Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 5, 2013

34. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 8 – Statue

What city boasts a three-foot-long key? How does such a gigantic key relate to your own church? Read on to find out!

Statue of Peter in Capernaum

Statue of Peter in Capernaum

Our virtual hike through Galilee has reached the ruins of Capernaum, the home base for Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 4:13). It was one of the most prominent towns of Jesus’ life.

Capernaum is mentioned 16 times in the Gospels and was the site for much of His teaching and many of His miracles. Matthew calls Capernaum Jesus’ “own city.”
(Matthew 9:1; Mark 2:1)

Capernaum’s most famous homeowner was the Apostle Peter (Mark 1:21,29), the leader of the disciples and of the early church. The ruins of Peter’s house have been excavated in Capernaum. Peter and his brother Andrew were partners in a prosperous Capernaum fishing business with James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

This is the eighth of a series of blog posts on Peter. The first post of the series introduced Peter and surveyed the miracles of Jesus that involved Peter personally. The second one used Peter’s own words and works from the Gospels to illustrate his exemplary character and the impact of his choices on others.

The third, fourth, and fifth posts looked at Peter’s courageous leadership and bold witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus based on Peter’s words and works recorded in Acts. The sixth post discussed Peter’s escape from Herod’s prison. The seventh post discussed Peter’s pivotal role at the Jerusalem Council.

Peter’s Statue

Looming 12 feet tall near the entrance to Capernaum, an imposing bronze Statue of the Apostle Peter actually weighs a ton! As pictured above, he has a fish at his feet, a staff in his left hand, and the aforementioned gigantic key in his right hand. Peter was a fisherman and a fisher of men (Matthew 4:18-19; Mark 1:16-17).

The inscription on the foundation stone of the statue is “THOU ART PETER AND UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH. MATTHEW 16:18”. This portrayal of Peter standing on rock holding the “key to the kingdom” is based on the following passage of Scripture:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)

Jesus promised to build the church upon the rock of Peter’s confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Peter’s clear testimony distinguished him among so many who had misunderstood or disbelieved Jesus. Peter kept a clear head and a heart of faith. He was not misled by the prevailing popular notions that Jesus was a re-appearing leader such as John, Elijah, Jeremiah, or another prophet.

It was an amazing thing for Peter to confess––that this man Jesus with whom Peter had walked all over Galilee, a man whom Peter had seen day and night––was in fact “Christ, the Son of the living God.” No wonder Jesus said that it was not revealed to Peter by human agency, but revealed by God the Father.

Peter’s Sculptor

American sculptor Charles L. Madden (1934-2012) of Pennsylvania created the statue of Peter. It was dedicated by Pope John Paul II in March 2000. This massive bronze figure stands in the Meditation Garden located between the synagogue where Jesus taught and the house where Peter lived in Capernaum.

Madden was a renowned artist who created numerous works for major corporations and institutions worldwide. For the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, he created a 28-foot sculpture of Mary from bronze, stainless steel, and enamel. He created a 40-foot work for the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, as well as sculptural panels for the American Consulate in Cheng Du, China and for King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.

He used diverse media to express his art: sketches, painting, stained glass, sculpture, tapestries, and mosaics. He co-founded Madden Barron & Barron, a graphics design and advertising firm with major accounts countrywide. Madden actually founded a total of four com­mer­cial art firms in the Phila­del­phia re­gion.

At the time of Madden’s death on May 7, 2012, he was working on a large bronze sculpture of Moses to be placed on Mt. Nebo in present-day Jordan. Mt. Nebo was where Moses died about 1400 BC (Deuteronomy 32:48-52; 34:1-8). Madden was survived by his wife of over 55 years, Mary Teresa (Barron) Madden. Madden gave special honor to his wife by listing her name with his on the base of the massive Peter statue in Capernaum.

Longer than your arm, the massive bronze key that Madden sculpted for Peter is an impressive spectacle. Its impact should be a memorable visual aid so that we never forget Jesus’ important message: Peter’s confession—that Jesus is the Christ, the chosen One sent from God the Father—is the essential, unalterable foundation of every true church. Jesus promised to build His church Himself, concerning which He affirmed, “The gates of Hades shall not overpower it.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Do you agree with Peter’s reply to Jesus?
    Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
    Why do you agree or why do you disagree?
  2. What factors about Jesus do you think led Peter to this conclusion?
  3. What did Jesus mean by these words to Peter? “Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
  4. If you had lived in Peter’s day, what would have been your response to Jesus? Would you have been a Peter, or a skeptical Pharisee, or a disinterested Roman soldier, or a puzzled farmer, or who?
  5. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Read the prequels in this sub-series on the life and work of Simon Peter of Capernaum:
27. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 1
28. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 2
29. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 3 – Heals lame man (with videos)
30. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 4 – Ananias & Sapphira (with videos)
31. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 5 – Dorcas & Cornelius
32. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 6 – Escape from Prison
33. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 7 – Jerusalem Council

Read the sequel:
35. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 9 – Legacy

Soli Deo Gloria.

The Hike the Bible series is currently covering points of interest along two hiking trails through Galilee, the 40-mile Jesus Trail and the 39-mile Gospel Trail. These two trails re-create possible routes Jesus likely traversed during His sojourns in Galilee.

This is the thirty-fourth installment in the Hike the Bible series reviewing major hiking trails in the Lands of the Bible and commenting on associated Biblical sites, events, and personages along those trails.
Read the prequels:
1. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail (with video)
2. Hike the Bible – Gospel Trail (with video)
3. Hike the Bible – Jesus Trail vs. Gospel Trail
4. Hike the Bible – Nazareth
5. Hike the Bible – Zippori
6. Hike the Bible – Mash’had
7. Hike the Bible – Cana (with video)
8. Hike the Bible – Roman Road
9. Hike the Bible – Via Maris
10. Hike the Bible – Horns of Hattin
11. Hike the Bible – Sermon on the Mount
12. Hike the Bible – Arbel Cliffs
13. Hike the Bible – Magdala (with video)
14. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene
15. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene, Lady or Tramp?
16. Hike the Bible – Mary Magdalene & the Resurrection
17. Hike the Bible – Sea of Galilee
18. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee
19. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee 2
20. Hike the Bible – Jesus at the Sea of Galilee 3
21. Hike the Bible – Jesus Boat
Palestine Park
22. Hike the Bible – Why Capernaum?
23. Hike the Bible – Capernaum Archaeology
24. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum
25. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 2
26. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 3
27. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 1
28. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 2
29. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 3 – Heals lame man (with videos)
30. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 4 – Ananias & Sapphira (with videos)
31. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 5 – Dorcas & Cornelius
32. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 6 – Escape from Prison
33. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 7 – Jerusalem Council

Read the sequel:
35. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 9 – Legacy

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday June 5, 2013 A.D.

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23)


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Responses

  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.

    Like


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