followed by his empowerment by Jesus. There are three passages from the Gospels we should read as an introduction to this week's lessons:

    1. Mark 16:7 - Jesus issues a specific invitation to Peter
    2. Luke 24:12 - Peter sees the evidence of the resurrection and leaves the tomb wondering about it all.
    3. John 21 - Peter goes fishing and then has a discussion with Jesus about sheep.

    What can we learn from this introduction to Peter?

    • Maybe we should look back a little earlier in the life of Christ and the disciples to note how proud, impulsive and assertive Peter was. He put his foot in his mouth more than once, but he loved Jesus ardently. When the mob came to meet Jesus in the garden, Peter was ready to fight for Jesus.

      But then .. he denied that he even knew Jesus in the hour of His greatest need! Perhaps it was because he slept when Jesus told the disciples to pray with Him?

      Can we stop to imagine how utterly devastated Peter must have felt when Jesus looked at him in that courtyard after Peter had denied Him? Surely he must have felt that he had lost all credibility as a disciple of Jesus. After all, he had claimed not even to know him! And the other disciples likely found that out too. Peter must have felt like an outcast and utter failure. And yet, there was a glimmer of hope. When Jesus predicted Peter's denial, He had also said that he prayed for him and, "When you are converted, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:32)

      And then Jesus asked to women to tell the disciples and Peter about the resurrection. He signaled to Peter that he was still loved. And in John 21:15-17 Jesus gives Peter an opportunity to affirm his love for Jesus - three times, the very number of times Peter had denied Him. Then Jesus gave Him a commission to "feed" the babes in the faith as well as more seasoned followers. And Peter clearly rose to the challenge - no longer headstrong and proud, but strong in humility and dependence om Christ. Like Paul he could have said, "When I am weak, then I am strong."

      I think we may all need to learn the lesson of sensitivity from Jesus and the strength of humility and dependence on Christ from the converted Peter.

  2. Abraham lived in a tent moved place to place witnessing for the living God.
    Apostles moved from place to place preaching the gospel wherever they went.
    Advent MOVEMENT established and proclaimed the gospel across the globe.

    We are pilgrims on a journey toward heaven.
    While we live in this earthly tent, we groan with a feeling of oppression; it is not that we want to get rid of our earthly body, but that we want to have the heavenly one put on over us, so that what is mortal will be transformed by life.

  3. Peters conversion was a process of interaction with the Master. It was not a believe, repent and be baptized, rather a progression of experience, witness, trial and error, convinced, then converted, with room to grow, at the hand of the Holy Spirit and even Paul. What a wounderful sermon he gave we studied earlier.

  4. I believe that people in all walks of life, nations, tribes, etc. that have responded to the working of the Holy Spirit of God and have been truly "born again." They don't necessarily have a preacher to tell them about the Bible to learn the Character and law of God and abide by it--just like Christians do when we are converted by the Holy Spirit.

    The question to us is, "Am I truly converted by the Holy Spirit or am I just going through the motions of being a "church member" without being made like Christ while professing to be Christian?

    Am I like Christ (motivated by God's Love) with my spouse, in my dress, in my business, in my diet, in keeping the Sabbath, in spending money, in setting goals for my life, in my fellowship with others, in choosing close friends, in sexual desires, with my health practices, etc.

    Some of these things are so personal that we do not hear about them in church or Sabbath school but they are important in our development of Christian character. We need to be continually watching and praying that God would be involved in all we think, feel, and do in every issue as we walk with Him through all time.

    • I agree with what you are saying. These topics are so touchy we can not bring them up in Church. If we do people want to leave and go somewhere else. So much is coming into the church I'm wondering if we are any different than the other Churches. We are to be different, but yet we look just like them. I pray for conversion for our Churches.

