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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 1 - PETER: FIRST AMONG EQUALS (BACKGROUND STUDY)

INTRODUCTION:  THIS WEEK WE START A NEW QUARTER AND A NEW BOOK: 1
PETER.  INSTEAD OF ACTUALLY TURNING TO THE STUDY OF THE BOOK OF
PETER THIS WEEK, OUR LESSON LOOKS AT PETER THE MAN.

I. PETER THE ROCK
     A. 1 PETER 1:1 STARTS OUT "PETER, AN APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST."
     
     B. PETER DID NOT START OUT WITH THE NAME PETER. DOES ANYONE
     KNOW PETER'S ORIGINAL NAME? (SIMON (MK.1:16)
     
     C.  DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW SIMON GOT THE NAME PETER?
       
     D. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT PETER WAS THE FIRST ONE EVER TO HAVE
     THAT NAME? 

     E. OUR LESSON NOTES THAT IN THE NT THERE ARE FOUR LISTS OF THE
NAMES OF THE APOSTLES.  IN EACH LIST PETER'S NAME IS AT THE TOP. 
AND IN FACT, MT. (10:2) ACTUALLY SAYS, "FIRST" IN DESCRIBING
PETER'S NAME ON THE LIST.   
          
          1. WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT SUGGESTS? (POSITION OF
          AUTHORITY AND RESPECT AMONG THE 12)
     
II. CHARACTERISTICS OF PETER (MAKE COLUMN)
     
     A. SIMON GETS RENAMED PETER "ROCK" IN JHN 1: 42 AND MT.16:18. 
IN ARAMAIC THE NAME GIVEN TO PETER BY JESUS IS CEPHAS (ROCK) WHICH
IS TRANSLATED IN THE GREEK "PETROS."  
     
     B. LETS LOOK AT THAT STORY. READ MT. 16: 13B-19.  WHEN JESUS
SAID IN v. 18 "YOU ARE PETER" IN GREEK HE SAID "PETROS" IS A HUNK
OF ROCK. AND WHEN HE SAID "ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH,"
THE "ROCK" IS "PETRA": A MASS OF ROCK.  SO PETER IS A SINGLE ROCK
FROM THE MASS.

     C. WHAT DO WE LEARN ABOUT PETER, THE MAN FROM THIS? (HE WAS IN
TUNE WITH GOD ON THIS POINT, THAT HE VOLUNTEERED THE ANSWER, AND
THAT HE WAS MADE OF THE SORT OF STUFF OF WHICH THE CHURCH IS MADE.)


     D.LETS LOOK FURTHER AT EVENTS IN PETER'S LIFE.  READ MT.
16:21-23. NOW WE HAVE JESUS CALLING PETER SATAN.  
     
          1. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE? (THAT PETER DOES NOT WANT TO
BELIEVE THAT ANYTHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO CHRIST.)
          
          2. DOES THE FACT THAT GOD REVEALED TO PETER THAT JESUS
WAS THE CHRIST HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS? (PETER WAS CERTAIN
THAT THE CHRIST WOULD RULE AND WOULD NOT SUFFER.)
           
          3. WHAT DOES THIS SHOW ABOUT PETER? (THAT HE HAD THESE
PRECONCEIVED IDEAS AND THAT HE HAD SUCH PRIDE OF OPINION THAT HE
WOULD EVEN CORRECT JESUS.)


     E. LETS LOOK AT ANOTHER EVENT: READ MT.17:1-5.

     F. WHAT DOES THIS SHOW US ABOUT PETER? (1. THAT HE WAS ONE OF
THREE DISCIPLES PICKED FOR A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING. 2. THAT HE
TOOK THE INITIATIVE: STARTED TALKING--TO DO SOMETHING.)

     G. DO YOU THINK THAT THIS TIME PETER WAS IN TUNE WITH GOD THE
FATHER?
          1. DO YOU SEE ANY SIGNIFICANCE IN THE FACT THAT GOD THE
FATHER SPOKE "WHILE [PETER] WAS YET SPEAKING?" 
          
          2. WAS THIS JUST A TIMING PROBLEM OR DO YOU THINK THIS
HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH PETER'S OFFER TO BUILD THREE TENTS OR
SHELTERS? (ONCE AGAIN THIS ATTITUDE OF PETER'S COMES OUT. THIS
SEEMED TO BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR JESUS TO BE GLORIFIED WITHOUT GOING
THROUGH THE CROSS.)

          3. DOES THIS MEAN THAT PETER HAD AN ATTITUDE THAT WAS
MUCH THE SAME AS JUDAS' ATTITUDE? (PETER SEEMS TO BE IGNORING
JESUS' WORDS AND DETERMINED THAT JESUS WILL BE THE CHRIST W/O GOING
THROUGH THE CROSS.  JUDAS THOUGHT THAT HE COULD FORCE JESUS INTO
DECLARING HIMSELF AS KING.)

