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Background Considerations:

By all counts, the biblical treatments of the Apostle Peter, find him to be an intriguing character in the cast of disciples. Brash, arrogant, pushy, assertive, vocal, impatience, a grand-stander ­ these all come to mind from the portraits we have in the Gospels and Acts. The question with we concern ourselves here has to do with Peter’s experience and how it related to assurance.
Since we often associate some of Peter’s behaviors to insecurity, how much a role might this have played? Is it the case that apparent confidence might mask uncertainty and weakness? And, if so, might the story of Peter actually tell us more about assurance than we imagined?

Relevant Biblical Passages:

John 1:35-42 Peter, on encountering Jesus ­ Not much information here.
Matthew 16:13-20 Peter, on confessing Jesus ­ These verses have generated as much heat as light over the centuries, but they contain some significant things about Peter and about Jesus. What does Peter claim about Jesus in his confession? How much does this confession mean in terms of assurance? How does Jesus respond to it? Matthew 18:15-20 contains similar language to this passage. On what kind of people and their confessions is the church built? Everyone knows the church is founded on Jesus, but people make it up. What kind of people? Why is the account of this confession at the center of Matthew, Mark and Luke?
John 18:15-27 Peter, on denying Jesus ­ This account is truly poignant, given how often Christians find themselves doing the same thing and putting themselves in Peter’s place. This was desertion of the worst kind, when his friend needed him the most. Maybe when Peter needed Jesus the most? What does this part of Peter’s story tell us about assurance?
John 21:15-19 Peter, on being restored by Jesus ­ John 21 is sensationally rich in meaning and significance. It is here where assurance again finds a home with Peter, although not without some degree of pain in the process. What happens to Peter during this experience?
Acts 1-5 and 15 Peter, in leadership of the cause of Jesus ­ Now we find Peter the leader. Although not without his faults, he is seen as playing a significant role in the expansion of the early church.

Contributions to Study of Assurance:

What does the example of Peter contribute to a Christian understanding of assurance? Of the vulnerability of confidence? Of the triumph of trust and hope?

Lessons for Life:

For some reason, people identify with Peter quite easily. In what ways should his story find a way into the life of Christians and churches to bring about assurance?

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