The Gospel of John introduces us to the Apostle Peter near the end of John chapter one. It is there where we are told that Peter’s brother Andrew heard John the Baptist refer to Jesus as “…the Lamb of God.” After spending the rest of the day with Jesus, Andrew later went to find Peter and told him, “We have found the Messiah…” (see John 1:35-41).
That led to Peter’s initial meeting with Jesus: “[Andrew] brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter)” (John 1:42). From that point, the name “Peter” (meaning “stone” or “rock”) became his primary designation. Later, Jesus called Peter and Andrew to a dedicated student-teacher relationship…
“Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (Matthew 4:18-20 ).
Whenever the Scriptures mention Jesus’ twelve disciples, Peter is always listed first. This should not be surprising, because Peter was also involved in several other “firsts” as recorded for us within the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. For instance, Peter and Andrew were the first to leave their secular occupation to follow Jesus, as noted above. Peter was also the first among the disciples to receive God’s revelation concerning Jesus as the Messiah ( Matthew 16:13-17).
Peter and John were also the first of the apostles to arrive at Jesus’ empty tomb following His resurrection. Finally, it appears that Peter was also the first person to see Jesus following His death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-5).
Peter was also privileged to hold a place within Jesus’ “inner circle” of disciples. Whenever Jesus chose a small group to accompany Him, he often selected Peter, James, and John. For instance, these men were present when Jesus healed the daughter of the synagogue ruler. Peter, James, and John also witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration where “…His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.”
Finally, Peter was someone who always seemed ready for action. For example, it was Peter who drew a sword to protect Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10). He was also the man who walked on water with Jesus as we’re told in Matthew 14:28-32. Yet despite these successes, Peter’s relationship with Jesus was not without controversy as we’ll see next.