Peter is probably the most well-known of Jesus’ twelve disciples. You probably have heard that he denied Jesus three times on the night Jesus was arrested. But how well do you really know him?
I wanted to know more about Peter, so recently I did a little reading and study on his life and background. Most of the following is straight from Scripture. Some is based on church tradition and writings of the early church fathers.
Before he met Jesus, Peter was a Galilean fisherman. In fact, his life revolved around the Sea of Galilee. He was born by the sea, he lived by the sea, and he made his living on the sea. Peter likely expected he would also die by the sea.
Interesting Facts about the Apostle Peter
- Peter’s father was probably a fisherman – Ancient Jewish fathers were expected to teach their trade to their sons. Since both Peter and his brother Andrew were fishermen, their father likely was too.
- Peter’s brother introduced him to Jesus (John 1:35-41) – Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. One day as Jesus walked by, John pointed to Him and said “Behold, the Lamb of God!” Andrew followed Jesus and spent the day with Him. Andrew, convinced Jesus was the Messiah, went and found Peter and brought him to Jesus.
- Peter is the most prominent disciple in the Gospels – Every list of the 12 disciples in the Gospels has Peter at the top. He is mentioned more than any other disciple. More of his words are recorded. Jesus speaks to Peter more than any other disciple. He acted as spokesman for the twelve and as a liaison between Jesus and others.
- Peter initially tried to protect Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane – When soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter drew a sword and swung. His wild swing cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10). Jesus rebuked Peter, told him to put his sword away (John 18:11), and then Jesus healed the man’s ear! (Luke 22:51)
- Peter told his experience with Jesus to Mark – Most scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark is based on Peter’s eyewitness testimony. The fact that Mark shares honestly about Peter’s faults adds to the credibility of the Gospel.
- Peter’s wife loved Jesus too – We learn in the Gospels that Peter was married (Mark 1:30). In his first letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul mentioned that Peter’s wife joined him in his ministry travels (1 Corinthians 9:5). Based on early church tradition, Peter’s wife also died a martyr’s death. She was crucified before her husband who was forced to watch.
- Peter was crucified but not just like Jesus – Although Peter’s death is not recorded in Scripture, Jesus hinted at it (John 21:18). According to reliable church tradition, Peter was executed for his faith in Rome in the mid-60s AD under Emperor Nero. He requested to be crucified upside-down because he did not feel worthy to die like Jesus.
Want to know more about Peter?
Yes, the apostle Peter denied Jesus. But after Jesus restored Peter, God began to grow Peter’s faith. My Bible study “Unshakeable Faith” explores the life and teachings of Peter to discover eight faith characteristics God instilled his life. Jesus called this ordinary man for an extraordinary purpose. Simon the fisherman would become Peter the Rock. The apostle who once denied Christ would later refuse to waver even when faced with death.
The video below introduces both the Apostle Peter and “Unshakeable Faith.” I’d love for you to watch if you have time!