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LESSON 1 – LIFE OF PETER BIBLE STUDY
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LESSON 1 – LIFE OF PETER
PETER MEETS THE MASTER
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Events and emotions may inflame a man, and animate him to the writing of poetry or music, but God alone could inspire men to write the Bible. Some seem to think that the writers of the Bible were like inanimate (lifeless) machines in the hands of God, as a pen in the hand of a scribe, but this is not true. God not only used the hands of those men, but He also used their intellect, their natural talents, their educational attainments, their circumstances, their style and their words. That is why in reading we detect the style of John, or of Peter, or of Paul. In these meditations, we shall see how God used the circumstances in Peter’s life in giving to us His Holy Word through Peter’s two epistles.
Peter is an old man possibly over seventy years of age. He is now staying in the city of Babylon (1 Peter 5:13). He is far removed, both by time and distance from those scenes in which he took part during the lifetime of our blessed Lord Jesus. The very language that he uses at the opening of his epistles would carry Peter, through memory’s flight, back over the years until he stood again by the seaside, and sat with others upon the mountain slope. He would recall the words of the Master: “Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men” Those words had constrained him to forsake all and follow Jesus, and bound him as a willing slave to the chariot of the King of kings. This he confessed himself to be as he dictated, “Simon Peter, a servant [bond slave] and an apostle of Jesus Christ.”
Let us listen to the words of this aged apostle as he describes for us the glorious experience of the holy mount. He does not tell us of Moses. He does not tell us of Elias, ("Elias" is the translation in the 'King James' version of "Elijah"), wonderful as the sight of those glorified men had been, for the cloud that had overshadowed and carried them away had veiled forever every other element of attraction. We “were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory. This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard” (2 Peter 1:16-18). That voice still vibrated with its original power in his soul. He could still hear it as it spoke through the more sure word of prophecy, and the sounds of earth grew dim.
“THOU ART THE CHRIST” (Matthew 16:16)
The feet of this aged gentleman which so often grew weary, seemed light and quick as in thought with the little group he hurried along the roads which led northward through Palestine. Where was the Master leading them? At last they approached the town that bore the names of Caesar the Emperor and Philip the Tetrarch, (joint ruler), Caesarea Philippi - an ancient city of northern Palestine near Mount Hermon in present-day southwest Syria. Standing there, far away from Jerusalem and under the shadow of the shrine raised there to the heathen god Pan, he heard the questions:-
“Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” and “Whom do ye say that I am?” Did the old man hear again those words, “Thou art Peter [petros, a stone, and upon this rock [petra, a rock, your confession of Me] I will build My church.” Did a smile creep over his face as he remembered and dictated to Silvanus (god of woods and fields and flocks), “Ye ... as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.. . Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded . . . The stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner (1 Peter 2:5-8).
WITH CHRIST IN THE VESSEL (Mark 4:35-41)
Memory again spanned the intervening years, and in thought he again hears the wind whistling through the rigging of the little fishing vessel. Again he sees the boisterous waves filling the ship as it begins to sink. He remembers how they shook the Master and cried out, “Carest Thou not that we perish?” He thinks again of that command, “Be still,” and of the calm that followed he wrote, “Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you” (l Peter5:7).
SIFTED AS WHEAT (Luke 22:31-34)
Did a troubled look come over his face as he lived over again one of those bitter experiences? He hears with pain his own boastful words, “I am ready to go to prison and to death.” And he hears that Blessed One say, ‘Satan hath desired to have you [all] that he may sift you [all] as wheat, but I have prayed for thee [for thee, Peter, because you have endangered yourself through pride] .“ Remorse and sorrow must have filled his soul as he wrote, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
HUMBLED (John 13:6-17)
There was an upper room at Jerusalem. Peter sees the Master girded with a towel, washing his feet in a basin. He feels His tender touch and hears again His words of love: ‘I have given you an example ... the servant is not greater than his Lord.” and so with this picture of the past before his eyes, he dictated, “Ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and wear the servile apron of humility” (see 1 Peter 5:5). How could one be proud who has looked upon the divine example of perfect humility.
