Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

Getting Acquainted With Peter, 4: The Inner Circle

  • Eva Marie Everson Contributing Writer
  • Published May 10, 2004
Getting Acquainted With Peter, 4:  The Inner Circle

Sitting at my desk, working diligently on my writing as my fingers danced along the keyboard of my PC, an IM interrupted my train of thought.


I sit on the Board of Directors of a ministry, and its president was asking me my opinion about the time and place of our annual dinner meeting. The president…wanting my opinion…and I gave it with a smile. In a month or so, we’d be dining behind closed doors, discussing the fine details of the ministry. What will be said there will stay there.


Sometimes its kinda cool being a part of the inner circle. But I wonder how much more cool it would have been to be a part of the inner circle of the inner circle. Like James…his brother, John…and Peter.


The IC of the IC


Peter and his brother Andrew were the fishing business partners of James and John, sons of Zebedee. For whatever reason, when Jesus chose to pull a few of the boys aside, it was these four sans Andrew.


It has been said that James and John were cousins of Jesus. Age-wise, James was the older of the two boys. Their father’s name was Zebedee and their mother’s name was Salome. It was with their mother that they petitioned Jesus to sit at His right and left hand in Heaven. Their request didn’t sit well with the remaining of the Twelve. Perhaps there was a little tension anyway. After all…James and John were of the three Jesus often pulled aside for special occasions.

This wasn’t the only time their behavior caused a stir. As Jesus and the Twelve headed for Jerusalem, Jesus sent one of them on ahead to a village in Samaria to prepare things for their arrival. The people there, however, hadn’t read the latest “welcome wagon” brochure. James and John were furious and wanted to “call down fire from heaven to destroy them.” (Luke 9:54) After all, just a few short verses earlier (Luke 9:1) Jesus had called the Twelve together and given them power and authority to drive out demons…to cure diseases…and to preach the kingdom of God. For the boys, a little fire and destruction seemed like the obvious way to go.


Jesus, of course, said no. He did, however, nickname the brothers the “sons of thunder.” (Mark 3:17)


Peter made up the final of the three in the inner circle. Peter…just as impetuous and short fused as James and John. And all three are called for greater things than they can imagine. James will be the first Disciple to be martyred. (King Herod Agrippa beheaded him in 44AD.) John will go on be imprisoned for preaching the good news and to write the Gospel of John, 1st – 2nd- and 3rd John, and The Revelation of John before his natural death. Peter will preach the first sermon, heal the sick, raise the dead, write 1st and 2nd Peter…and will die on a cross for preaching the Gospel.


What Goes On In Those IC Meetings


The Raising of a Dead Girl


Jesus was tired. He and the Disciples climbed into a boat, set sail, and headed for the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus fell asleep immediately and just as quickly a storm set in, scaring those who were awake to the point of rousing the Lord. I suppose it never occurred to them that where Jesus is…there is safety. Jesus said to them, “Where is your faith?” then stood and calmed the storm. (Luke 8:22ff)


From there, the Lord and His boys went to the region of the Gerasenes. As soon as they arrived, Jesus was met by a demon possessed man. With the same authority as He’d calmed the storm, Jesus commanded the demons to leave the man, sending them into a herd of pigs.


Jesus and the Disciples then returned from Gerasenes. A large crowd was waiting for him, including a man named Jarius. Jarius, a ruler of the synagogue, had a twelve-year-old daughter who was dying. When he made his way to the Lord, Jarius fell at the Lord’s feet and pled for her life. Jesus was filled with compassion and asked that he be taken to the girl.


Once at Jarius’s home, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus only allowed Peter, James, and John to come in with Him (as well as the child’s mother and father). As they passed the mourners, Jesus turned to them and said, “Stop wailing. She is not dead but asleep.” (Luke 8:52)


The Scriptures tell us that the mourners laughed at Him…but they weren’t laughing later when Jesus commanded the child to get up…and she did!


Of the Disciples, only Peter, James, and John witnessed this miracle.


The Transfiguration


As Jesus was nearing the time of His crucifixion He took Peter, James, and John up a high mountain (most theologians believe it to be Mount Hermon though today a basilica commemorating the event sits atop Mount Tabor). There He was transfigured (the word here is metamorfoo and means a change on the outside that comes from within. This is where we get the word metamorphosis). As He “shone like the sun,” Elijah and Moses came to Him and spoke to Him.


Peter, James, and John must have realized the significance of the moment. Before them stood the “Law” and the “Prophets” fulfilled in the Son of God. Excited, Peter said to the Lord, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” (Or, in modern day language, “Lord, this is so cool!)


Peter immediately began planning the building of three shelters; one for each of them. But while he was still making his architectural plans, a bright cloud enveloped them and a voice said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5)


Terrified, the three men fell to the ground (Can you blame them?). Jesus--no doubt moved or maybe even a bit tickled by the whole display--came up to them, touched them, and said, “Get up. Don’t be afraid.”


As they headed back toward the awaiting Disciples, Jesus instructed the three not to share any of this until after His resurrection.


Both Peter and John went on to write about this magnificent, glorious moment in their lives; Peter in 2 Peter and John in 1 John.


The Garden


The seconds and minutes of the few remaining hours before His arrest were ticking away and Jesus knew it. The Passover meal had been enjoyed with The Twelve, Judas had left to do the betraying-thing, and Jesus needed time alone to pray.


Who does Messiah take into the Garden of Gethsemane with Him? Peter, James, and John.


For what purpose? To pray with Him. “Keep watch and pray,” He told them. (Matthew 26:41) Why? “So you will not fall into temptation.”


Though the three tried really hard, they just kept falling asleep on the job. Still, this put our tired-threesome right on the scene at the time of the Messiah’s arrest. Within a matter of hours, Peter would deny his involvement with the Lord, James would skedaddle, and John would stand at the foot of the cross as his Master instructed him, “John, take care of my mother.”


Wonder Why


Do you ever wonder why Jesus chose these three men to walk so closely with Him and to witness things the others would not…could not?


Perhaps James, as he was heading for the butcher’s block, or John as he was imprisoned, or Peter as he was preached the first sermon and later was crucified for his faith…perhaps they remembered these incredible moments in their lives…and they knew…they just knew…that the One who had called them to service…the One who had raised a girl from the dead…the One who they’d witnessed speaking to the Moses and Elijah…and the One who had said, “Keep watch and pray” was truly, truly Messiah. Worth living for. Worth dying for. Worth leading others to.


Questions for Personal or Group Study

1.      Think of a time when the Lord showed you something “for your eyes only.” Talk or write about it.

2.      Have you ever seen a miracle? How did you respond to it? What did it do for your faith?

3.      What is the most magnificent thing you’ve ever seen? If you were to write about it, how would you express the wonder of it all?

4.      Read 2 Peter 1:12-21 and 1 John 1:1-4. What are Peter and John writing about?

5.      How would you feel if Jesus asked you to “keep watch pray for Him?” What valuable lesson do you think Peter, James, and John learned by their failure in doing so?


Award-winning national speaker, Eva Marie Everson's work includes Intimate Moments with God and Intimate Encounters with God (Cook). She is the author of Shadow of Dreams, Summon the Shadows and Shadow of Light. (Barbour Fiction) She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at www.EvaMarieEverson.com.

Other Articles in This Series:

Getting Acquainted With Peter, 3: Declarations of Faith

Getting Acquainted With Peter: Part Two

Getting Acquainted With Peter