Saint Peter

Names and Biographical Information
– Simon was Peters original name
– Jesus gave him the name Cephas, meaning rock or stone
– In Greek and Latin, he is called Petros, which means a rock or stone
– The precise meaning of the Aramaic word is disputed, but it likely denotes a rough or tough character
– The combined name Simon Peter appears 19 times in the New Testament
– Peter was a Jewish fisherman from Bethsaida
– He was the son of a man named Jonah or John
– Peters mother-in-law was healed by Jesus in Capernaum, indicating that Peter was married or widowed
– Peter was one of the first disciples called by Jesus
– He became the first listed apostle ordained by Jesus in the early Church

Sources and Historical Significance
– The New Testament writings, including the Pauline Epistles, Petrine Epistles, Canonical Gospels, and Acts of the Apostles
– New Testament apocrypha attributed to Peter, such as the Gospel of Peter and the Acts of Peter
– Writing of the Apostolic Fathers and Church Fathers, such as Papias of Hierapolis and Pope Clement I
– Scholars agree that the New Testament writings have the most historical value
– Apocryphal works attributed to Peter have little historical value but may contain some kernel of truth
– Peter is considered one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ
– He was one of the first leaders of the early Christian Church
– Catholic and Orthodox tradition accredits Peter as the first bishop of Rome or pope
– According to Catholic teaching, Jesus promised Peter a special position in the Church
– Peter played a significant role in the spread of Christianity and the establishment of the Church in Rome and Antioch

Peter’s Role in Jesus’ Ministry
– Amazes Simon, James, and John by telling them to lower their nets and catch a huge number of fish
– Andrew and an unnamed disciple hear John the Baptist announce Jesus as the Lamb of God and follow Jesus
– Jesus walks on water, and Peter briefly walks on water but begins to sink
– Jesus washes his disciples’ feet, and Peter initially refuses but later asks for more than just his feet to be washed
– Peter cuts off the ear of the High Priest’s servant during Jesus’ arrest, and Jesus miraculously heals the ear

Peter’s Role in the Early Church
– Peter is regarded as the first leader of the early Church, despite denying Jesus three times during the crucifixion
– Peter’s denial is balanced by Jesus appearing to him first after the resurrection, restoring his position
– Peter’s leadership forms the basis of Apostolic succession and the institutional power of orthodoxy
– Peter is listed first among the Twelve Apostles in the Gospels and Acts, forming an informal triumvirate with James and John
– Peter often confesses his faith in Jesus as the Messiah and is depicted as the spokesman for the Apostles

Peter’s Denial of Jesus and Later Life
– Jesus predicts Peter’s denial three times before the cockcrow during the Last Supper
– First denial occurs when a servant girl recognizes Peter, and the rooster crows
– Second denial happens when Peter is away from the firelight, and a servant girl or man identifies him as a follower of Jesus
– Third denial occurs when Peter’s Galilean accent gives him away as a disciple of Jesus
– Jesus tells Peter that Satan desires to sift him as wheat but prays for his faith not to fail
– Peter had a mother-in-law who was healed by Jesus
– The Gospels do not provide information about Peter’s wife
– Clement of Alexandria claims Peter’s wife was executed for her faith, but details are lacking
– Another opinion suggests Peter was a widower when he met Jesus
– Peter is put into prison by Agrippa I but is rescued by an angel
– After his liberation, Peter leaves Jerusalem for another place
– Limited information is available about Peter’s subsequent activity
– Peter takes a missionary journey to Lydda, Joppa, and Caesarea
– Peter becomes instrumental in the decision to evangelize the GentilesSources: