Peter: Bully to Humble Leader?

John Barnett

Peter is a hero, in fact he is actually above that – he is a true superhero to millions around the world this day.

But Peter, when found by Jesus, had all the marks of a bully. He was loud, brash, direct, and hard to intimidate. He was probably strong and big. He also was quite good at what he did, and seemed successful. He was a natural leader, and drew people’s loyalty. But he was also selfish, unclean, and hard headed. All that together makes a bully. But Jesus changed Peter. And from that moment on, whenever Peter was in Christ's Presence he was different. But sometimes in weakness, Peter would go back to what he was like before.

Then Peter was given awesome spiritual responsibility. All that strong personality added to big influence and power make for a very dangerous combination. It is so good that Peter did not want to be anything but Christ's servant. Peter is really one of the greatest examples of humility in God's Word because he gave up so much potential power and prestige – for so much pain and suffering as a servant of Jesus Christ.

Remember what Peter wrote at the end of his life? It is one of the most moving and powerful tributes to a man who was dominated by a passion to serve. Peter declares that he is no better, no greater, and no more powerful than anyone else. He was just a servant.

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4)

Taken from "The Gospel Explained by Peter" by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).

Originally published August 31, 2010.

Editors' Picks

  • "The Bible Has So Many Contradictions!"
    "The Bible Has So Many Contradictions!"
  • Is it Biblical for Christians to Get Tattoos?
    Is it Biblical for Christians to Get Tattoos?
  • How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?
    How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?