Discover the lessons that we must learn from the life of the Apostle Peter. Learn how God transformed his life, from being a fisherman to a fisher of men!
Peter is among the most popular biblical characters in the Bible. He is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Though his credentials later in his life are astoundingly impressive, he was a man full of mischief and failures before that.
While most people know him as Peter, he came with different names. His original name was Simon, which means “hearer.” Later, Jesus gave him the name Cephas which means “stone” in Aramaic. The name Peter is derived from the Latin word “petra” which also means little stone.
People know the man named Peter from the Bible but only a few really have a deeper understanding of what his life was all about. That’s why in this blog post, let me share with you the different lessons we can learn from the life of Peter.
A brief background of Peter’s life
We read the scripture that Peter was from his native town Bethsaida. He was a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. His father’s name was Jona. However, his mother was not mentioned. It was his younger brother Andrew who brought him to the Messiah.
When you look at Peter, there’s nothing special about his appearance. People even perceived Peter as unlearned and ignorant (Acts 4:13). Peter was married before he became an apostle.
Peter was popularly known as the disciple who denied Jesus (or Yahshua in Hebrew) more than once. Not only that, but Jesus has sternly corrected Peter more than any of the other disciples.
However, Peter’s conversion after Christ’s resurrection is among the most dramatic and powerful. On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave a moving and inspiring message. Along with the effort of the other Apostles and followers of Christ, the church exponentially grew day by day.
Now that we have a brief background of Peter’s life. It is time to know the different vital lessons from his life.
Are you ready?
Lesson no. 1: When Jesus calls, we need to answer immediately
Peter and most of the other apostles were fishermen. They have spent a significant amount of their time making a living. Thus, when Jesus called them, it was during their working hours. We read:
And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “FOLLOW ME, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Now, there’s a great and wonderful lesson that we should learn from this section of the book of Matthew.
First of all, Jesus is inviting us to FOLLOW HIM. If there’s one call in your life that you should answer seriously and sincerely, it would be Christ’s call to follow Him.
God has a purpose in your life. God led you exactly where you are right now. You wouldn’t be here reading this blog if you are not being called by God.
The question now is, “Will you answer God’s invitation?”
If yes, “When?”
Notice the response of the Apostle Peter and the rest of the group. They “IMMEDIATELY left their nets and FOLLOWED HIM.”
Did you see the sense of urgency here? Not only did they follow Christ, but they “left their nets,” signifying their complete surrender of their lives to God’s hands. They have left their source of income and their livelihood to become fishers of men.
They must now live a separate and holy life, dedicated to doing the will of God.
Why do we need to answer God’s call promptly and with a sense of urgency? Romans 13:11 tells us:
“And do this, knowing the time, that NOW it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.”
No one of us really knows where our life would end. It could be tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. Knowing this very fact of life, wouldn’t it be wise to focus on the one main goal of our life, which is to be part of God’s kingdom?
That’s why, when God calls us, we need to answer immediately. We must not delay any further. Let us live according to God’s will and purpose in our lives.
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Lesson no. 2: God wants to develop a close relationship with us
What’s the purpose of Jesus calling Peter? Is it to make him a slave? Is it to simply make him an instrument to fulfill a purpose? Obviously not.
When Jesus said, “Follow Me,” He was inviting Peter to live closer to Him. Jesus wanted Peter to get more acquainted with Him. He wanted to foster an intimate relationship and this would only be possible if Peter spends more time with Jesus.
In order to get closer to God and Jesus, you need to take the time and effort to build that relationship. It is not enough to just believe in God, but you must take the necessary steps to move closer to Him.
Remember, before you can be an effective preacher of the Gospel, you must know first God and Jesus. You can’t effectively share the Gospel if you, yourself, don’t know what it is all about.
By drawing close to God, you get more understanding and wisdom. Not only that, but a constant connection to God will help you be more effective in your Christian calling.
Lesson no. 3: God plays no favoritism
It is worth noting when Jesus called Peter, He was in a place that we least expected. We read:
“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen” (Matthew 4:18).
We see here that Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee to find His disciples. Jesus wasn’t searching among the chief priests, elders, leaders, kings, and other prominent men. He wasn’t looking in Herod’s court, palaces, and castles where He could have found the mighty and noble.
