One could say his life was the greatest story of redemption ever told. In his days, men like him were known to be rough but manly, vulgar in language, and got tempered; and that was true of him.

But – his beginning was magical, at the least to say.   It was typical of fishermen to be sturdy, uneducated, and have great survival skills which were acquired by working hard and surfing the waters. All these attributes built him up to be a fine, goodly man we all know about. That same man is Peter in the Bible who name means “rock” or literally Petra.

Who was peter in the Bible?
Who is Peter in the Bible?

Who was Peter and why was he so important?

It was at Gennesaret it all began, a simple command, followed by a prompt response that raised a leader out of him.

Jesus had a large crowd pressing behind him, they were hungry for the word of God, and he needed a podium to stand on and teach. There were two ships, but he entered into one, as though calculated requesting the owner to move a bit away from the land into the waters.

I believe that was the moment of a turning point for our unlikely hero in this story. The moment Jesus was done teaching, he did the unthinkable as always; “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught”. Peter’s response at first, revealed his discouragement about their midnight toil to catch nothing. But, one thing stood out; when Jesus asked to use his boat, he didn’t shove this discouragement at him; he made himself available for God to use. 

5 lessons from the story of Peter in the Bible

Lesson one: Do not deny God of your service because of the present predicament surrounding you. To humans, not easy I must say; but try not to transfer aggression of your predicament to people; not everybody is Jesus who knows what you are going through. 

Peter was a sinful man who recognized his sinful state, it was immediately after the miracle at the sea; that he confessed his helplessness, left all, and followed God. This act was the beginning of greater things to come in his life, truly salvation is the tag of our identity in Christ. Although Peter’s journey with Jesus was filled with mistakes, God loved him wholeheartedly and kept using him for his Kingdom work. Why? He was a rough man on the outside, but soft, tender-hearted and easily corrected when he has done wrong. 

Peter, the first of Jesus' disciples

Lesson two: If we want to enjoy a lasting relationship with Jesus, it all starts with salvation. God’s blessing to a sinner in a sinful state is to drive them to a point of full surrender to him, so he can use them the more. 

Jesus Christ took time to teach Peter maturity; when his mother-in-law was sick; the coming of Jesus was like the visit of a friend to another friend’s house. He didn’t only go there to heal the sick, he went to solidify Peter’s faith for he was to be a cornerstone of the early church, I believe. 

Peter showed impatience and his rough nature when Jesus was to be arrested by cutting the ear of the soldier with a sword. One would have expected that the relationship of Peter with Jesus would have hidden some of these traits immediately, but that wasn’t the truth. Peter had to outgrow those traits, it wasn’t to be a magical experience of having it all erased as though he wasn’t human

Peter and Jesus while walking on the water

Lesson three: Being with Jesus does not warrant our past lives being erased, in fact, there are some traits that stay in us that will be useful for us in our ministry. Peter had always been a bold man, he was outspoken, this was helpful when the Holy Spirit later fell on him, and he preached to 3000 souls in the Gospel of Acts. 

The unwanted traits in Peter, like being impatient, rough, selfish, and more didn’t make Jesus decide to abandon him, he didn’t; but Christ groomed him. The more we stay with Jesus, the more His nature rubs on us. How did we know Peter outgrew these behaviors? Hear what he wrote in 1 Peter 2:2 (KJV) “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

Lesson four: Peter understood the importance of growth; therefore as believers, we should desire to grow. There are some traits you have to outgrow, mature in God just like Peter did. Although, Peter didn’t mature while Christ was still alive; it started fully when the Holy Ghost came on the disciples. You can’t change yourself by willpower alone, you need an external, supernatural force, and that is the Holy Spirit.

Jesus admonishing Peter to let out his net for a draught of fishes

Peter’s stumbling didn’t cancel his identity in Christ, for God had to step in reminding him where he started from. When coincidences happen in a biblical way, then we should take note of them.

When Jesus first called Peter, he used the mighty draught of fish to signify the meaning of his call. He wanted Peter to be a fisher of men and not fishes. The same thing occurred when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected. Peter had told the disciples, that he went a-fishing, and they did. Peter was naturally their spokesman, whatever he said, they followed. 

Jesus knew this, little wonder, he referred to Peter as the cornerstone, one which he would build his church upon. Peter was a naturally born leader, even though uneducated, he was bold. And Jesus knew that the error of one man could cause the stumbling and falling away of others, he had to build Peter up several times. 

The massage of Jesus to Peter from the first time encounter unto the last was the same “Follow Me” Jesus knew, if Peter could follow him, all others would do the same. 

Lesson five: We should never allow our standing for God to be linked to another person’s action. If we must stand, we should do this not because a pastor we respect is standing. It is important to know God for yourself. 

Also, quite a few of us are naturally born leaders, it is important to watch our actions, lest we be a stumbling block to others’ spiritual growth. The word of Jesus in coincidence to Peter is still much applicable to us today; “Follow Me”

We are to follow Christ, for even Peter did and he became one of the Bible’s unlikely heroes. 

A look at the life of Peter, we see a man unschooled, rough, tempered, and vulgar in nature become used by God. He wasn’t without any flaws, in fact, he was impatient, selfish, immature, and sometimes inconsistent; but God didn’t discard him. 

Peter, as a mighty witness of God
Who was Peter in the Bible?

According to ubdavid.org; I love his analogy of Peter written below. Why was Peter special?

1. His call. The first of the twelve

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) (Matt. 10:2)

2. His courage

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matt. 14:28)

3. His confession

“Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:15-16)

4. His impulsiveness

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (John 18:10)

5. His self-confidence

But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Mark 14:31)

6. His indifference

“Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?” (Mark 14:37)

7. His denial

But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about…” (Mark 14:68)

8. His repentance

Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him… And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:72)

Peter speaking boldly to people at pentecost
Peter boldly speaks of Jesus at Pentecost

How are we any different from Peter? Peter didn’t allow the weight of his mistakes to draw him away from God, I must say, Peter, longed for a relationship with God despite everything. He wanted to always nudge closer to him, no wonder Christ loved him, prayed for him, and taught him many things.

God made use of an unlikely hero, he could do the same with you. Anyways, what is your story?

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