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!

  1. Peter and the Nets

    1. 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?

      1. What does this tell you about whether Jesus is a
        practical, common sense, man? (I think this is a
        brilliant and practical idea.)

      2. Where is Peter when Jesus is in his boat teaching?
        (He is in the boat listening. He is not washing the

        1. 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

    2. 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.)

    3. 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

    4. 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.)

      1. 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
        holy person.)

    5. 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

    6. 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.)

      1. Has Jesus performed a miracle in your life to guide
        your service to Him?

      2. What does it say about Jesus’ relationship with you
        that He performed a miracle to convince Peter to work
        for Him?

  2. Peter and the Question

    1. Read Matthew 16:13. Why do you think Jesus asked this
      question of His disciples?

    2. Read Matthew 16:14. How would you feel about these answers
      if you were Jesus?

    3. Read Matthew 16:15-16. How long has Peter held this
      opinion? (This probably goes back to the fishing miracle.)

    4. 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.)

    5. 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?

    6. 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.)

    7. 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.)

    8. 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?

      1. 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?

    9. 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.)

      1. 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.”)

        1. 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?

    10. What does this story teach us about Peter?

      1. 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.)

  3. Peter and the Water

    1. 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.”

      1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

      1. 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.)

  4. Peter and Denial

    1. 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

    2. 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
      his expectations.)

      1. Is that also true for you?

    3. 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

  5. Next week: An Inheritance Incorruptible.