PETER, THE APOSTLE
Though not educated, Simon Peter had natural leadership qualities, and Jesus used them for his mission.
Peter was not afraid of expressing his opinion by raising doubts to Jesus. He took initiative as a spokesperson for all the apostles.
Jesus had used Peter’s house during his ministry in Capernaum.
Peter openly expressed Jesus as the Son of the living God.
Jesus gave authority to Peter, saying, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:19).
Despite the warnings Peter had received from Jesus, he denied Jesus three times during the trial of Jesus. However, he had recovered from it through his genuine repentance.
Peter was the head of the college of apostles and thus the first pope.
Peter was crucified upside down upon his request that he was unworthy to die as his master.
The New Testament has Peter’s name and activities recorded more than any other apostle.
PETER, THE NAME MEANING
When Simon professed his faith in Jesus at Caesarea Philippi saying, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:16), Jesus changed his name Simon, meaning “God has heard,” to Peter (Rock). According to the Biblical concept, only a person who has authority could change the name of another person. The change of name showed a change in the identity or mission of the person. Among the apostles, only Peter had that privilege of Jesus changing the name.
Petra means rock. Since it is a feminine form, Jesus used Petros, a masculine version of rock for Peter. In Isaiah 51:1-2, Abraham, the father of faith, is called as rock. As all the believers of the Old Testament were based on the faith of Abraham, the New Testament period is based on the faith that Peter professed in Jesus. As the foster son of Joseph, a builder, Jesus used the example of rock as the firm foundation for building his church. When Jesus was speaking of Peter as a rock, they were standing on the rock base of Mount Hermon.
Like Jesus, who used the leadership qualities and openness of Peter, let us also encourage others in the church to use their talents for the church. Like Peter and other apostles, let us be firm in our faith in Jesus and build up our families and Christian communities based on stable belief.