There's Something About Peter

Tertullian (A.D. 155-250), the early Christian historian, wrote that “Peter endured a passion like that of the Lord.” Peter’s name is mentioned roughly 200 times in the New Testament. He began his vocational career as a small business owner along with his brother Andrew and their associates, James and John. His fishing enterprise was abruptly cut short, perhaps in a mid-career sort of crisis, when he met Jesus. That encounter changed everything for Peter.Peter became one of only a handful of important eyewitnesses to the life and legacy of Jesus of Nazareth. Not only did Peter’s passion change from fishing for food to shaping and discipling men and women, but Peter’s own life was transformed—changed from the inside out.  Perhaps this is precisely why Peter is so concerned with the inner-traits of a would-be leader and outlines for us the important inner-markers that are necessary to living successfully and finishing well. Peter knows about the work before the work.Luke, the medical doctor and 1st church historian, tells us that Peter was the leader, second to none, of the rapidly spreading church.  It was Peter, not Paul, who first realized that the message of Jesus was intended for people outside of the Jewish faith.[1] He was a persuasive preacher par excellence; a formidable thinker about life, faith, and leadership; and a passionate defender of the faith against the criticisms and persecution that threatened the expanding church. In the end, Peter was martyred for his participation in the greatest movement the world has ever known. According to legend, he was crucified upside down. The world’s final assessment of him was that he got it all backwards.On the practical side Peter was married and his wife even accompanied him on some of his journeys.[2] Peter was a family man caring for his mother-in-law[3] and brother Andrew. He knew well the attempts of seeking to balance a life with the pressures of a small business against the competing demands from a family. Peter’s proximity to Jesus is clearly seen as he was present during many of Jesus’ major miracles, including Jesus walking on water, and what is known as the Transfiguration. Peter was witness to Jesus’ remarkable ability to perform miracles thus foreshadowing the miracles he himself would be doing later as seen in the book of Acts. Luke tells us that Peter had such power that people scrambled to stand in his literal shadow as he walked by.[4] This kind of charisma, influence, and leadership make Peter worthy of our examination. It ought to tell us something.[1] See Acts 10.[2] I Cor. 9:5; I Peter 5:13[3] Mark 1:29[4] See Acts 5 for this story.From my latest book Inside Job: Doing The Work Within The Work (Due for release June, 2015 by InterVarsity Press)