Now Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing around him to hear the word of God. He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing! But at your word I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets started to tear. So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they were about to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" For Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so were James and John, Zebedee's sons, who were Simon's business partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." So when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:1-11 NET)
Then he said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God." But he forcefully commanded them not to tell this to anyone, (Luke 9:20-21 NET)
From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him: "God forbid, Lord! This must not happen to you!" But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but on man's." Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:21-24 NET)
The heart of the matter is given here – Peter was mindful of how things looked before men and not God (Luke 16:15). That is, Peter was yielding to the desires of the flesh (e.g., peer pressure) and Jesus used this opportunity to chasten Peter, again.
After they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Your teacher pays the double drachma tax, doesn't he?" He said, "Yes." When Peter came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tolls or taxes– from their sons or from foreigners?" After he said, "From foreigners," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. But so that we don't offend them, go to the lake and throw out a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a four drachma coin. Take that and give it to them for me and you." (Matthew 17:24-27 NET)
Again I say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God." The disciples were greatly astonished when they heard this and said, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and replied, "This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible." Then Peter said to him, "Look, we have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth: In the age when all things are renewed, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And whoever has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Matthew 19:24-30 NET)
Peter again is showing that his thoughts were “what is in it for my flesh.” Jesus again uses this opportunity to chasten in declaring that even though Peter was selected as the first apostle, he could find himself last. Only when Peter chooses to make himself the least of the apostles will he be ready to be their leader (Matthew 20:25,26;23:11. Mark 9:35;10:43,44. Luke 22:26).
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, pulled it out and struck the high priest's slave, cutting off his right ear. (Now the slave's name was Malchus.) But Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath! Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?" (John. 18:10,11 NET)
"Simon, Simon, pay attention! Satan has demanded to have you all, to sift you like wheat, (Luke 22:31 NET)
No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NET)
But Peter said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!" (Luke 22:33 NET)
Jesus said to him, "I tell you the truth, on this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." (Matthew 26:34 NET)
Jesus said to him, "I tell you the truth, today– this very night– before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times." (Mark. 14:30 NET)
Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? I tell you the solemn truth, the rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times! (John 13:38 NET)
When they had made a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. (Luke 22:55 NET)
But Peter was following him from a distance, all the way to the high priest's courtyard. After going in, he sat with the guards to see the outcome. (Matthew 26:58 NET)
And Peter had followed him from a distance, up to the high priest's courtyard. He was sitting with the guards and warming himself by the fire. (Mark 14:54 NET)
Simon Peter and another disciple followed them as they brought Jesus to Annas. (Now the other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, and he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard.) But Simon Peter was left standing outside by the door. So the other disciple who was acquainted with the high priest came out and spoke to the slave girl who watched the door, and brought Peter inside. (John 18:15-16 NET)
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A slave girl came to him and said, "You also were with Jesus the Galilean." But he denied it in front of them all: "I don't know what you're talking about!" (Matthew 26:69-70 NET)
Now while Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest's slave girls came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked directly at him and said, "You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus." But he denied it: "I don't even understand what you're talking about!" Then he went out to the gateway, and a rooster crowed. (Mark 14:66-68 NET)
The girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, "You're not one of this man's disciples too, are you?" He replied, "I am not." (John 18:17 NET)
In the Gospel of Mark, the rooster crowed the first time after Peter denied our Lord Jesus Christ the first time. I believe this was the way of escape provided by God. Peter could have realized then that he may have been willing in his spirit but his flesh was weak and betraying him. (Matthew 26:41) The peer pressure was greater than he could withstand. However, instead of taking the opportunity to recognize that additional failure is imminent and fleeing the tempting situation he stayed and failed three times. How many of us have been in similar situations? Situations where we thought we could resist the temptation and not go too far (e.g., drugs including alcohol, sex including adultery, lying including hyperbolizing, cheating including plagiarizing, etc.). In my journey to Christlikeness, I have learned that if you do not recognize and act on the "way of escape" given by God then you will not escape on your own!