CALVARY (Luke 23)
The opening verse of 1 Peter 5 takes us to Calvary. There we stand with Peter and view the suffering Saviour. Peter wrote, “I ... who am a witness of the sufferings of Christ.” Can it be that after those tears of remorse and repentance he followed in the procession to Golgotha? Peter’s words suggest that he did.
THE RESURRECTION (John 20)
Peter could still see Mary Magdalene as she brought the message, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him.” And he could still hear her second message as she told of seeing the Lord and of His words, “I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” What a revelation that double title had been to his soul, God and Father. Throughout the many years that had intervened he had known the power of God and had enjoyed the love of the Father, so he broke forth in praise and wrote. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Olivet, Bethany - how far away they seemed. What changes had taken place since then. But though the Lord had changed positions, He was still the same. Did Peter again look steadfastly toward heaven as he wrote, “Jesus Christ . . is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him” (1 Peter 3:21, 22)?
“FEED MY SHEEP” (John 21:1517)
Simon Peter can picture that scene again when after the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, he had sat with Him and other disciples around a fire on the shore of the sea of Tiberius. Again he can hear the Saviours words, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?” Peter could still say as he said then, “Lord. Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.” Again, he heard those words, which had governed his life ever since that day: “Feed My sheep”; “Tend My lambs.” His life had been spent in that task and now as an old veteran he passed that word on to others, “Feed the flock of God which is among you” (1 Peter 5:2). And so through Peter that commission given to him by Christ has been passed on to everyone who would seek to shepherd the sheep of Christ’s pasture.
“WHEN THOU SHALT BE OLD” (John 21:18)
Peter remembered those other words the Lord spoke on that occasion. “When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” Peter knew that Jesus spoke showing by what death he should glorify God. Then it had seemed so far away, so indefinite, but it did not appear that way now. There always had been a certain amount of persecution, but recently the opposition had become more evident and stronger. Soon they might bind him; very soon they might stretch forth his hands. He sensed the nearness of it all and wrote, “Shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me” (2 Peter 1:14). There was no fear in his heart for the One who had given grace to live and labour would give grace to die, and Christ had inferred that by the violent death he would glorify God.
Through these deep impressions of the past Peter had learned to toil and trust, and from those experiences in early life he drew lessons not only for himself, but for us upon whom the end of the age has come, lessons concerning suffering, sacrifice, and service. Carried along by God the Holy Spirit, he wrote those lessons and upon them based his forceful exhortations. The ideas and the ideals, the language and the letter all live for they contain the very breath of God. They are the result of divine inspiration.
TEST - LESSON 1 – LIFE OF PETER
Write an X in front of your answer next to the TRUE and FALSE questions, and fill in the missing words in the spaces:
1. _ _ _ _ not, from _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ thou shalt _ _ _ _ _ men.
2. _ _ _ _ _ _ I lay in _ _ _ _ a chief _ _ _ _ _ _ _stone.
3. Peter had a preview of the coming kingdom ____TRUE or ____FALSE
4. Peter died while a very young man. ____TRUE or ____FALSE
5. Peter walked to Jesus on the water. ____TRUE or ____FALSE
6. The _ _ _ _ _ _ is not greater _ _ _ _ _ his _ _ _ _ _
7. Peter was the first of Jesus’ followers that confessed Him as the Son of God ____TRUE or ____FALSE
8. _ _ _ _ _ _ be the God and _ _ _ _ _ of our _ _ _ _ Jesus _ _ _ _
9. Peter boasted that he was willing to die for Jesus. ____TRUE or ____FALSE
10. Peter never witnessed the suffering of Christ ____TRUE or ____FALSE
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Created by Harold Smith
Updated June 2011 by Shelly Allen