The Apostle Peter, often known as Saint Peter, was the most prominent disciple of Jesus Christ. During his life, he followed Christ with very much devotion, and truly believed in his mission and purpose. Because of his devotion, he was chosen by Jesus to become the first Pope, and to take control of the Christian church. Peter was the son of Jona and he had a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus. His native town was Bethsaida, on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee. He was trained in the occupation of a fisherman. His father died when he was still a young boy, causing him to have to be brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome with his younger brother. Peter and his brother enjoyed all the advantages of religious training, and were instructed early with an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. Throughout this time, Peter was not called Peter at all, but in fact, Simon. The Twelve Apostles were men that were chosen out of ordinary people who had ordinary occupations. Peter was a fisherman, and was led to Jesus by his brother, Andrew. The Scriptures state: “And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become the fishers of men.”” Mark 1:16-17At the time, being a fisherman was a very common practice. It was the way many people earned their living. In this passage, Peter, at the time Simon, and his brother Andrew were fishing, when Jesus came to them and asked them to become apostles of his. This was the calling of Peter to Jesus. It shows that Jesus honored the poor and humble of society just as much as the rich, if not more so. It gave the lower classes of society something to identify with in that the greatest men of religion were from the lower classes.
Once Simon became an apostle for Jesus, his name was changed to what we now no him today, Peter. Jesus told Simon:”And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”” Matthew 16: 17-18Peter means “rock” in Greek, and this means that Jesus wanted his church to be built on a solid foundation, and that he wanted Peter to be deeply entrenched in the church. Jesus renamed Simon, Peter, to express his belief that Peter would be very important in the Christian church. On almost all of the lists of the apostles, Peter in placed at the head of the list because he is the first to be called. He had an impulsive devotion to Jesus, and this is portrayed in his deep commitment and the constant act of being the spokesman for the apostles. He is often the representative of the entire Twelve Apostles. Because of his deep commitment, Jesus became a very good friend with Peter, and the two developed a close relationship. Jesus also entrusted Peter with the control over the Christian church when Jesus died. This demonstrated even more the belief in one another.
After Christ’s Ascension, Peter becomes the undisputed leader of the church. He takes over in Jesus Christ’s mission and ideologies, and begins to preach the ideas of faith to the communities. He becomes very powerful and influential in religious communities. To the Christians, he became the principal preacher of Christianity. He was also the so-called “peace-keeper” between Jews and Christians, who were beginning to find conflict with each other. He also became the spokesman before Jewish authorities. Peter became a very influential and prominent figure in religious life. Peter spent the last years of his life in Rome, where the first of the two epistles written was ascribed to him. Peter died sometime between 60 AD and 100 AD. He was then buried on the Vatican Hill. Above his grave, the great piece of architecture, the Basilica of Saint Peter, was built to show respect to one of the greatest apostles. The Epistles of Saint Peter were letters sent in the name of the apostle. Although the Epistles of Saint Peter were originally thought to be written by Peter, they were not. They were written many years apart from each other, and it would be ridiculous to believe that Peter wrote both the epistles. It is not well known, however, that Peter did not write the epistles, and he is often credited with the scribing of these documents.
The Apostle Peter is very important to the mission of Jesus. Historically, he was entrusted with the charge of the Christian church, which is now one of the major religions of our world. Peter helped to create peace between the Jews and Christians, and became a very important social figure, culturally. Religiously, the calling of Peter by Jesus also helped the lower classes of society connect with the religion because the Twelve Apostles, the disciples of Jesus, were chosen from the common people, not the rich. The Apostle Peter had a deep commitment towards his faith, and was one of the most prominent disciple of Jesus Christ.
BibliographyJD Douglas, ed. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (Sydney, Australia: Tyndale House Publishers, 1980) p. 1200-1202New Catholic Encyclopedia. (Washington DC: Catholic University of America, 1981) p. 200-205Zanzig, Thomas. Jesus of History, Christ of Faith. (Winona, Minnesota: Christian Brothers Publications, 1992) p. 115