Introduction: Last week we looked at Peter’s “early years” in the
ministry. His failure to understand the self-sacrificing nature of
the gospel work ahead of him was replaced with an understanding of
his true mission and the future glory which awaited him in heaven.
What can we learn from a mature Peter? How does a mature Christian
live? Or, is Peter not an example for us because he was given special
authority not available to us? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible
and find out!

  1. Pope Peter?

    1. Read Matthew 16:13-14. Many organizations hire a
      “clipping service” to collect all of the newspaper reports
      that mention them. They want to know how they are
      portrayed in the press. Is Jesus asking for a similar
      service from His disciples? What is Jesus’ motive for
      asking? (Jesus may have been curious about the public’s
      perception of Him, but what He was really looking for was
      how His disciples viewed Him.)

    2. Read Matthew 16:15-17. Last week we discussed Peter’s
      failure to take advice with the result that he had a wrong
      view of Jesus’ role on earth. (See Matthew 16:21-23.) Does
      Peter’s answer fit with his (then wrong) view? (Peter
      thought Jesus would establish a kingdom on earth and what
      Peter says here is compatible with that view.)

      1. Has Peter taken advice here? ( Matthew 16:17 says God
        revealed this to Peter. He was taking advice – at
        least at that moment.)

    3. Read Matthew 16:18. Who or what is this rock? (Peter’s
      name in Greek means rock or a stone. Jesus is saying “You
      are a rock (or a stone) and on this rock I will build my

      1. It seems that Jesus is literally referring to
        building His church on Peter. Is that what you think
        Jesus means? (Strong’s says the Greek for Peter means
        “a piece of rock” while the Greek for the word rock
        in this verse means “a mass of rock.”)

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 10:3-4. Who is the rock here?

      3. Ephesians 2:19-20. Who or what is the rock here?

      4. Read 1 Peter 2:7-8. Who or what is the rock here?

    4. Protestants argue that the rock of Matthew 16:18 is not
      Peter. Last week we studied some of Peter’s very “un-rock” like failures. However, since the text says that
      Jesus will build His church on this rock, would that not
      include Peter? (I think we are missing an important lesson
      when we totally dismiss Catholic claims that Peter is the
      rock and the “First Pope.” Ephesians 2:20 teaches us that
      the apostles and prophets were a “foundation” and Jesus is
      the Chief Cornerstone. This suggests that Jesus is the
      Rock, and the apostles (including Peter) are rocks in the
      foundation of the church. Peter’s confession of Jesus as
      God is also a rock – for this is the theological
      foundation of the church.)

      1. Do you have a gate at your home? Have you ever been
        attacked by a gate? What does Jesus mean in Matthew
        16:18 that Hell’s gates will not overcome the church?
        (I like this word picture. Gates don’t attack, they
        defend. This is a picture of the church taking on
        evil. Evil is on the defensive against

    5. Read Matthew 16:19. What do you get for having “rock”
      status? What kind of a “key” are you given? (You get the
      keys to heaven.)

      1. What does that mean? (I’m far from sure what all it
        means. However, when I’m given the keys to a car or
        to a house I am in charge. I am able to enter them
        and use them. I can let others in or keep others
        out. I think that at a minimum, those who acknowledge
        the divinity of Jesus are given access to heaven.
        Those who were apostles then, and who are church
        leaders now, are given special privileges and
        responsibilities to invite others into the Kingdom of

      2. When Jesus says that the apostles (and current church
        leaders?) get to “bind” and “loose,” things, what
        does He mean? (Read Acts 15:5-11. Here Peter says
        that the Gentile converts should not have to follow
        the law of Moses. If you continue by scanning Acts
        15:12-21 you will see that James delivered the
        judgment that only the matters specified in Acts
        15:20 would still be binding from the ceremonial law.
        Peter and the church are here “loosing” commands
        given to Moses by God.)

        1. We see in this event that James, not Peter,
          seems to hand down the final word. Read Matthew
          18:15-18. This is Jesus speaking to His
          disciples (and perhaps a listening crowd). What
          does this context suggest about binding and
          loosing? (It suggests this addresses disputes
          within the church.)

  2. Rock Peter

    1. Read Acts 2:1-4 and Acts 2:14-16. This describes the first
      day of Pentecost following Jesus’ resurrection. What
      significance does Pentecost have to the early church?
      (This is where Jews from ( Acts 2:5) “every nation under
      heaven” got to see the power of the Holy Spirit and hear
      that Jesus was the Messiah!)

      1. Who is the leader in this event? (Peter!)

    2. Read Acts 10:9-13 and Acts 10:16-18. What is the meaning
      of Peter’s vision? (If you do not know this story, read
      all of Acts 10. The meaning of the story is that Peter
      should not call Gentiles “unclean” and refuse to share the
      gospel with them. The specific application was to
      Cornelius and his representatives.)

      1. What does this event add to Peter’s resume? (Peter
        was first in preaching to the Jews world-wide at
        Pentecost. If Acts is written in chronological
        order, Peter is now the leader in sharing the gospel
        with the Gentiles. In Acts 15:7 Peter confirms this
        idea by saying the Gentiles heard the gospel “from my

    3. Read Acts 2:42-43. What new activity do we find among the
      apostles? (They performed “many wonders and miraculous

      1. Why was this power found just among the apostles, and
        not the members? Is this part of the “binding and
        loosing” authority?

    4. Read Acts 3:1-5. If you were this beggar, what would you

    5. Read Acts 3:6-8. What do we add to Peter’s resume now?
      ( Acts 2:43 tells us that many miracles were performed by
      the apostles, but Peter performs the first recorded

      1. Look again at Acts 3:6. Does Peter perform this
        miracle in the authority given to him? (No, he
        performs it in the name and power of Jesus.)

        1. What, exactly, does Peter have (verse 6 “but
          what I have I give to you”) which he gives to
          this crippled beggar?

        2. Is Peter sharing his “binding and loosing”
          power? (Read Mark 16:15-18. It would be easy to
          say that Peter (and the other apostles) had
          special power not available to the rest of the
          believers. But, Jesus’ words in Mark 16:17-18
          show that the power is available to all who
          believe. Peter is sharing with the beggar his
          faith and his access to the power of God.)

    6. Read Acts 5:15. Did this work? Read Acts 19:11-12. Did
      this work? (The first text does not say that this worked,
      but the second text tells us it did work. My guess is that
      if touching Paul’s handkerchief got you healed, Peter’s
      shadow should be enough.)

    7. As you consider all of these attributes about Peter, is it
      fair to call him a “rock”? What about the “First Pope?”

  3. Rocky Peter

    1. Read Galatians 2:8-10. How is Peter involved in the
      organization of the work of the early church? (They
      divided the work among the various people.)

    2. Read Galatians 2:11-13. Why did Peter change his

      1. How could a man who had the vision of the unclean
        animals do this? Why would he do it?

    3. Read Galatians 2:14-16. How are eating relationships part
      of the “truth of the gospel?” (The truth of the gospel is
      that the gospel is for all people. I believe Peter acted
      as he did to try to avoid controversy with the Jewish
      Christians who were sent by James.)

      1. What does this teach us about Peter the Rock? (Even
        church leaders can be wrong. Even those blessed by
        God to open new frontiers for the gospel can make

    1. Friend, have you made mistakes during your Christian life?
      Do you find, that even after you are a mature Christian,
      you still make them? Peter’s story is an encouragement to
      all sinners who want to follow their Lord. Peter’s
      miraculous work is an example to all who want to do great
      things for God.

  1. Next week: Women of Mission.