Satan prompts a second person to identify Peter:
Then a little later someone else saw him and said, "You are one of them too." But Peter said, "Man, I am not!" (Luke 22:58 NET)
When he went out to the gateway, another slave girl saw him and said to the people there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazarene." He denied it again with an oath, "I do not know the man!" (Matthew 26:71-72 NET)
When the slave girl saw him, she began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them." But he denied it again. (Mark 14:69-70 a NET)
Meanwhile Simon Peter was standing in the courtyard warming himself. They said to him, "You aren't one of his disciples too, are you?" Peter denied it: "I am not!" (John 18:25 NET)
Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael (who was from Cana in Galilee), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples of his were together. Simon Peter told them, "I am going fishing." "We will go with you," they replied. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. (John 21:2-3 NET)
The following occurs after Jesus reminded them to forgive. Peter states he is going fishing and the others go with him showing that they have forgiven themselves and the others. Now the stage is set for Peter’s restoration. After every breaking comes the remaking!
Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael (who was from Cana in Galilee), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples of his were together. Simon Peter told them, "I am going fishing." "We will go with you," they replied. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already very early morning, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, "Children, you don't have any fish, do you?" They replied, "No." He told them, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they threw the net, and were not able to pull it in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" So Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, tucked in his outer garment (for he had nothing on underneath it), and plunged into the sea. Meanwhile the other disciples came with the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from land, only about a hundred yards. When they got out on the beach, they saw a charcoal fire ready with a fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said, "Bring some of the fish you have just now caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three, but although there were so many, the net was not torn. "Come, have breakfast," Jesus said. But none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John. 21:2-14 NET)
Peter had been a fisher of fish when Jesus called him but became a fisher of men (Mark 1:16-18). However, after denying Jesus Peter had returned to fishing I believe misguidedly thinking he had lost his place in the ministry (John 21:3. Luke 22:31,32. Romans 11:29). After His resurrection, Jesus set about to reconcile and restore Peter for indeed this is what the Kingdom of God is all about (Galatians 6:1. 1 Timothy 1:5). Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times so He asked Peter if he loved Him three times while He served them a breakfast of grilled fish that He had prepared. Again, three times Peter denied Jesus and now three times He will acknowledge Him.
"The two words [agapao (3) and phileo (4)] appear here side by side in contrast with one another, with the inevitable result that what is distinctive of each is thrown into relief. That anyone should doubt that the words are used here in distinctive senses would seem incredible prior to experience. The list of those who have expressed such doubt, however, is neither short nor undistinguished, running as it does from Grotius to Gildersleeve. It is, however, as Moulton and Milligan remark, "in so severely simple a writer as John it is extremely hard to reconcile ourselves to a meaningless use of synonyms, where the point would seem to lie in the identity of the word employed." In point of fact, our Lord does not put to Peter three times over the same question. Altering the question progressively, He drives the probe into Peter's conscience deeper and deeper." (6)
- Do you find me more precious than these other disciples find me?
- Do you find me more precious than these other disciples?
- Do you find me more precious than these fish
"Then when they had breakfasted, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, do you have a love for me called out of your heart by my preciousness to you, a devotional love that implies you to sacrifice yourself for me? Do you consider me more precious and thus love me more than these [fish]? He says to Him Yes, Lord as for you, you know positively that I have an emotional fondness for you. He says to him, Be feeding my little lambs." (John 21:15 Wuest) (7)
Three times Peter denied the Lord. Peter again struggles to say the right thing in front of his peers until finally in brokenness he proclaims that Jesus knows all things (i.e., Lord you know me better than I know myself).
"Our Lord uses "agapao" twice in John 21:15,16. Peter uses "phileo" three times. "Our Lord uses the noblest word in the Greek language the first two times and changes to Peter's word the third time, but assures Peter that his coming martyrdom speaks of the fact that his future love for his Lord will be based not only upon delight in the Lord but upon his apprehension of His preciousness." (5)
So, did Peter (i.e., Cephas John 1:42) immediately transform into someone that would not allow peer pressure to influence his love for our Lord?
