Meeting the Apostle Peter

Meeting the Apostle Peter May 1, 2024

We’ve all heard of the Twelve Apostles: (Simon) Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Jude, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. We hear about a few of these men frequently, and almost never for the others. When it comes to these twelve, we know they walked with Jesus, but what did they do after Christ’s resurrection?

The ministry of the original twelve apostles set important foundations for the work of the church in modern days. Where they went, what they did, and how they advanced the church was both anointed and strategic for the work at hand. Learning about these deeds teaches us not just about the essential nature of apostles, but also the earliest days of church history.

Over several weeks we will explore the histories of these first church leaders. First up: the Apostle Peter.

Peter the Apostle, Giuseppe Nogari, pubic domain. WIkimedia Commons.

Who was (Simon) Peter?

Simon Peter, also known as Simon bar Jonah (Simon son of Jonah or John) was a fisherman in the first century. He was born in Bethsaida (John 1:44). The New Testament indicates he was married, as Jesus healed his mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:29-31, Luke 4:38-39). Some believed he and his wife lived with her in his own home in Capernaum. Another apostle, Andrew, was his brother (Matthew 4:18–19, Mark 1:16–17). While watching them fish, Jesus told them to come, as He would teach them how to be fishers of men. Later, Jesus teaches from Peter’s fishing boat (Luke 5:3).

Outside of these few details, we don’t know much about Peter’s life. Some traditions say he had a daughter named Petronilla, but such is disputed. Within the tradition, he healed her of palsy. Likewise, there are also traditions that state Peter’s wife was martyred shortly before he was, dying under the work of the Emperor Nero. Others say Peter was a widower, although this isn’t as widely accepted.

Peter’s walk with Jesus

Peter was one of the first apostles to follow Jesus. We find stories throughout the New Testament that specifically involve Peter’s walk with the Lord. Some of the highlights include:

  • Confession of Christ: Peter was the first of the twelve to confess Jesus as both Messiah (Christ) and the Son of God. As a result, Jesus promised to build the church on this faith. His name was changed from Simon to Peter, as Peter means ‘rock.’ (Matthew 16:13-20)
  • Walking on water: During a violent storm, the disciples were afraid the weather would capsize their boat. In this state, they saw Jesus walking on water. Jesus called out to Peter, who walked across the water to Him…right up until he saw the storm around him. It was Peter who had the faith to get out of the boat, walk to Jesus, and take that risk while the others sat still. (Matthew 14:22-36)
  • The Transfiguration: Peter, James, and John were privileged to see the transfiguration of Jesus. (Matthew 17:1-13)
  • The Last Supper: There are a few instances where Peter meant well, but he didn’t understand what he was saying. These stories offer reminders that God loves us despite our all-too-human moments, and that grace transcends our foibles. The Last Supper was one of those times: Peter insists Jesus will never wash his feet, only to turn around and ask that he washes his hands and head, too! (John 13:2-10)
  • In the garden: When Jesus was arrested, it was Peter who cut off the high priest servant’s ear. (John 18:10)
  • At the crucifixion: Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:58-75, Mark 14:54-72, Luke 22:54-62, John 18:15-27). This lesson teaches us not to esteem ourselves too highly. It’s easy to think we won’t do something, but then that becomes the very thing we do.

Peter after the resurrection

Peter was one of the first apostles to witness Christ resurrected. Not long after, Peter is back fishing, working all night long. After Jesus appears to him and the others, He reinstates His call: to feed Christ’s sheep (John 21:15-19). Peter is also main figure in the first part of the book of Acts. His discourse on Pentecost was a miraculous testimony to the gift of interpretation of tongues. Through preaching, miracles and healings, he worked in cooperation with others to build the church. He is also the author of the letters of 1 and 2 Peter.

Later accounts

The Apostle Peter traveled throughout Palestine and Asia Minor, in areas such as Antioch, Syria, Lebanon, and Corinth. Eventually, he traveled to Rome, where he worked in church establishment. Eventually, tradition holds he was martyred under Nero’s persecution around 64 AD. Because he did not want to distract from the Savior, Peter was crucified upside down.

There are a number of apocryphal works about the Apostle Peter, including:

Most agree these works weren’t written by Peter himself, and contain inaccuracies. Regardless, some likely offer historical value.


The Apostle Peter’s life shows us the importance of faith. Even when we falter, the grace of God carries us. God expects we will be human, mess up, miss the mark, and fail to examine ourselves accurately. Regardless, God can still use any life that is set on Him.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5, NIV)

About Lee Ann B. Marino
Dr. Lee Ann B. Marino, Ph.D., D.Min., D.D. (”The Spitfire”) is “everyone’s favorite theologian” leading Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z as apostle of Spitfire Apostolic Ministries. Her work encompasses study and instruction on leadership training and development, typology, Pneumatology, conceptual theology, Ephesians 4:11 ministry, and apostolic theology. She is author of over thirty-five books, host of the top twenty percentile podcast Kingdom Now, and serves as founder and overseer of Sanctuary International Fellowship Tabernacle - SIFT and Chancellor of Apostolic University. Dr. Marino has over twenty-five years of experience in ministry, leadership, counseling, mentoring, education, and business. You can read more about the author here.

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