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Simon (or Symeon Acts xv. 14; 2 Pet. i. 1) was son of Jonas (Mt. xvi. 17) or John (Jn i. 42, xxi. 15—17) and brother of Andrew. His home was at Capernaum but he may have originally come from Bethsaida (Jn i. 44). He was married at the time of his call (Mk i. 30) and in later years his wife accompanied him on his missionary travels (1 Cor. ix. 5). He and his brother were partners with James and John as fishermen.

His calls. (a) To personal friendship with Jesus (Jn i. 41—42). Probably both he and Andrew had been disciples of the Baptist. Andrew having found the Messiah brings Simon to our Lord who at once recognizes in him latent possibilities which will develope into Rock-like strength of character.

(b) His call to discipleship (Mt. iv. 18-19; Mk i. 16-18) took place while he was fishing. He and Andrew are summoned to follow Jesus with a promise that they shall be "fishers of men.” St Luke (v. 1-11), either following a different tradition or more probably describing a later repetition of the call to discipleship, records it after the healing of Simon's wife's mother and other miracles in Capernaum. Our Lord borrows Simon's boat from which to preach. An extraordinary draught of fishes convinces Simon that Jesus must possess more than human powers. He exclaims "Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord," but s assured "From henceforth thou shalt catch men."

(c) The call to Apostleship was perhaps some six months later, when our Lord selected twelve to be His special companions to



be trained as Messengers (Mk iii. 14). On their first Mission they were sent "two and two," and it is a plausible conjecture that St Peter's companion was St John. They had previously been partners, and together with Andrew, they formed the innermost circle of the Twelve at the raising of Jairus' daughter (Mk v. 37), at the Transfiguration (Mk ix. 2), in Gethsemane (Mk xiv. 33). Peter and John "made ready the Passover" At the Last Supper Peter made signs to John (Jn xiii. 24). They alone entered the High Priest's palace at the Trial (Jn xviii. 15). They alone visited the Sepulchre on hearing of the empty tomb (Jn xx. 2—10). It was of St John's future that St Peter asked the Risen Lord (Jn xxi. 20).

(Lk. xxii. 8).

Peter and John together healed the cripple (Acts iii. 1-10), together they were arrested by the Sanhedrin (iii. 11), together they visited Samaria (viii. 14). They with James the Lord's brother were regarded as "pillars" of the Church and supported St Paul's work among the Gentiles (Gal. ii. 9).

St Peter's Character as pourtrayed in the Gospels is that of a warm-hearted, impulsive man ready to dare all and doubt nothing, but, until he had been "sifted as wheat," his confidence was partly self-confidence which failed in the hour of trial; his impulsiveness led him at times to act and speak hastily. His impulsiveness in action may be seen in

(a) his request to walk on the water (Mt. xiv. 28 ff.),

(b) his proposal to make three tabernacles at the Transfiguration (Mk ix. 5—6),

(c) his conduct about the tribute money (Mt. xvii. 24 ff.), (d) drawing his sword to smite the High Priest's Servant (Jn xviii. 10),

(e) entering the Palace at the Trial and then denying his Master (Mt. xxvi. 69 ff., etc.),

(f) entering the sepulchre (Jn xx. 6),

(g) jumping into the water to hasten to the Risen Lord (Jn xxi. 7 ff.).

His impulsiveness of speech led him at times to criticize or contradict his Master.

"All men seek for Thee" (Mk i. 37). "This shall never be unto Thee" (Mt. xvi. 22). "Thou shalt never wash my feet";

"Not my feet only, but also my hands and my head" (Jn xiii. 8 ff.). "Yet will I not deny Thee" (Mt. xxvi. 35, etc.). "Why cannot I follow Thee even now?" (Jn xiii. 37).