     H. TURN NOW WITH ME TO MT. 26: 31-33. READ. WHAT DOES THIS
TELL US ABOUT PETER'S CHARACTER? DID PETER KNOW HIMSELF?

     I. LETS CONTINUE ON THIS LINE.  READ MT. 26:47-50. SOMEONE
READ JOHN 18:8-11.
       
          1. WE LEARN FROM JOHN THAT THE PERSON WHO DREW THE SWORD
WAS PETER.
            
          2. WE ALSO LEARN THAT PETER DID NOT HAVE TO STAND AND
FIGHT, BECAUSE JESUS HAD MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE DISCIPLES TO
LEAVE.
          3. DOES THIS MEAN THAT PETER MEANT EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID
WHEN HE TOLD JESUS THAT HE WOULD NOT LEAVE HIM? (YES.)
          
          4. NOTICE THE ARGUMENT THAT JESUS MADE TO PETER IN
SUPPORT OF HIS COMMAND TO PUT AWAY THE SWORD: "SHALL I NOT DRINK
THE CUP THE FATHER HAS GIVEN ME?"  
          5. WHAT DOES THIS SHOW US ABOUT PETER'S ATTITUDE? (THAT
HE WAS WILLING TO FIGHT TO MAKE JESUS KING, TO GET THE GLORY,
WITHOUT GOING THROUGH THE CROSS. THIS IS THIS SAME PERSISTENT
ATTITUDE BY PETER.)

          6. DO WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE SAME ATTITUDE PROBLEM
THAT PETER AND JUDAS HAD?  OR DID THIS "SACRIFICE BEFORE GLORY"
STUFF ONLY APPLY TO JESUS? (NOTE MT. 16:24.)
          

     J. READ MT. 26: 69-75. 
     
          1.WHY DID PETER DENY JESUS?  HE WAS WILLING TO DIE FOR
HIM?. (BECAUSE HE WAS CONFUSED BECAUSE THINGS WERE NOT GOING
ACCORDING TO PLAN.  HE WAS WILLING TO FIGHT AND PERHAPS DIE A HERO,
BUT WAS NOT WILLING TO LIVE IN EMBARRASSMENT.)  

     K. LETS CONSIDER THIS A MOMENT.  PETER HAD SPENT THREE YEARS
WITH JESUS.  HE HAD BEEN THROUGH THE MIRACLES, HE HAD HEARD WHAT
JESUS TOLD THEM WOULD HAPPEN, AND HE WAS THE LEADER OF THE GROUP.
          1. HOW COULD HE HAVE THIS ATTITUDE?

          2. DID IT MATTER THAT GOD HAD SPOKEN THROUGH PETER (WHEN
PETER SAID THAT JESUS WAS THE CHRIST)?  (THIS SHOWS THAT ANYONE CAN
BE WRONG UNLESS THEY KEEP THEIR HEARTS OPEN TO GOD.)

          3. WHAT WAS THE CURE FOR THIS ATTITUDE? (TO PAY ATTENTION
TO GOD EVEN WHEN PRECONCEIVED IDEAS HAVE TO GO.)

          4. CAN THIS BE A PROBLEM FOR US?

     L. WHERE WE LAST LEFT PETER HE WAS WEEPING BITTERLY. LETS MOVE
TO JOHN 21:15.  JESUS COMES TO THE SHORE NEAR WHERE THE DISCIPLES
ARE FISHING. JOHN TELLS PETER THAT THE LORD IS ON THE SHORE AND
PETER JUMPS IN THE WATER TO GO SEE JESUS.  JESUS SUGGESTS THEY EAT,
THEY DO, AND NOW LETS READ v. 15-19.
     
          1. WHAT HAS JESUS DONE HERE? (REINSTATED PETER, LET HIM
KNOW THAT HE IS FORGIVEN.  JESUS SAYS, "FOLLOW ME!")
           
          2. WHERE WAS PETER FOLLOWING JESUS? INTO INSTANT GLORY?
(INTO THE KIND OF DEATH THAT PETER KEPT DENYING THAT JESUS WOULD
HAVE.)

     M. A TREMENDOUS CHANGE IN PETER'S ATTITUDE HAS OCCURRED. LETS
READ ACTS 2: 22-24 & 36.  PETER, THE MAN WHO IS FIRST TO SPEAK, NOW
SHARES WITH OTHERS HIS CONVERTED HEART.
     
     
III. NEXT WEEK: ANOTHER INTRODUCTORY LESSON: A LOOK AT THOSE TO
WHOM 1 PETER IS WRITTEN. STUDY.
RS HIS CONVERTED HEART. III. NEXT WEEK: ANOTHER INTRODUCTORY LESSON: A LOOK AT THOSE TO WHOM 1 PETER IS WRITTEN. STUDY.