I was recently told by someone that Saint Peter was not the leader of the twelve apostles, but that they all lead equally. In this short blog I’d like to offer five reasons for thinking that this person, well intentioned as I’m sure he was, is absolutely wrong!
I wont be dealing with Papal infallibility. Click here to watch a short clip of my boss address that question.
Alright, you ready? Get those Bibles out. Here we go:
1. At the Top of the List
Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13). Sometimes the apostles were referred to as “Peter and those who were with him” (Luke 9:32).
2. Speaking for the Apostles
Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).
3. Shepherding Christ’s Flock
It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17).
4. Signs of Leadership
He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41).He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11).
5. Word Count
How many times do you suppose Peter is mentioned in the New Testament? 195 times! This is astoundingly high when you consider that the next most-mentioned apostle is John, who was mentioned 29 times.