SIMON PETER IN LUKE
Luke had great admiration for Simon Peter. In addition to a Gospel to the Gentiles, he singled out Peter and Paul in the Acts of the Apostles. Luke was a Gentile, a physician, a companion of Paul, Barnabas, Mark and Silas and a friend of all the apostles and first leaders of Jesus’ followers. He was a skilful writer and he focused on accuracy and details. To avoid any repercussions, Luke wrote to one called, “most excellent Theophilus.” It could have been a person whose identity was undisclosed, but it is equally likely that Luke had in mind all the dedicated friends (philus) of the Son of God (Lk. 1:1-4). There were four major reasons why Peter was of tremendous importance to the Gentiles and Luke was the only writer that recorded them. First, Simon Peter knew who Jesus was from the beginning and not when He asked His disciples who He was (Lk. 9:20), and the other three are in Acts.
Simon, son of John required a special effort in winning him over. Jesus did not simply call him but had to impact him with a presence not common to ordinary men. Some one had asked Jesus to come to Simon’s home and heal his mother-in-law. After the sun had set, Jesus healed many and those with mental problems called Him, “You are the Son of God” (Lk. 4:31-41). Shortly after Jesus sought out Simon near the shore where he and the Zebedees had their boats and fishing nets: “He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked hard all night and have not caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will catch men.’ So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Him” (Lk. 5:3-11).
Hereinafter, Peter and the Zebedee brothers were inseparable from Jesus. Peter was so close to Jesus, at times, that when He was being touched, Peter had a ready answer. The touch of faith that healed a nameless woman was a lesson on awareness for Peter and the other disciples (Lk. 8:43-48). This occurred while Jesus was on the way to the head of the Synagogue to stop his little daughter from dying. Jesus entered the home of Jairus with Peter, James and John and found everyone mourning for the girl. Jesus said, “Stop wailing, she is not dead but sleeping.” While they were laughing at Jesus because the girl was dead, Jesus took His three companions and the girl’s parents into her room, took her by the hand and told her, “My child, get up!” She did get up, ate some food and He ordered that the miracle be kept secret (Lk. 8:49-56). This lesson to Peter and those present indicated clearly that Jesus knew things and could do things that were humanly impossible. According to Luke’s sequence, this was the second time that Jesus stunned His followers. In a place called Nain, Jesus and His followers met a funeral procession. Men carried a widow’s only son to be buried. Jesus touched the coffin, told the young man to get up and He gave him back to his mother (Lk. 7:11-17). By this time, Peter was convinced that they were in the presence of “The Christ of God” (Lk. 9:20). Luke linked Peter’s confession with The Transfiguration where Jesus joined Moses and Elijah discussing His departure (exodon). Peter saw an ideal place to build three huts and stay up there. While they were waiting from Jesus to tell them what to do, there was this voice saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Just as the voice ended, Jesus was alone again with them and the experience they had was simply too grant to share (Lk. 9:28-36). The exposure of Jesus as the Son of God to Peter, James and John were overshadowed with their idea or their obsession with an earthly “Davidic Dynasty” where they would be in charge of the restored Israel with all the tribes present (Lk. 9:46-48; 22:30). Jesus’ prediction that He would be betrayed, mistreated, killed and return to life did not fit into their concept of a Kingdom (Lk. 24:21). Jesus’ words that the “Kingdom” was within them did not register in their minds (Lk. 17:21).
The disciples had the same problem we have. They wanted Christ do what they believed He should be doing and not what He was telling them they should be doing. Peter raised the issue, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” How did Jesus reply, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth he will put him in charge of all his possession. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and womenservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. That servant who knows his mater’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his mater wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Lk. 12:41-48). The message was to Peter, the other disciples and to us who are serving Jesus’ followers. The parable was on how business was done in the world and no less; but more was going to be expected of Christ’s servants in His Kingdom. The disciples wanted sugarcoated roles with no hardship, and messages that were pleasing. Jesus was going away and on His return He will hold Peter and his associates accountable.
The task of feeding and leading Christ’s people will not be a holiday, as it has become for us in the Western world. We ought to take to heart what Jesus said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” The Good News is expensive. It will cost Jesus His life, and the life of many of His followers (Lk. 14:25-35). After Jesus’ successful entry into Jerusalem and His expressed anger with those that were using the Temple for merchandising and profiteering, the establishment came to the decision to apprehend Jesus in secret before the Jesus’ movement put them out of office. Jesus further incited the Jewish leaders by refusing to disclose the source of His authority and with The Parable of the Tenants that their rejection of the Son of Man will end in God’s rejection of them and their land. Their disloyalty in paying taxes to God and Caesar and dabbling in speculation, about marriage after the resurrection, instead of serving the living God here and now was also a slap in their faces. Jesus showed them their faulty logic by reducing Christ to being a Son of David when David called Him Lord (Lk. 20). The triumphant day ended on a sour note. Jesus disclosed to them that the Christ had not come to save Jerusalem. It would be destroyed, but before that they would become the objects of hatred, persecution and death for following Him. “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” According to Luke, Jesus taught in the Temple all week long and had the people eat out of his hand (Lk. 21).
Peter and John were instructed to follow a man carrying a water jar and prepare for their last meal before something big was to happen. Jesus opened the meal with these words, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Apparently, what Jesus was about to do, the disciples understood that the Kingdom was on the way. This is indicated by their aspiration to run the Kingdom. And the more Jesus explained what their roles would be, the more they misunderstood. Peter, of all the disciples, could not accept that Jesus had to suffer before the Kingdom could come. Jesus had expected Peter to be the strong man and now he was falling into Satan’s hands. Jesus had to warn him because his brethren needed him and that in spite of his affirmation of being strong, he would deny his Lord three times before the next day breaks. Jesus suggested that they buy a sword and they had two. Jesus then went to the Mount of Olives (Gethsemane) with all the disciples except Judas, the traitor who leads the arresting party, and some one used the sword on one of the High priest’s servant, not Peter. Peter follows and finds his way into the courtyard where he was identified as a follower of Jesus and where he denied that he knew Jesus three times. At that moment, Jesus looked at Peter, jogged his memory and Peter went out and wept bitterly (Lk. 22). After the resurrection, the two on the road to Emmaus tell the eleven that Jesus had appeared to a Simon. Earlier, the women told Peter that two men in glittering white told them that Jesus was alive. Peter went to inspect and wondered what had happened. Before Jesus ascended to be with his heavenly Father, He appeared to all the disciples. Peter was no longer singled out (Lk. 24).