But He was on the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus called fishermen to be part of His inner circle. In the standards of men, Peter and the others are no one. But to Christ, they were someone. At that moment, Peter had no idea how he and his companions would eventually change the world!
We read in I Corinthians 1:26-28:
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen.”
Lesson no. 4: We need to be diligent in our work
I have mentioned before that Peter was a fisherman. He earned his living by catching fish and selling them. We can see that Peter is a man of business. He is employed, not someone who is irresponsible and unreliable.
Peter is diligent, hardworking, and industrious. If not, then Christ would not have chosen him. In fact, by the time Jesus called Peter, he was actually doing his work.
In the same way, Christians today are not to be lazy. Whenever as possible, we must not be a burden to others, but rather, through the fruits of our labor, we become a blessing to them.
The Apostle Paul later would write:
“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Timothy 5:8).
The life of a fisherman is difficult. They are always accustomed to the dangers of water. They are often wet, tired, and cold. As a laborious job, being a fisherman has prepared Peter to become a disciple of Christ who knew how to endure hardships.
Lesson no. 5: Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God
In one discussion of Jesus with the disciples, He asked a question in Matthew 16:13: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” The Apostles answered that some people say Jesus is John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or any of the other prophets.
However, Peter gave a powerful and remarkable answer. He said:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
In this point, Peter might not have been fully convinced with his answer as we see how weak his faith before his conversion. Nevertheless, Peter gave the right answer.
Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One who is sent to make salvation available to all mankind.
Peter did not stop there. He confessed that Jesus is the Son of the Living God – not just any dumb, lifeless, and created idol, but the LIVING, ALMIGHTY, and SUPREME GOD of the whole universe!
Peter’s statement elevated Christ’s status. He is not just any prophet of old. Jesus is greater than any who have lived and died on the face of the planet.
Why is it important to recognize Jesus’ divinity?
It is important because following Jesus demands that you accept His claim. That you accept the fact that He is a God in the flesh, that He is actually the very SON of God.
With Peter knowing the fact that Jesus is indeed the Son of the Living God, Jesus made a pronouncement:
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
If we know and accept Christ as our Savior, then we are BLESSED. When we seek a personal relationship with our Creator and Savior, we just made the initial steps toward the kingdom of God. For that, we are blessed. We are destined to live a blessed life.
Lesson no. 6: The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ
We need to realize that the Head of the church is Jesus Christ and not any human leader. Sometimes, we just lose focus on the real Leader of the church during trials and hardships. However, this must not be the case.
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:17-18).
Throughout the history of man, we have seen how the Church Jesus built was persecuted. Thousands of Christians have been persecuted and we see how that trend continues and will even intensify as we move towards last days. In spite of this, we have seen how the Church prevailed and have continued.
Satan might be powerful, but he is not as powerful as the Head of the Church. No matter what he does, God will always win and will never lose the battle. That’s why we can be confident that whatever age we might live, the Church of God will continue and persevere.
Lesson no. 7: We need to fully trust God’s will in our lives
There was one instance when Peter was strongly rebuked by Christ. It was the time when Jesus predicted His death and resurrection. In the mind of Peter, he can’t comprehend how their Master would suffer such horrible death. It is unimaginable for him to witness the death of his master.
Thus, we read in Matthew 16:22-23:
Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
In our Christian walk, there are times when we can’t understand the logic of God’s commands, will and purpose in our lives. Though we might not admit it, but we act as if we know better than God.
In this instance, Peter felt that Christ is making a mistake, to die for our sins. Peter thought that it is not the way things work.
He believed that there is a “better” way to save mankind.
For this, Peter received a stern rebuke from Jesus. Remember, earlier in this same chapter, Peter was called blessed. Now, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!”
How would have Peter felt when he heard these words? How quickly did he remember that God’s plan is bigger than anything that he can conceive?
For us, Christians, we need to fully trust God’s will in our lives. Yes, there are times when we just can’t understand why we are going through different problems in life. But we can have the confidence that God’s will is perfect, and if we want anything in this life, it should be His will.
