This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series: ‘Teaching Techniques of Jesus’ (Horne)
Herman Horne notes that the Gospels present the disciples as individuals, and Jesus as treating them, and training them, as such.
Recall the characteristics of Peter and the way of training him used by Jesus.
The records represent Peter as having what William James calls “the precipitate will,” that is, he was impulsive, rash, impetuous, bold, of the motor type. Perhaps his foil in all these respects was Thomas. Peter’s name usually heads the list of the disciples, though he was not the first called. His leadership seemed natural. He was the regular spokesman for the group, not that he had been so delegated. It was Peter who answered for all the decisive question: “Whom say ye that I am?” On the mount of transfiguration he wanted to build material tabernacles for spiritual beings. He alone would prove that the appearance on the water was Jesus by walking out to him. He it was who began to rebuke Jesus for proposing to submit to suffering. He alone of the disciples protested against his feet being washed by Jesus. Most stoutly of all he affirmed he would not deny Jesus. He rashly drew his sword and uselessly cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest in the Garden. Though John outran him to the tomb, Peter was the first to enter. He cast aside his garment and swam ashore to meet his recognized and resurrected Lord. These are some of the things that show the kind of man Peter was.
How did Jesus develop Peter?
- He called him to a difficult task—to catch men alive. Such tasks help to tame impetuous natures.
- He gave him a new name—in the Hebrew Cephas, in the Greek Peter—signifying what he wanted him to become.
- He visited him in his Capernaum home and healed a sick member of his family.
- He placed heavy responsibility upon him, giving him “the keys” making him the group leader.
- He allowed him to do an adventurous thing and fail— trying to walk on the water. Not that Peter, being a fisherman and a swimmer, should have felt a panic of fear at beginning to sink.
- He rebuked him: “Get thee behind me, Satan,” a rather humiliating address to one who had just been made the keeper of the keys.
- He corrected his reliance on physical force: “Put up the sword into the sheath.”
- He warned him concerning the denial: “Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Was this really a warning or a statement of a predestined fact?
- After the denial Jesus forgave Peter and re-commissioned him. The resurrection angel mentioned Peter especially by name: “Go tell his disciples, and Peter.” The repeated commission given Peter: “Feed my sheep,” “feed my sheep,” “feed my lambs,” bound Peter again in personal loyalty to his Lord.
Teaching Techniques of Jesus, pp145-147.