The Experience of Peter

What are the first words of the Gospel by Mark?

“The beginning of the GOSPEL of Jesus”.

This whole book is about the Good News about Jesus. Remember as we read those inspired words that they are the words written by John Mark recording the experience Peter had walking with Jesus for 3 plus years.

Remember what we have already learned about Peter?

  • No one ever followed Jesus more closely than Peter.
  • No one ever listened to Jesus more intently than Peter.
  • No one ever knew Jesus better than Peter. And –
  • No one ever wanted to imitate Jesus more completely than Peter.

Peter’s life is synonymous with the Gospel.

  • Peter was called by Jesus to join the Gospel Team of Twelve.
  • Peter watched Jesus minister the Gospel for over three years.
  • Peter learned first hand and up close what the Gospel was and what he was to proclaim as Christ's messenger.
  • Peter learned it, lived it, and preached it.

That total devotion to the Gospel changed his life forever. His world based on the shore line of Galilee was expanded by Jesus to embrace all peoples every where – and through the Gospels, the Book of Acts and I and II Peter all people throughout all of time on Earth. That is why we can say Peter’s life was perhaps the greatest life ever lived for the Glory of God.

Next to the Name of Jesus there is probably no name more associated throughout history with Christianity than the name of – Peter. He was a pillar of the ancient church – a legend of a man. He is revered, venerated, and quoted around the world to this very day. But who was he?   And more importantly -- what did he say about Jesus?

That is our task this morning. We are going to uncover the Gospel according to Peter. What did the man closest to Jesus most of the time catch from the Master. And when Peter was unleashed by the power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and after – what did he say. And then at the end of his life as he “stirs us up by way of remembrance” what did he want us to never forget? That is the Gospel According to Peter.

Do you remember Peter’s first encounter with Jesus in the Gospel by Mark? Peter couldn’t ever forget it. Turn there with me to Mark 1.16-20.

In these few lines we have one of the most famous acts of obedience in history. Christ came with a radical message and then a radical call, and these four responded in radical obedience. Today wherever men and women think of obedience, they sing of these four.  

This meant an immensely expanded life. The horizon of these fishermen’s lives was bound by the margins of Galilee. Once in a while they went down to Jerusalem for a festival. But by and large they knew little more than the deck of their boat, the currents of the lake, and the handful of people in the marketplace. Their conversation consisted of trade talk, local gossip, family affairs, and Galilean politics. In a word, they were remarkably provincial, even to the extent of having their own telltale accent.

Then Christ came, and how their world changed! In place of Galilee came the world! John was to become Bishop of Ephesus, Peter went to Rome, and Andrew went as far as the borders of Russia! Their hearts were enlarged to take in the whole world.  

Following Christ eliminates the trivial and expands our hearts. There is nothing that will make you grow more than following Christ.

Peter and Andrew and James and John grew to undreamed of heights because they made themselves special objects of Christ’s love. Next, they made themselves special objects of Christ’s attention by choosing to follow him. His promise was, and is, “Come, follow me … and I will make you fishers of men.” Christ committed himself to completing a miracle in them.

We could trace Peter’s ministry as an exact model of obedience to Christ's last words at His ascension. Please turn there with me next to Acts 1.8.

Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Peter’s planner had one aim in three stages: The Gospel out to Jerusalem, then to Judea & Samaria, and then to the furthest places. Jesus left him with that plan. He embraced it, and set out to do it. And ended up a martyr for it!

  • Acts 2.14-39 he opens the Gospel to the Jews.
  • In Acts 8.14-25 he opens the Gospel to the Samaritans
  • In Acts 10.24-48 he opens the Gospel to the Gentiles.
  • And from Acts 12 onward he lives the rest of his life going to the uttermost parts of the earth, spreading that Gospel.

Then at the end of his life Peter writes two letters and in them says --

  • I have – living hope 1 st Peter 1.3; an incorruptible inheritance v. 4; an unfading reservation v. 4; and joy inexpressible v. 8.
  • I am tasting of God’s greatness personally (2.3)
  • I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5)
  • I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession and created to sing his praises (1 Peter 2:9-10)
  • I have been given great and precious promises by God (2 Peter 1:4)

So what was the Gospel According to Peter? Just what we teach and preach today, calling men and women, boys and girls to have a second birth in Christ.

 

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