Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 12, 2013

35. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 9 – Legacy

While touring scenic locations, have you ever noticed graffiti, such as Jason was here? Graffiti reflects a passion to leave a mark on this world, something to show for our time here. One resident of Capernaum left a rich and compelling legacy that has affected each follower of Christ throughout the centuries.

Crucifixion of Peter

Crucifixion of St. Peter
1426 painting by Masaccio

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 could have joined the Capernaum Chamber of Commerce. He and his brother Andrew were partners in a prosperous Capernaum fishing business with James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

Peter’s Legacy

Why should we be interested in a man who lived 2,000 years ago? How is Peter relevant today?

Peter left an impressive footprint in the Gospels and Acts, as discussed in previous posts in this series. The first post surveyed Jesus’ miracles 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. The eighth post featured Peter’s imposing bronze statue in Capernaum.

In addition to his footprints in the Gospels and Acts, Peter recorded a wealth of crucial advice that is directly pertinent for our lives today. Peter wrote,

“Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind.”
(2 Peter 1:12-15)

Peter was the author of two practical epistles in the New Testament, 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Moreover, he was the primary source for one of the Gospels, the book of Mark.

Peter’s Epistles

1 Peter presents Jesus as the preeminent example of suffering and rejection and urges believers to emulate His attitude and pattern of behavior. The theme of hope, which Peter introduces at the beginning, serves as a strong consolation throughout the epistle.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

2 Peter is full of encouragements to walk the walk, plus warnings against false teachers. Peter paints a vivid picture of the coming great and terrible day of the Lord, in which heaven and earth will be destroyed in a true Big Bang. He urges them to therefore live righteously. Peter’s description of the end times gives a sobering perspective, a sense of realistic proportion on what truly matters, to motivate godly living today.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! (2 Peter 3:10-12)

Peter’s Gospel – the Gospel of Mark

According to the church fathers, Peter was also the source for the Gospel of Mark, one of the four biographies of Jesus. Papias, writing around 125 AD, says that Mark wrote down his gospel from Peter’s sermons. He calls Mark “the interpreter of Peter.” Irenaeus, writing about 175 AD, says that Mark “delivered to us in writing the things which were preached by Peter.” Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome all attribute Mark’s gospel as coming from Peter.

The consensus of opinion of the early church was that Mark’s gospel was Peter’s testimony written down by his disciple Mark. Peter was likely very close to Mark, for it was to Mark’s mother’s house that Peter went when the angel released him from prison (Acts 12:12). (See Peter Escapes from Prison.)

Mark devotes half his book to the final journey to Jerusalem and last week of Jesus’ life (Mark 8:31-16:19). The first half covers the Galilean ministry (Mark 1:1-6:13) and the ministry outside Galilee (Mark 6:14-8:30).

Mark is a rapid-paced account of Jesus’ life. The word immediately (or straightway in KJV) occurs 40 times in the book as Mark leaps from event to event. He reveals Jesus through His actions without recording long teaching sessions as Matthew, Luke, and John do. This reflects the personality we see of Peter in the Gospels.

Mark packs his account with vivid eyewitness details from Peter’s memory. For example, in the account of Jesus stilling the storm on the Sea of Galilee, Matthew and Luke say Jesus was asleep when the storm arose. Mark adds the detail that He “was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.” All three say Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea. Mark adds what He said: “Hush, be still.” (Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25; Mark 4:35-41)

Peter’s Death

Church tradition says that Peter was crucified in Rome in 64 AD under Emperor Nero after the Great Fire of Rome.

Clement of Rome mentions Peter’s martyrdom in Rome in his letter of A.D. 95 to the church at Corinth. The Alexandrian scholar Origen (185–254 AD) wrote, “Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards,” because he did not consider himself worthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord had been crucified.

Questions to Ponder
  1. How does the living hope of 1 Peter 1:3-5 comfort you during times of distress?
  2. Which Gospel is your favorite and why?
    Is your personality like Peter’s so that Mark‘s active pace appeals to you?
    Or do you have a philosophical/theological bent so that John is your favorite?
    Or do you like Matthew‘s topical organization?
    Or do you prefer Luke‘s careful research and account written for Gentiles?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

This concludes the sub-series on the life and work of Simon Peter of Capernaum.
Read the eight prequels:
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
34. Hike the Bible – Peter of Capernaum 8 – Statue

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

Read the sequel:
36. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 4 …coming soon…

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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 12, 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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