He has three names: Simon the son of Jonah, Cephas, and Peter. He and his brother Andrew were fishermen. His brother knew Christ before him.
Simon began his acquaintance with Christ by way of his brother Andrew.
It was mentioned in the gospel of John about Andrew: “He first found his own brother Simon and said to him: “We have found the Messiah (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said: “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas [which is translated, (Peter), A Stone] (John 1: 40-42). We note that the three names came in a single verse.
Simon Peter became the first name among the twelve (Matt. 10:2). Rather he became one of the three who were very near to the Lord Christ.
They are Peter, James, and John, whom He took to the mount of the Transfiguration, and “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matt. 17:1, 2); and they saw with Him Moses and Elijah talking to Him..
The Lord took these three with Him in the resurrection of the daughter of Jairus from death. The gospel of Mark says about that: “And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James” (Mark 5:37).
These three are also those whom He took with Him to the garden of Gethsemane, in His agony before the crucifixion. The gospel of Matthew says about that: “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee…” (Matt. 26:37).
Hence, Peter, James and John had a certain familiarity by Christ. Therefore the apostle Paul considers Peter to be one of the three pillars of the church in the days of the apostles…
He says: “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcision”
The apostle Saint Peter loved the Lord Christ very much.
He loved His words and His instruction. Accordingly when some disciples returned back; and the Lord [said to the twelve: “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6: 66-68).
His love for Him was manifested in his words on Maundy-Thursday night.
When the Lord said to His disciples: “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night”, Peter with his well-known impulsiveness answered and said to Him: “Even if all are made to have to die with You, I will not deny You” (Matt. 26: 31-35). “I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33).
Verily, he denied Him three times, but is of weakness, and not out of lack of love.
A proof of this is that when the rooster crew, “he went out and wept bitterly” (Matt. 26:75). Another proof is that he answered the Lord after the resurrection: “You know that I love you” (John 21:17). The Lord accepted his repentance, and established him in his apostleship and said to him: “Feed My lambs”, “Tend My sheep” (John 21:15, 16).
The apostle Peter manifested great courage and boldness after the coming of the Holy Spirit.
The first chapters of the book of the Acts of the Apostles are nearly centered around the two apostles Peter and John; and narrate to us what they did in the building of the first Church, before the appearance of the apostle Paul.
We do not forget the strength of the apostle Peter in exhortation:
The effect of his sermon on the day of the Pentecost, which drew to faith nearly three thousand men who “were cut to the ear” (Acts 2:37), and were baptized; and likewise his sermon after the healing of the lame (Acts 3); and his courageous standing before all the chiefs and the priests of the Jews; and his unrestricted manifestation of his faith.
It is evident that he could recall from memory the psalms and the verses of the Bible.
He mentioned them in his profound interpretations. For example: what he said about Judas (Acts 1: 16:20); what he said on the day of the Pentecost; his quotation of what came in the book of the prophet Joel (Acts 2: 16-21); other quotations from the book of the Psalms (Acts 24-30)…all this in consequent verses. Add to this what he said on the day of the healing of the lame, and his quotation of the sayings of the prophets (Acts 3: 21-25).
The apostle Peter is astonishing in his recalling from memory of the verses of the Bible, and their use.
Examples of this are numerous. That is not the time to count them. We find the same situation in his two epistles which he wrote. It is the style of a man who filled with the spirit of the Bible, and with the soundness of the explanation of the words. He said: “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1: 20-21).
It was he who said: “I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder, that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets…” (2 Peter 2: 1-2).