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18 October 2006

Peter: On This Rock I Will Build My Church Part One, An Introduction

The Apostle Peter was a part of the Jewish community in the first century. His original name was Simeon (Acts 15.14, 2 Peter 1.1). He seemed to have most often used the Greek version of his name, Simon. Jesus renamed him "Peter" or "rock" in Greek. And for some reason only known to him, Paul preferred calling Peter "Cephas" which is the Aramaic transliterated form of the word "rock."

His father's name was Jonah (Matt 16.17) or John (John 1.42). Jonah was a fisherman. And by the tradition of the day, that meant his sons Peter and Andrew were fishermen too. They were from the city of Bethsaida (John 1.44), but later, when they met Jesus they were residing in Capernaum It is possible that they were partners in the fishing business with James and John, sons of Zebedee (Luke 5.10). (Mark 1.21, 29).

Peter was married. He and his wife owned a home in Capernaum. She was a believer and went along with Peter in his travels and ministry (1 Corinthians 9:5). I don't know which would have been harder for her, being married to Peter, going along with him wherever he went, or knowing that the Lord prophesied her husband's death. I can't imagine that they didn't have any children. Since having no birth control tends increase the probably of God blessing through children, it should be possible that there little "Simon Peters" running amuck in Capernaum, Jerusalem, and Rome.

He was marked as a Galilean by his accent (Matt. 27.73; Mark 14.70). Being from the South, I tend to hear that Galilean accent as a bit of a southern drawl. He's from a small town, and he's a fisherman, what else is needed for this picture other than a six-pack of cold ones and a lawn chair? That may be stretching it, but the elders and the scribes did refer to him as uneducated (which is, unfortunately, a label for the South). "13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus"(Acts 4:13 ESV). The word translated may mean illiterate, but I think that's highly unlikely. Luke didn't mention the elders handing Peter an ACT college entrance exam, but they just heard him speak. So there was a simplicity mixed with boldness and authority that impressed these elders. Let's see how Peter came to be that man.

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