2 Peter 1:1
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ…
We have, in the career and the fame of St. Peter, an extraordinary instance of a man rising from obscurity to renown. A Galilaean fisherman became the leader of the college of apostles, and has for centuries been acknowledged by the whole of Christendom as one of its inspired teachers and counselors; whilst by a great part of Christendom Peter has been regarded as the chief human head and ruler of the Church, first in his own person, and afterwards by those considered to be his successors. It is certainly very remarkable in how very many respects Peter stands first among our Lord's apostles. Confining ourselves to the scriptural narrative, disregarding all traditions, and giving no heed to superstitious claims, we cannot but admit the many evidences of St. Peter's primacy.
I. PETER WAS THE FIRST AMONG THE LITTLE GROUP OF CHOSEN DISCIPLES ADMITTED TO WITNESS CHRIST'S GLORY. Peter was the first-mentioned of the three who saw the transfigured Son of man upon the holy mount; and it was he who, as the spokesman of the others, exclaimed, "It is good for us to be here."
II. PETER OCCUPIED THE SAME POSITION AMONGST THOSE CHOSEN TO TESTIFY OF THE SAVIOUR'S HUMILIATION AND AGONY. Ill the garden of Gethsemane, Simon was one of the same band of three whom Jesus kept near to himself; and his prominent action in his Master's defense is proof of his admitted leadership.
III. PETER WAS THE FIRST OF THE APOSTLES TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE LORD'S MESSIAHSHIP AND DIVINITY. It was his exclamation, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," which called forth the Lord's approval and original blessing, "Blessed art thou, Simon," etc.
IV. PETER WAS THE FIRST TO PROCLAIM THE SAVIOUR'S RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. Paul himself records that the risen Redeemer first appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. "The Lord hath risen indeed, and hath appeared unto Simon," - such were the joyful tidings which circulated among the little company during the resurrection-day.
V. PETER WAS THE FIRST, AFTER THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO HIS FELLOW-MEN. Upon the Day of Pentecost he stood up, and in the name of the brethren published to the multitude the explanation of the marvelous events of that day. As the chief speaker and representative of the Church, he proclaimed, not only the facts of the Resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit, but pardon and salvation through the redemption which Christ had wrought.
VI. PETER WAS THE FIRST AMONG CHRISTIAN CONFESSORS TO ENDURE AND TO DEFY THE RACE OF THE PERSECUTOR. The storm broke upon the loftiest oak of the forest. Peter was naturally selected by the enemies of the faith as its most public and powerful representative, that he might be made to feel their power. But his attitude and language proved that he was conscious of the presence and support of One mightier than all those who were opposed to him.
VII. PETER WAS THE FIRST AMONG THE TWELVE TO WELCOME BELIEVING GENTILES INTO THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. The case of Cornelius, the circumstances attending the "Council of Jerusalem," are sufficient proof of this. Although the "apostle of the circumcision," it is plain that Peter was in fullest sympathy with that Divine move-meat of expansiveness which was to represent Christianity as the religion for mankind, and Christ as the Saviour of the world.
VIII. PETER WAS THE FIRST CONCERNING WHOM IT WAS FORETOLD THAT HE SHOULD SUFFER A DEATH OF MARTYRDOM FOR THE LORD WHOM HE LOVED. Jesus himself forewarned him of the fate which was before him, and even signified what death he should die. He who counted it an honour to fulfill his Lord's will, and to proclaim his Lord's grace and love, when the time came, counted it a joy to share his Master's reproach and to bear his Master's cross. - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: