Peter’s Story

By Jonathan Camiolo –

Peter was the apostle that Jesus left the Church to as the first pope.  He led the early church and taught the early Christians the faith that Christ had taught him.  He traveled and preached.  He wrote to disciples of Jesus. Peter died by being crucified upside down as a martyr because he did not want to die like Jesus did.  He is our first pope.  The Vatican is built over the place he is buried.  He is the “rock” Jesus declared that He would build His Church upon.  But there is more to the story of Peter – parts that teach us so much about Jesus.

When we think back to the story of the last days of Jesus’ life, Peter is a central character.  At the last supper, Jesus is washing the feet of His disciples, but Peter does not want Him to do it.  Jesus insists and shows the disciples what a servant is.  At that same meal, Peter also says that he would never leave Jesus and that he would die for Him.  Jesus tells Peter that before the next morning, he would deny Him three times.

Later that night Jesus is arrested.  Peter responds by pulling out his sword to fight.  He cuts the ear off of one of the soldiers, only to have Jesus to tell him to stop; then Jesus says, “he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword”, and heals the soldier’s ear.  Peter must have been amazed and confused by Jesus’ words and actions.

As the night progresses into the very late hours and early hours of morning, Jesus is put on trial before the Jewish leaders.  Peter is waiting outside the location of the trial in a courtyard with other onlookers.  They recognize him and his way of speaking.  He is confronted and questioned about being a friend of Jesus, one of Jesus’ followers.  Peter denies knowing Jesus 3 times.  As scripture has it, he began to cry for a long time with deep sorrow for denying his friend and Lord.

After Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead, there are a few accounts of times Jesus visited His apostles.  We read one of those in the Gospel this week from John. It was a morning when Jesus was on the shore and Peter was out fishing with no success.  Jesus tells those in the boat to fish on the other side.  When they do what He says, they catch an enormous amount of fish.  They then returned to shore and had breakfast with the Risen Jesus.  After breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter 3 times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”   Peter answered him each time, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep”.  Jesus then tells Peter to follow Him.

This story tells us about the man we now refer to as Saint Peter.  He was a man chosen to lead the Church, but he was imperfect, flawed and weak.  Jesus did not let that stop Him.  It shows us that Jesus does not give up on anyone.  Peter denied Jesus Christ 3 times, and 3 times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him.  There is always another chance with Jesus.  In the end, Jesus calls us all to follow Him.  Like Peter, we are all asked to trust Him and follow Jesus and where He wants us to go.  May we follow Peter’s example and respond with all of our lives.

 

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