The Son of God among the Sons of Men Part 3: Jesus and Simon Peter -- By: Everett F. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 102:407 (Jul 1945)
Article: The Son of God among the Sons of Men Part 3: Jesus and Simon Peter
Author: Everett F. Harrison

The Son of God among the Sons of Men
Part 3: Jesus and Simon Peter

Everett F. Harrison

III. Jesus and Simon Peter

Two things deserve to be noticed at the outset about this character. One is his prominence in the gospel story. More is said about him than about any other disciple, and more of his speech is recorded than of any other. This latter feature supplies a great need, for despite the individuality and uniqueness of Peter, in most respects he must have been like his brethren in their attitude toward Christ and their response to Him. Peter’s response helps us to glimpse if not actually to gauge theirs.

The other feature concerns his primacy in the apostolate. Peter has first mention in every list of the Twelve contained in the New Testament. It has been to the advantage of the Roman Church to make much of this leadership in order to find support for her special claims. Rome has given to Peter an official leadership, but nothing in his own statements or the conduct of the early Church supports such a notion. Every group needs a leader. Peter had some of the natural and elemental ingredients of leadership and this fact is recognized in the place accorded to him by the Master. Peter would have pushed into prominence in any company, in any line of work. The record in the first chapter of John is suggestive. When Andrew is first introduced to the readers, before any mention has been made of Peter, he is designated as the brother of Simon Peter, as though to prepare us for the significant role that Peter was to play among the closest followers of Jesus.

At the first meeting of disciple and Master, Peter does

not seem to be wholly in character, judging from later disclosures. He is left speechless at the word of Jesus, “Thou art Simon, the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas…a stone.” It was far more than a statement of fact and a prophecy. It was an appraisal and a promise. “Thou art Simon” may sound neutral enough, but in view of the envisioned change it must be regarded as a criticism. It vaguely recalls, perhaps, the “Thou art the man” by which a prophet had made the conscience of a king to smart. Like Reuben of old, Simon was unstable as water. The revelation of his inner weakness left him voiceless, amazed. What manner of man is this to whom the heart and life are an open book? Jesus’ penetration is strongly emphasized in the Fourth Gospel. We find Nathaniel pronounced an Israelite without guile (1:47), the inhabitants of Jerusalem exposed as to their motives (2:23–25), as also the life of the woman of Samaria (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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