Introduction: When you think about Peter the disciple, what comes to
mind? I think of a leader – or at least someone who gets mentioned
more than most of the other disciples. The pattern that emerges from
the stories about Peter is that he is the one who says, “Let’s do
this,” or “I can do this,” but then ends up coming up short. Maybe
you know a lot about what this feels like. At some point in Peter’s
life, after most of the stories we know about have take place, Peter
is referred to as a “pillar” in the early church. Galatians 2:9. What
an encouragement! Peter wrote two of the books of the New Testament,
and that is our study this quarter. Let’s start our study by diving
into the Bible and learning more about the man!
- Peter and the Nets
- Read Luke 5:1-3. Try to imagine what this scene looks
like. Fishermen are working washing their nets, while
people who want to hear Jesus teach are crowding around
Him. What does Jesus do?
- What does this tell you about whether Jesus is a
practical, common sense, man? (I think this is a
brilliant and practical idea.)
- Where is Peter when Jesus is in his boat teaching?
(He is in the boat listening. He is not washing the
- What does this tell you about Peter? That he
is lazy? That he selfishly leaves the work to
others? (Read Luke 10:39-42. Peter is doing the
“better” thing. I suspect that it might have
been a little work to keep the boat in
position. In addition, he seems to own the
boat, so perhaps he can tell others to wash the
- Read Luke 5:4-5. If you are a professional fisherman,
would you be inclined to let a preacher tell you how to
run your business? (Whether church administrators are
competent in business is a serious issue. If you look at
the retirement funds recommended by my church for its
employees, many of those funds are much more costly than
similar funds. Why is that? No doubt Peter thought, “What
does a preacher know about fishing?” Plus, Peter was
thinking that they would have to re-wash the nets.)
- Read Luke 5:6-7. No one is sick. No one is dying. No one
is obviously facing a financial crisis. Why would Jesus
perform this miracle? Is it payback for using Peter’s
- Read Luke 5:8-9. What impact does this miracle have on the
relationship between Jesus and Peter? (Peter realizes that
Jesus is something very special.)
- Think about this. What view of Jesus would cause a
man to say, Go away from me because I am a sinner?
(This sounds like a declaration that Jesus is the
Messiah. If not, it at least means Jesus is a very
- Read Luke 5:10. What do you conclude from Jesus
responding, “Don’t be afraid?” (This is the phrase we read
about when an angel or God appear to a human. See, e.g.
Genesis 15:1. Peter must have concluded that Jesus is the
- Read Luke 5:11. What can we now see was Jesus’ goal in
performing this miracle? (To select Peter (and James and
John)as His disciples.)
- Has Jesus performed a miracle in your life to guide
your service to Him?
- What does it say about Jesus’ relationship with you
that He performed a miracle to convince Peter to work
- Peter and the Question
- Read Matthew 16:13. Why do you think Jesus asked this
question of His disciples?
- Read Matthew 16:14. How would you feel about these answers
if you were Jesus?
- Read Matthew 16:15-16. How long has Peter held this
opinion? (This probably goes back to the fishing miracle.)
- Read Matthew 16:17-19. There is a lot of controversy over
what, exactly, Jesus means. If you were Peter, would you
consider this a positive response to your answer? (Of
course. Whether Jesus is saying that He is going to build
His Church on the belief that He is the Christ, the Son of
the Living God (which is what I think), or whether He is
blessing Peter with special authority, to Peter’s ears
this must sound good.)
- Read Matthew 16:20. Why would Jesus say this? If He is
concerned enough to ask “Who do people say the Son of Man
is?” ( Matthew 16:13), then why would He not want His
disciples to promote that message?
- Read Matthew 16:21. Do you think this has anything to do
with keeping the identity of Jesus a secret? (The timing
of these events is undoubtedly important. If the disciples
started telling people that Jesus was the Messiah, it
might cause problems prematurely.)
- Read Matthew 16:22. Why do you think that Peter took Jesus
aside to share this message? (He did not want to embarrass
Jesus in front of the disciples.)
- Read Matthew 16:23. Put yourself in Peter’s place. You
just (correctly) identified Jesus as the Christ, the Son
of the living God. How could God’s Son be killed?
- Worse, how can you be called “Satan” for saying that
God’s Son will not be killed? You are continuing to
say positive, encouraging things to Jesus! How is
that worthy of a terrible rebuke?
- Read Matthew 16:24-25, and re-read the last part of
Matthew 16:23. What is wrong with Peter’s attitude? What
is the “Satan” problem? (Jesus’ response gives us an
insight into Peter’s thinking. Peter thought that the Son
of God had come to take power over His nation. Peter was
given the keys allowing him to bind earth and heaven. How
could that end in torture and death? It would “never
happen.” Matthew 16:22.)
- Why couldn’t Jesus just say, “Wrong Peter,” why did
He have to call Peter “Satan?” Isn’t that a bit over
the top? Clearly, Peter is not Satan! (Re-read
Matthew 16:17. Who inspired Peter here? It was “my
Father in heaven.” Jesus speaks accurately when he
says, “Satan,” because it was Satan who inspired
Peter to say “this shall never happen.”)
- How is it that one minute the words of God come
out of Peter’s mouth, and the next minute the
words of Satan come out?
- What does this story teach us about Peter?
- What does this teach us about us? (We can get the
most important theological points right. At the same
time we can completely miss how this will work out
because of our selfish motives. We need to be alert
to guard against this.)
- Peter and the Water
- Read Matthew 14:23-28. If Peter really doubts that this
“ghost” is Jesus, why would he suggest this test? A ghost
could say, “Sure, come on out.”
- Read Luke 4:3. How is Peter’s challenge different
from Satan’s challenge for Jesus to perform a
miracle? Is Peter once again speaking for Satan?
(Peter has a sincere question. Peter’s requested
miracle did not benefit Jesus.)
- Read Matthew 14:29-31. How could Peter, when he was in the
boat, miss the fact that the wind was blowing? (When you
feel secure, the wind seems less dangerous.)
- Do you think Peter could swim? He is a fisherman!
What good thing do these verses reveal about Peter?
(He turned to Jesus for help, he did not try
swimming. His faith wavered, but his reliance on
Jesus did not.)
- Peter and Denial
- Jesus is arrested, and has begun His journey to execution.
Peter has the courage to follow Jesus. Read Luke 22:54-57.
How do you explain Peter saying that he does not know
- Re-read Matthew 16:21-22. What is happening in Peter’s
life? (Things are going all wrong. It is popularly
believed that Peter was the one who drew his sword to
defend Jesus at the time of His arrest. Luke 22:49-50.
Peter did not lack courage when things were going right,
he lacked courage when things were not going according to
- Is that also true for you?
- Friend, one of the great things about Jesus being our
great High Priest (Hebrews 7-9) is that He experienced
life here. The great thing about studying Peter’s books of
the Bible, is that we see ourselves in Peter. Will you
determine to faithfully study Peter’s inspired words this
- Next week: An Inheritance Incorruptible.