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong. Until certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, "If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?" We are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners, yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. But if while seeking to be justified in Christ we ourselves have also been found to be sinners, is Christ then one who encourages sin? Absolutely not! But if I build up again those things I once destroyed, I demonstrate that I am one who breaks God's law. For through the law I died to the law so that I may live to God. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside God's grace, because if righteousness could come through the law, then Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:11-21 NET)
No, not immediately. Peter had to work out his salvation with fear and trembling even as we all do. (Philippians 2:12)
From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ's blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure! Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you, who by God's power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold– gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away– and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, because you are attaining the goal of your faith– the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:1-9 NET)
(1) Left click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) The Greek word translated as "curse" means to declare anathema or cursed, to declare one's self liable to the severest divine penalties. Therefore, Peter was calling down upon himself the severest divine penalties if his words were not true. The Greek word translated "swear" means "to take an oath." Therefore, Peter is denying any connection with Jesus and attempting to convince his accusers of the truthfulness of his words of not knowing Jesus by taking an oath. Wuest's Word Studies: From the Greek New Testament Vol. 3, Kenneth S. Wuest, ISBN: 0-8028-2280-0
(3) Agapao Love - ""Agapao" speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and approbation. The quality of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the object loved. Agapao is used in John 3:16. God's love for a sinful and lost race springs from His heart in response to the high value He places upon each human soul. Every sinner is exceedingly precious in His sight. "Phileo," (4) which is another word for love, is a love which is the response of the human spirit to what appeals to it as pleasurable, will not do here, for there is nothing in a lost sinner that the heart of God can find pleasure in, but on the contrary, everything that His holiness rebels against. But each sinner is most precious to God, first, because he bears the image of his Creator even though that image be marred by sin, and second, because through redemption, that sinner can be conformed into the very image of God's dear Son. This preciousness of member of the human race to the heart of God is the constituent element of the love that gave His Son to die on the Cross. The degree of the preciousness is measured by the infinite sacrifice which God made. The love in John 3:16 therefore is a love whose essence is that of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the one loved, this love based upon an evaluation fo the preciousness of the one loved." Wuest's Word Studies: From the Greek New Testament Vol. 3, pp. 60-62, Kenneth S. Wuest, ISBN: 0-8028-2280-0
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NET)
(4) Phileo Love -""Phileo" is a love which consists of the glow of the heart kindled by the perception of that in the object which affords us pleasure. It is the response of the human spirit to what appeals to it as pleasurable. The Greeks made much of friendship. The word was used to speak of a friendly affection. It is a love called out of one in response to a feeling of pleasure or delight which one experience from an apprehension of qualities in another that furnish such pleasure or delight. "Agapao" (3) on the other hand, speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in the object loved, an apprehension of its preciousness... Those who find pleasure in a lie and thus love it, will go to a lost eternity. Hypocrites find pleasure in ostentatious prayer and thus love it. Those that take more delight in father or mother than in God love them better and for that reason. Our Lord found delight in the response of the heart of Lazarus to His own and thus loved him. God has a love of delight in those whose love for Jesus is based upon their delight in Him. "Phileo" like "agapao" has it quality determined by the character of the one who loves and of the object loved. "Agapao" is a love springing from a sense of the preciousness of the object loved, while "phileo" arises from a sense of pleasure found in the object loved. When used in a good meaning, both are legitimate, but the first is the nobler word. ""Phileo" is used in John 16:27. The saints have a love for the Lord Jesus which springs from their joy in Him, a love of delight. The Father has a love of delight in the saints, for He finds in each saint the One in whom He takes delight, the Lord Jesus, and because the saints find their delight in Him also. Wuest's Word Studies: From the Greek New Testament Vol. 3, pp. 62,63, Kenneth S. Wuest, ISBN: 0-8028-2280-0
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. (John 16:27 NET)