  5. I have to comment on the idea that "Peter had a discussion with Jesus about sheep". I think it is clear from any translation that Jesus was ordering Peter (Kephas) to do something for all of Jesus' "sheep". "feed them, tend them, feed them" If we accept Jesus as our Divine Shepard, does not that acceptance make us his sheep? So Jesus commanded Peter (Kephas) to "feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep". Not just some of them, but "my sheep" which means all because Jesus did not say "some of my sheep until you die". If we believe that Jesus is True God and true Man, are we not required to believe that as God, Jesus can have only one, single, infinite, indivisible thought which is eternally in the present tense as Jesus knows everything about everything all at once, and therefore in His one, single thought, Jesus is eternally saying to Peter, Simon bar Jonah, (Kephas), "You are Kephas and upon this Kephas I will build my Church (Matthew 16:16-17) and Matthew 16:19, " I will give you the Keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" which again is giving Peter a commandment with authority to carry it out. The Apostles of course would recognize the words of Isaiah 22:22 where Isaiah tells Shebna, the master of the palace (the man who, in the Name of the King, acted with the full authority of the King, a super prime minister)your authority will be removed and the Keys of the House of David will be placed on the Shoulders of Eliakim, when he opens, no one will shut, and when he shuts, no one shall open. Does anyone see how these words of Jesus are not consistent with the catholic faith that Jesus established an office (Peter (Kephas) was the first office holder and this office has the full authority of Jesus, because Jesus gave the office such authority as is meant by the phrase, "the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven"?

    • If less than 10% of communication is carried by words, as some research suggests, much is left to our interpretation.

      You interpret Christ's words to Peter as an authoritative command. I interpret the same words as a gentle encouragement. The difference may hang on our concept of God: Do we see Him mainly as an authority figure and judge, or do we see Him as Eternal Father, Prince of Peace and Friend of Sinners, as well as Judge of the wicked.

      We also need to look at the larger context which words were said. From the context of the gospel narrative, I see Jesus treating Peter with love and compassion, and that leads me to think that His tone to Peter was gentle and encouraging rather than an authoritative command.

      • I do not disagree with your opinion that Jesus' TONE was gentle and encouraging. That may well be. But, the point I tried to make was that these words, taken together with Matt. 16:16-17, point to giving Peter (Kephas) authority to bind and loose concerning "feeding Jesus lambs and sheep" which includes all believers who accept Jesus as their LORD, their "Shepard" and therefore we "sheep" should accept the successor who holds the office that Peter was given with the responsibility to tend the sheep and feed them in matters of faith and morals.

        • Hi, Douglas, I might interject that since Peter was human and received received communication from God, Jesus was considering that this experience represents what God wants for all His children. This is the direct channel of communication between Divinity and humanity. The Holy Spirit makes this possible.

          I would suggest that this principal of "broadcast" communication between God and all His children is the "Rock" Jesus was referring to that His church is built on. Peter, then, was only a small piece of this "Rock" as his name represents.

          We (by the the work of the Holy Spirit in us), then, may be other "lively" stones that make up the church of God throughout the world and the universe.

          • Hi Donald, Matthew 16:16-20 says (in my bible), "Simon Peter said in reply, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God'. Jesus said to him in reply, 'Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are kephas, and upon this kephas I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bibd on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
            Jesus used an Aramaic word, "Kephas" which means large stone, twice. It was only when the Aramaic was translated to Greek, that the difference between petros and petras became a translational problem. one means small stone and is masculine, the other means large stone and is feminine. How best could the translators reconcile this problem? If they called Peter a large stone, would they not be calling him a women?
            I think the best and only real solution is to maintain the Aramaic word, "Kephas" in both spots and teach people that it means large stone, or rock, which it does.
            Do you agree that this would help people understand that Jesus used only one word, which means large rock, and that in doing so He changed Simon's name to Rock and gave Him an office that Had authority to loose and bind?

            Do you agree that the other apostles would have made the connection to Isaiah 22:15-22, especially 22, and the reference to the keys of the House of David that the prime minister had and used in the name of, and with the full authority of the king of Isreal? and the reference to"when he opens, no one will sghut, and when he shuts, no one will open?

            • Dear Douglas,
              Thank you for explaining the Roman Catholic rationale for apostolic succession based on the assumed pre-eminence of the Apostle Peter, assumed to be recorded in Matt 16:16-20. As you probably know, the Protestant understanding of this passage is quite different. We believe that the church of Christ is built on a faith like that which Peter professed when he said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

              As you must also have noticed, Peter not only professed faith, but Peter also allowed himself to be a channel for Satan's temptation of Christ who said to Peter shortly thereafter, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matt 16:23) So Jesus was apparently addressing Peter as "Satan." That is hardly a recognition of Peter's preeminence and foundation of the Christian church. Neither is Peter's vehement denial that he knew Christ at His trial. And recall that, even after Peter's conversion, the Apostle Paul had to rebuke him for his dissembling in front of his Jewish colleagues. No, Peter was no immovable Rock. Rather he was more like a small stone that could be moved by changing circumstances, as the Greek text of Matt 16:16-20 indicates.