The same impulsiveness led him to ask constant questions. "Why say the Scribes that Elias must first come?" (Mt. xvii. 10). "Speakest Thou this parable unto us or even unto all?” (Lk. xii. 41). "How oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive "We have left all...what then shall we "What shall be the sign of Thy Coming?" Who is to be the traitor? (Jn. xiii. 24). "Lord, and what shall

him?" (Mt. xviii. 21).
have?” (Mt. xix. 27).
(Mt. xxiv. 3; Mk xiii. 3).
"Lord, whither goest Thou?" (Jn xiii. 36).
this man do?" (Jn xxi. 21).

But that same impulsiveness made St Peter the spokesman of the rest in confessing Christ. "Of a truth Thou art the Son of God" (Mt. xiv. 33). “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Jn vi. 68-69). That confession may have been based upon impulse rather than settled conviction, and so was received without comment by our Lordbut when (Mt. xvi. 16) St Peter made the same confession in answer to a definite test of their faith our Lord bestowed a special blessing upon him. "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." The "rock" has been variously explained to mean (a) the truth just asserted by St Peter, (b) St Peter's faith, (c) St Peter's character as typical of the other Apostles, who with the prophets are described as the foundations upon which the Church is built (Eph. ii. 20; cf. Rev. xxi. 14). But if the words are understood in a more personal sense they may mean that St Peter is to support the first stones of the "ecclesia," the new Israel of God, as we find that he did in the earlier chapters of Acts. A Rabbinic legend, commenting on Numbers xxiii. 9 with Isaiah li. 1—2, uses similar language of Abraham: "As soon as God perceived that there would arise an Abraham He said 'Behold I have found the "petra” upon which to build and lay foundations'" (see Chase, Hastings' D. of B., iii. 795).

St Peter is also made a "steward" of the kingdom to whom the keys are entrusted (cf. Isaiah xxii. 22) and the “scribe" who has authority to "bind or loose," declaring what God has pronounced to be obligatory or otherwise. But in Mt. xviii. 18 the

same power of "binding" or "loosing" is conferred upon all the Apostles.

But with all his faults St Peter was specially dear to his Master, as may be seen from the prayer that his faith might not fail and the charge to strengthen his brethren (Lk. xxii. 32), the pitying glance in the hour of his shame (Lk. xxii. 61), the special message about the Resurrection (Mk xvi. 7). He was the first of the Twelve to see the Risen Lord (Lk. xxiv. 34; 1 Cor. xv. 5), and finally on the lake side St Peter greatly forgiven proved how greatly he loved, and was entrusted with a share in the Good Shepherd's own work and learned that he should glorify God by sharing his Master's fate in death (Jn xxi. 15 ff.).

In the Acts of the Apostles St Peter seems at once to take the lead among his brethren. He proposes the election of a new Apostle (i. 15 ff.) and was the spokesman on the Day of Pentecost. In the successive stages of the development of the Church traced by St Luke, (a) Jerusalem, (b) Judaea, (c) Samaria, (d) “unto the uttermost part of the earth" (i. 8), St Peter takes the initiative. He, with St John, performs the first miracle (iii. 1—8) and acts as spokesman when they are tried by the Sanhedrin (iii. 11 ff.). He asserts his primacy in the first visitation of judgment (v. 1-11). Although all the Apostles are described as working "signs and wonders," St Peter's personality seems to have created the greatest impression, so that his very shadow was thought to bring healing (v. 15). When the Apostles were imprisoned and miraculously released St Peter again acted as spokesman before the Sanhedrin (v. 29 ff.).

The persecution which followed St Stephen's martyrdom scattered the Christians but thereby extended the Gospel to Samaria, and in that stage again St Peter with St John is sent by the Apostles to superintend this new development and set his seal upon the work begun by Philip (viii. 14 ff.).

Again in the period of rest which followed St Paul's conversion St Peter undertakes a missionary tour "throughout all quarters” (ix. 32) and healed Aeneas at Lydda and Tabitha at Joppa (ix. 33-43).

But the greatest conquest of all still awaited him. It was by his mouth that "God made choice among them that the Gentiles should hear the word of the Gospel and believe" (Acts x., xv. 7).

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