The size of his audience created a certain discomfort. The Teacher saw two boats moored by the shore; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
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He then asked permission to board the boat, which was Simon's, and requested him to put out a little from the land. Sitting on that improvised seat, he began to teach the crowds from the boat cf. Thus, the boat of Peter becomes the chair of Jesus. And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!
Jesus replied by inviting him to trust and to be open to a project that would surpass all his expectations. Peter could not yet imagine that one day he would arrive in Rome and that here he would be a "fisher of men" for the Lord. He said "yes", a courageous and generous "yes", and became a disciple of Jesus. But for Jesus hearsay did not suffice. He wanted from those who had agreed to be personally involved with him a personal statement of their position. Peter's answer, which was not revealed to him by "flesh and blood" but was given to him by the Father who is in heaven cf.
He demonstrates this a little later, inferring that the Messiah whom he is following in his dreams is very different from God's true plan. He was shocked by the Lord's announcement of the Passion and protested, prompting a lively reaction from Jesus cf.
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Jesus presented himself as a "human God", the Servant of God, who turned the crowd's expectations upside-down by taking a path of humility and suffering. Peter, impulsive as he was, did not hesitate to take Jesus aside and rebuke him. Peter is remembered in this episode for his lack of faith but, as commentators point out, although he failed he was the only one to try.
On another occasion Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is, Peter is the one who says "You are the Messiah". In Matthew's account Jesus commends Peter's observation. But just moments later Peter receives Jesus' sharpest rebuke "Get behind me Satan! Peter shows he does not fully understand the nature of Jesus' Messiahship. Throughout the gospel narratives Peter seems so near and yet so far from understanding Jesus' message and yet he is consistently portrayed not only as one of the chosen 12 but as one of Jesus' most intimate group of three or four.
Peter was the spokesperson for the disciples but frequently said the wrong thing at important moments.
He was constantly asking questions and was not afraid to argue with Jesus. He was rash, impetuous and even foolish at times but he was never slow to pledge his absolute loyalty to his master. However, he was not to know how much this would be tested. For Peter in that courtyard, it must have seemed like the end of the line.
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He had let his master down, Jesus was sentenced to death on a cross and the movement was over The gospels say that in the following days an incredible event took place. Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his followers. The accounts differ as to what happened in those days but from the earliest sources Peter is listed as the first male witness to the resurrection. Whatever the precise nature of his encounter with the resurrected Jesus, the result was that Peter was transformed from a scared and dejected failure into the leader Jesus had predicted at the outset.
The opening chapters of the Acts of the Apostles show Peter working miracles, preaching boldly in the streets and in the temple and standing up fearlessly to those who had condemned Jesus just days before. The number of believers grows enormously and it was Peter who leads them with authority and wisdom as chief of the apostles.
From such unpromising beginnings it now seemed that Peter had indeed become the rock of the church. Considering Peter's prominence in the Acts of the Apostles, it is remarkable that he completely disappears from the narrative halfway through.
Footsteps of the Fisherman
So what happened to Peter, where did he go and where did he die? It is certainly plausible that Peter went to Rome; after all, it was the capital of the greatest empire the world had ever seen, so if the message took root there it would reach every corner of the known world. Clearly there is some amazing faith going on within him, but then, in a scene reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote who has run a little way off the cliff before he realizes, Peter notices the waves and wind and begins to sink.
Perhaps you have uttered this prayer of St Peter at times of great trial in your life. It always seems to me a little harsh that Jesus rebukes Peter for doubting, when I would want to affirm that he actually trusted, got out of the boat and took some steps. Rocky the Stumbling Block Matthew For his words he earns a new nickname — Simon becomes Cephas the Rock or Petros in Greek the first known use of this word as a name. Not the feet!
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Not the Feet! John Fair enough! Surely his feelings arise out of respect and love for his friend and teacher. There is nothing simple about this experience for any of them. I think it was a transformative lesson in servant leadership for Peter that he was able to apply many times in the future. Matthew ; Mark ; Luke ; John Is it arguing and insulting them or is it ignoring them, not even acknowledging their existence?
As the drama of the Gospels conclude, Peter reaches his low point. His classic moment of failure is upon him.