A Brief Chapter Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Note: You can access this entire chapter online (PDF) here.
Peter’s parents apparently gave him the Hebrew name “Simeon” or “Simon.” He grew up in an area with a mix of Jews and Gentiles, where both Aramaic and Greek were spoken. He was raised in a fishing family. Jesus gave him the Aramaic name “Cephas” (“Peter” in Greek) which simply means “rock.”
Mark shows Peter’s failures more than the other Gospels, but this is true of Mark’s presentation of other disciples as well. Matthew shows Peter acting frequently as a spokesperson for the disciples. Luke does not highlight the failures as much as Mark, and he also presents Peter in his changing and maturing role from the Gospel to Acts. Despite the diversity, the picture of Peter that emerges from the Gospels is consistent, and there is no doubt that he figured prominently amongst the disciples.
Peter is seen to be at both his best and his worst during the passion and resurrection. Peter vacillated between bravado, bravery, fear, and failure. He denied knowing the Lord. More important than his own strength was the forgiveness and empowering of the Lord. The Gospels—particularly Matthew—treat Peter’s original confession that Jesus is the Christ as a pivotal moment. Although Peter recognized that Jesus was the Messiah, his understanding of Messiahship was very inadequate. Even still, Jesus says that Peter is the rock on which the church will be built (see the first half of Acts for how this occurred). This saying does not establish any kind of Roman Catholic papacy or authority. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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GREAT LEADERS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, edited by John D. Woodbridge