Lesson no. 8: We must be willing to learn
Peter is among the disciples of Jesus Christ. A disciple came from the Greek word mathetes, which literally means a learner.
Jesus called Peter to be a disciple, to obtain necessary knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to be an effective preacher of the Gospel.
True to his calling, Peter lived up to be a disciple, a learner, a pupil of Jesus. We read from the Bible the different occasions where Peter showed his eagerness to learn.
“And Peter said to him, Lord, are these words said to us only, or to all men?” (Luke 12:41).
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times” (Matthew 18:21)?
“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable” (Matthew 15:15).
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled’” (Mark 13:3-4)?
Today, we are called to be disciples of Jesus. We are to be called LEARNERS. We must live a life of learning because learning God’s way is a life-long process.
We can’t possibly reach the point in our lives that we don’t have anything to learn anymore.
As Christians, we must have a teachable and humble attitude. Learning must happen each day and we can best do this through Bible study, attending church services, and reading more about God’s way of life.
Lesson no. 9: We must live by faith and not by sight
Perhaps the most well-known story of Peter is when he tried to walk on water to be with Jesus. The Disciples of Christ are on a boat, “tossed about by the waves, because the wind was blowing against it” (Matthew 14:24).
All of a sudden, they saw Christ not inside the boat, but outside the boat, WALKING on water!
At first, the disciples thought that they have seen a spirit. However, Jesus revealed Himself and said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
We read the rest of the story:
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
And when they were come in the ship, the wind ceased.
Peter is a man of courage. It is due to his courage that he always seemed to be the speaker of the disciples. However, sometimes, the same courage puts him in trouble.
He wanted to come to Jesus, something that we also must desire. However, living the Christian life is not always smooth sailing or a life without trouble. It is expected that we will face a lot of troubles, challenges, and problems along the way.
At first, Peter was able to walk on water, an amazing feat that we might have also experienced spiritually when we first decided to follow Christ.
However, Peter’s attention was diverted to the boisterous wind. In the same way, our focus might also be diverted from Christ to the storms of life. Problems are a normal part of life. But when we begin to be afraid, just like Peter, we begin to sink.
Peter walked by sight, instead of walking by faith. We must remember that the things that we don’t see are MORE powerful than the things that we see. In this life, we need to realize that to see is not to believe, but to believe is to see.
Walking by faith means that no matter what happens in this life, we must never lose our faith. Though we might lose our house, the respect and love of others, the recognition of other people, and even our life, we MUST not lose our faith.
Lesson 10: Our repentance should come with action
Peter is known to be the disciple who denied Jesus three times. His betrayal of Jesus is so serious that it was recorded in all four Gospels.
When Jesus predicted His death, Peter said, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble” (Matthew 26:23). Yet, when the push came to shove, Peter denied Jesus not just once or twice, but thrice!
After Peter realized how he Betrayed his Master, “He went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75).
There’s no doubt: Peter felt remorseful. He was sorrowful. He repented.
But we know that’s not enough.
Judas also betrayed Jesus Christ. Both Peter and Judas felt sorry for their mistake. But what was the difference between two? Peter changed. Judas hanged himself.
Now, that’s a powerful illustration of repentance.
We can all feel remorseful, regret our actions, and weep all we want. But if our feeling sorry does not change our way of thinking and affect our lives, then that is useless.
Notice how the Apostle Paul described what true repentance is:
“Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a GODLY MANNER, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces DEATH.
For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication!
In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (II Corinthians 7:9-11).
In short, repentance is more than just being sorry, but it is the process of asking for forgiveness and making a commitment to turning away from your sin.
And that’s what Peter did.
These are some of the best lessons we learn from the life of Peter.
As we can see, Peter isn’t perfect, but his life is a great source of lessons that we must apply in our daily lives.
He committed a lot of mistakes when he was with the Christ and certainly, he still made mistakes after the death of his Master. However, as we can see, in spite of these mistakes, God has used Peter in so many powerful ways.
If God can use Peter, He can also use us.
So, I hope you learned a lot of things today and if this blog has blessed you in any way, please share its message with your friends and family.
Do you have anything to add to these powerful lessons in Peter’s life? Please leave a comment below. I love to hear your thoughts.
Until He comes,