Simon Peter Biography

Simon Peter walk of water with Jesus

Simon Peter walk of water with Jesus

If we were given the responsibility of selecting the twelve disciples of Christ, I wonder how we would proceed.  Very possibly, we would screen thousands of applicants and carefully select only the highest achievers—rare administrative geniuses, megachurch ministers, and famous saints.  Instead, Jesus chose a motley crew of obscure, uneducated blue collars.

Jesus called Simon Peter away from his fishing boat with the simple promise that soon he would be fishing for men. Simon, a tough Galilean, was outspoken, impulsive, and uninhibited.  The big fisherman was a monument to paradox from the very beginning.  He clambered out of the boat to follow Jesus onto the water, but sank in panic when he saw the giant waves.   He swore Jesus would never wash his feet, but at Christ’s rebuke invited the Master to wash him entirely.  Though at times he played the role of a servant, at others he argued vehemently with his fellow-disciples regarding who was the greatest.  Simon gazed in wonder at the transfigured Christ on the mountaintop, then ruined the moment by volunteering to throw together makeshift shelters for the sacred occasion.  He declared Jesus as the Son of God, but later denied repeatedly that he even knew Him.

Simon Peter saw Jesus transfigured

Simon Peter saw Jesus transfigured

Jesus must have seen great hidden potential in this rash, over-enthusiastic fisherman.  One thing Simon can never be accused of is a hard, stone-cold heart.  His great heart was capable of deep loyalty and was full of affection for the man he called Master.  Jesus renamed him Peter: ‘The Rock,” and though at first Peter was weak as sand, under deep testing and patient nurture the sand was gradually compressed into a rock that stood firm to the end.

Later Peter showed his rock-like qualities.  He held the uncertain band of disciples together after Jesus left them.  He boldly preached the gospel, resolutely facing the floggings he received for his trouble.  He courageously and obediently spread Christ’s gospel to Gentiles in spite of vehement attacks from orthodox Jews.

Tradition tells us he was martyred by Nero.  He was said to have requested that he be crucified upside down, not counting himself worthy of being crucified in the same manner as the Master he had served so long and loved so deeply.

Simon Peter disowns Jesus

Simon Peter disowns Jesus

What can we learn from Simon Peter?

Peter’s story stands as encouragement to all those who feel too human and fallible to ever be of great use in the kingdom of God.   In the beginning Peter stumbled in and out of trouble, blurting his hasty opinions at every turn.  However, as the Savior gently and patiently led him along, Peter’s weaknesses were gradually transformed into potent strengths.

Bible Verses about Simon Peter

Matt. 4:18, 14:28, 15:15-16, 16:16, 16:22, 17:4, 19:27, 26:75;  Mark 14:67-71;  John 21:7, 13:8-9, 21:15-17, 6:68-69, 18:10;  Acts 4:19-20, 5:28-29, 40, 42; chaps. 10-12.

What questions does this help to answer?

  • Who was Simon Peter
  • Who was the disciple that Jesus’ loved?
  • Who were Jesus’ disciples?
  • Which disciple walked on water?

Author Info

Steve Fortosis served for six years as youth minister in several parishes.  Meanwhile he was also working toward his masters, then his doctorate in religious education.  Through the years he has enjoyed teaching on the college and seminary levels and writing professionally.  He has published a number of books including story and prayer compilations, missionary biography, Biblical character biography, devotional lit, children’s lit, and even stories of Bible translation. Presently he resides in Florida with his wife, Debra, where he teaches part-time and writes on a free-lance basis.

Steve Fortosis