Christ, the Building Stone, in Peter’s Theology -- By: Frederic R. Howe

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 157:625 (Jan 2000)
Article: Christ, the Building Stone, in Peter’s Theology
Author: Frederic R. Howe

Christ, the Building Stone, in Peter’s Theologya

Frederic R. Howeb

The mention of Simon Peter’s name brings to mind a mixed reaction. Events in the lives of the disciples clearly forge the impression that Peter was viewed as the leader of the tight-knit band of the twelve apostles. He aggressively stepped out onto the surface of the turbulent waters, only to utter one of the most dramatic short prayers in the Bible: “Lord, save me!” (Matt. 14:30). He stated the majestic words of Matthew 16:16: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Yet on hearing the Lord Jesus Christ announce His suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection (v. 21), Peter began to rebuke the Lord. He heard the stinging words of judgment from Christ’s own lips: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (v. 23). And Peter denied the Lord three times before His crucifixion and then was confronted three times by the risen Christ (John 21).

Yet this same Simon Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, preached with fearlessness and forthrightness on the Day of Pentecost. And later he wrote 1 and 2 Peter, guided by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.1

Sources of Petrine Emphases


Granting the unique role of personal experience in Peter’s life and close association with Jesus Christ, memory no doubt played a major part in Peter’s writings. His sustained contact with Christ was bound to be a formative factor in his later life and ministry, both written and spoken. Explaining the gospel to Cornelius, Peter stated, “God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He should become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us, who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead” (Acts 10:40–41). This interesting observation of Peter’s contact with the risen Christ points up the lasting impression the resurrected Savior made on Peter. Also, in clarifying the availability of God’s saving grace to Gentiles, Peter recalled, “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’ ” (11:16

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