              You assume that the gospel of Matthew was originally written in Aramaic, where you suggest such a distinction between immovable rock and rolling stone does not exist. Of course, this distinction is necessary to uphold the Roman Catholic interpretation which makes the current pope the successor of Peter and gives him god-like powers over the church. However, the great majority of ancient language experts and Bible scholars understand the Matthew was most likely written in common (koine) Greek. The book does not contain any of the indicators of translation from Aramaic that one would expect to find in such a translation and, of course, the most ancient manuscripts are in Greek and an older manuscript written in Aramaic is only assumed to exist by those who favor the Aramaic theory.

              Thus the Protestant interpretation is more in harmony with the biblical record. Namely:

              1. Jesus Christ built His church on faith in Him as the Messiah and the Son of the living God.
              2. Jesus Christ gave the body of believers, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the authority to make judgments that are ratified in heaven.
            • You wrote:

              Do you agree that the other apostles would have made the connection to Isaiah 22:15-22, especially 22, and the reference to the keys of the House of David that the prime minister had and used in the name of, and with the full authority of the king of Isreal? and the reference to"when he opens, no one will shut, and when he shuts, no one will open?

              We understand this to be a reference to Jesus Christ Himself. He was the one to whom "the keys of the house of David" were given. He is the only One who holds the keys to salvation, not the Roman pontiff. That interpretation is also in harmony with Christ building His church on faith in Him as Savior and the incarnate Son of the living God.

          • I am replying to Inge Anderson here because I cannot find the "reply" field after her post responding to my post. Whether or not there was n Aramaic bible that was translated into Greek is not my point. Please forgive me for not being clear in saying that when the words Jesus spoke in Aramaic were translated into Greek, the problem with "petros" and "petras" became evident since the masculine word in Greek means small stone, and therefore the translation of Kephas, the word everyone agrees Jesus did speak twice in Matt. 16:16, had to be translated in the masculine form and thereby came the change in meaning from what was spoken by Jesus in Aramaic.
            As to the Keys of the Kingdom belonging to Jesus, ABSOLUTELY. We agree. But, when Jesus said, "I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven" is there anyone who will claim Jesus did not have the authority to give Kephas these keys? Since Jesus had the Keys, could He give them to a person holding a special office such as the prime Minister was to the King in the old testament?

  6. The story of Peter’s conversion is deeply encouraging. Not only because he was full of human weakness and errors, but because Jesus used his unique qualities and talents just as He used Paul’s. Jesus accepts us and our individual talents and gifts are transformed. I love the fact that He then shines thru us for His own glory. I thank Him for that always.

  7. After the first 5 chapters of Acts, who can wonder about Peter's conversion?

    Yet, the long-standing prejudice of the Jews needed to be unlearned that the will of God for all sinners might be understood by the church. Jesus' meaning of “uttermost part of the earth” and “every creature” in His giving the gospel commission, was about to unfold to the early church in order for them to fulfill Christ's commission to “go ye into all the world”. The lesson for us might be that we ourselves need to have a right concept of God's will as expressed in His word if we are to advance in holiness and reach “the uttermost part of the earth” with the gospel of a Savior who takes away the sin of the world.

    That it is Peter who is directed first to bring the gospel to the gentiles should be no surprise considering the comments above. Perhaps the other apostles and many in the church still looked up to Peter in some ways? God always does what is best for all His people, and even the smallest need is not lost from God's full attention.

  8. When I read about the personality changes in both Peter and Paul I see great miracles! Like Peter, there are times when I too have denied my Savior but thank God for the Holy Spirit who helps all of us to see our faults and repent. Jesus, never gave up on Peter and was ever sensitive to his need of forgiveness. Now we see a converted Peter taking up his ministry by preaching boldly, going to the Gentiles and performing great miracles through his risen Lord. Jesus has also given us strength and boldness to carry out our individual ministry in our own corner of this world so let’s trust Him.

  9. I see Peter I see myself and all of us at the start of convertion that we are zealous and have every energy to please God. Basically we have not yet understood the power of God. Peter went through all this for God to glory Himself so we could learn the basis of salvation Act 4:12. We act as Peter did too, to the world boasting about keeping the law. What Peter and other disciples missed at first was God is the one who gives each and everyone the gift of repenting. Now Peter stood bold because of the experience he went through seeing all as Muareen had pointed out. How wonderfully God had worked in the life of Peter as He does in ours. Until we see other sinner as we were once like them. Not loving sin but Loving the person. Now Peter had seen the glory of God through him.


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