Part 2

October 1, 2017


BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).


Now we will “meet” the apostles. PLEASE NOTE: This original doctrinal message was written by Pastor Jim Rickard and adapted for this Tree of Life. Additionally, much of the information included was taken by Pastor Rickard from various Biblical Dictionaries including, The Holman, Easton, Unger, Nelson, and Hastings. Likewise, several other reference books and encyclopedias were used including The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Who’s Who in Christian History, Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Foxes Book of Martyrs, etc.


In this study, we will not spend much time on Judas Iscariot but will learn about him in a future Teen Tree. The same goes for Paul who we will look at separately, in a future Tree of Life.


The first apostle we are going to look at is Simon – Peter. In the Greek, his name is PETROS, meaning, “a rock, stone, pebble, or a mass of rock detached from a larger rock.” His name was formerly Simon which means, “hearing.” There are actually four forms of Peter’s name in the New Testament: the Hebrew translated into Greek, “Simeon” to “Simon,” and the Aramaic translated into Greek, “Cephas” to “Petros.” Our Lord used the Aramaic name “Cephas.” He was called “Simon” throughout Jesus’ ministry, but came to be known as “Peter” more and more in the apostolic age.


Peter was the son of John: He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (JOH 1:42) He was the older brother of Andrew. His mother is not named in Scripture, but is traditionally known as Joanna. He was a native of Bethsaida, the whereabouts of which is difficult to place archaeologically, but believed to be on the northwestern coast of the Sea of Galilee. Philip was also from Bethsaida.


Peter and his brother Andrew had a fishing business centered in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee: Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. (MAT 4:18) They were partners of James and John: …and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” (LUKE 5:10)


Peter was married and had a home in Capernaum. In MARK 1:29-31, Jesus heals his mother-in-law: And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them. It’s possible that she was living with Peter. In fact, it is possible that his home became Jesus’ headquarters in Galilee. 1COR 9:5 says that Peter, along with the other married Apostles, often took his wife with him on his missionary journeys.


The New Testament tells us more about Peter than any other Apostle with the exception of Paul. Peter was a pioneer among the apostles and the early church. He broke ground which the church would later follow. Easton’s Bible Dictionary states: “Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out…The Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south. In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the judgment-hall. It betrayed his own nationality and that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost.” It’s clear in the Gospels that Peter has an inquisitive, bold, and boisterous nature, always seeming to be first to ask a question or make a statement, and usually “sticking his foot in his mouth,” until we see him after the Resurrection of our Lord.

Before becoming a disciple of Jesus, Peter and his brother Andrew had been influenced by the teaching of John the Baptist: Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?” He *said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (JOHN 1:35-42)

Andrew first brought him to Jesus as you see in vs. 40-42 above. Our Lord gathered His followers in two stages: first as disciples (learners or apprentices), and later as apostles. Peter was the first disciple to be called: And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (MARK 1:17-18) He was also the first to be named an apostle: And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons. And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter) (MARK 3:14-16)


Peter is credited with being a leader of the twelve disciples whom Jesus called. His name always occurs first in the lists of disciples (See MAT 10:2; MARK 3:16; LUKE 6:14). He frequently served as the spokesman for the disciples and was usually the one who raised the questions which they all seemed to be asking. Jesus often singled out Peter for teachings intended for the entire group of Disciples.


As a member of the inner circle, (Peter, James, and John), Peter was also present with Jesus at the raising of the synagogue ruler’s daughter, at the Transfiguration, and at the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane. He entered into the empty grave (see JOH 20:1-10) and saw the “linen clothes laid by themselves” (see Luke 24:9-12). Our Lord first revealed Himself first to Peter – before the rest of the Apostles.


Peter was the first to plunge into the water and swim toward the shore where the risen Jesus stood. As representative disciple, Peter frequently typified the disciple of “little faith.” His inconsistent behavior reached a climax with his infamous denial in MARK 14:66-72: As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest *came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and *said, “You also were with Jesus the Nazarene.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” And he went out onto the porch. The servant-girl saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, “This is one of them!” But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.” But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!” Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep. Peter was restored, however, by the resurrected Lord, to his position of prominence.


{to be continued}

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