This author said “Simon (Συμεὼν) Peter (Πέτρος), a servant (δοῦλος) and an apostle (καὶ ἀπόστολος) of Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ), to those (τοῖς) who have received (λαχοῦσιν) a faith (πίστιν) as precious as ours (ἰσότιμον ἡμῖν) through the righteousness (ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ) of our God (τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν) and savior (καὶ Σωτῆρος) Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ).” Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that this word appears in 2 Peter, ἰσότιμον, that means held in equal honor or equally privileged. This is like the greeting in 1 Peter, but there are a few differences. The name is Simon (Συμεὼν) Peter and not just Peter as in 1 Peter. Like Paul, he called himself an apostle of Jesus Christ, but he also called himself a slave or servant as well. This is a more obvious allusion to Simon Peter, the leader of the twelve apostles. However, this author does not mention any specific places that he was sending this letter to, like those mentioned in 1 Peter in Asia Minor. Instead, this is a more generic letter to those who have received a precious faith through the righteousness of God and the savior, Jesus Christ. He seems to equate God with Jesus Christ, the savior. What do you know about Simon Peter?
This verse is unique to Luke, since the prediction of Peter’s
denial does not come until after they are in the Mount of Olives area in Mark, chapter 14:29, and Matthew, chapter 26:33. However, this was at the Last Supper here in Luke and in John, chapter 13:36-38, where Jesus told Peter that he could not
follow him. Luke indicated that Jesus said to Simon (Σίμων Σίμων), not calling
him Peter, that he should listen (ἰδοὺ) because Satan (ὁ Σατανᾶς) was going to
sift him like wheat (ἐξῃτήσατο ὑμᾶς τοῦ σινιάσαι ὡς τὸν σῖτον). Luke
used two Greek words that are not found in any other Greek biblical
literature. First there was ἐξῃτήσατο, to ask for oneself, demand,
or beg earnestly. Then there is the word
σινιάσαι, meaning to sift, prove by
trials, or winnow. Thus, Satan was demanding Peter to do
something and control him, as if he were wheat grains. Only Luke
here talked about Satan entering into Simon Peter, much like Judas Iscariot, since
he was like harvested wheat grain. Do
you believe that Satan has ever tempted you?
Luke indicated that Jesus asked his disciples (εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς) who did they say that he was (Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι)? Peter answered (Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς) that he was the Messiah, the Christ of God (εἶπεν Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ). This same question and response of Peter can be found in Matthew, chapter 16:15-17, Mark, chapter 6:29 and John, 6:69, but all slightly different. Mark said that Jesus was questioning his disciples who was it that they thought or said that he was. Jesus thus put them to the test. This was not about what others said or thought, but about their understanding of Jesus. Who did they think Jesus was? Mark said that Peter replied to the generic question of Jesus immediately. He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel. Matthew indicated that Jesus asked his disciples who they thought or said that he was. Was he the Son of Man or someone else? Simon Peter replied to the question of Jesus immediately. He said that Jesus was the Christ or the Messiah that they were expecting in Israel. Jesus was the son of the living God, not just merely the son of God. Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus. For the first time, Jesus was called the Christ, the Messiah. Here Peter, in the name of the nascent Christian community, proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ. Are the Greek “Christ” and the Hebrew “Messiah” the same? Matthew was the only one who had Peter say that Jesus was the son of the living God. Matthew was also the only one that mentioned the special relationship that Peter had with his Father in heaven. However, Peter gave a strong positive response in all four versions. Matthew also had Jesus respond to Peter, but that was not in Mark or Luke. Jesus said that Simon was blessed, because flesh and blood or humans had not revealed this saying of his, but Jesus’ heavenly Father had done so. Thus, Peter had a special relationship with the Father in heaven. Peter, as the leader of this new group of Jesus followers, asserted this important belief about Jesus. Matthew, more than any of the other gospel writers, emphasized the role of Peter as the leader of the early Christian community, the disciples, and the apostles of Jesus. Who is your human Christian leader?
Luke said that the last two apostles were both called Judas (καὶ Ἰούδαν), the son of James (Ἰακώβου), and Judas Iscariot (καὶ Ἰούδαν Ἰσκαριὼθ), who became a traitor (ὃς ἐγένετο προδότης). These last two are problematic for different reasons. One of these names is similar to Mark, chapter 3:18-19 and Matthew, chapter 10:4, Judas Iscariot, who was on all 3 lists of apostles, with some unfavorable comment about him as a traitor. However, he was excluded from the list in the in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13. As far the other Judas was concerned, there is some more confusion, since he does not appear in Matthew and Mark, who only list a Thaddeus. Luke and the Acts listed him as Jude or Judas, the son of James, not Thaddeus. Are these two-different people or just two different names? Is this Jude Thaddeus like Simon Peter and Levi Matthew? Did he have both a Jewish and a Greek name?
Luke said that Levi got up (ἀναστὰς). He left everything (καὶ καταλιπὼν πάντα). He followed Jesus (ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ). Both Mark, chapter 2:14, and Matthew, chapter 9:9, said almost the same thing. They said that Levi got up and followed Jesus without any need to explain why or how he was doing this. At this point in other two gospels, Levi or Matthew was the 5th named apostle after the brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, and the Zebedee brothers James and John. However, for Luke, he was only the 4th, since Luke did not mention Andrew at all.
Luke has a simple statement compared to Mark and Matthew. He said that when these fishermen had brought their boats to land (καὶ καταγαγόντες τὰ πλοῖα ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν), they left everything (ἀφέντες πάντα). They followed Jesus (ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ). This is like Mark, chapter 1:19-20, or Matthew, chapter 4:19-20. There Jesus said to them to come and follow after him, since he was going to make them fishers of human people. They immediately left their nets and followed or accompanied Jesus, like an Israelite prophetic call, since Jesus had spoken directly to these two men. He issued an invitation that seemed like a command at the same time. They followed after Jesus, no matter what. Like the Hebrew prophets, their response was immediate, without any hesitation. They left their fishing nets, as both Simon Peter and Andrew, his brother, became disciples of Jesus. The other two brothers, James and John left both their boat and also their father Zebedee. However, in Luke, there was no mention of Andrew, the brother of Simon, or any direct formal call to these fishermen. The results were the same. There were either 3 or 4 new full disciples of Jesus.
This section about naming the 12 apostles is similar to Matthew, chapter 10:3-4, and Luke, chapter 6:14-16. This list can also be compared to the list in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1:13. Except for Matthew and Andrew, the other 6 apostles are not mentioned by name elsewhere in the gospels. Andrew (καὶ Ἀνδρέαν), the brother of Simon, is first here, but without being called his brother. Then there was Philip (Φίλιππον), Bartholomew (καὶ Βαρθολομαῖον), Matthew (καὶ Μαθθαῖον), not called Levi, Thomas (καὶ Θωμᾶν), James, the son of Alphaeus (Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ἁλφαίου), Thaddaeus (καὶ Θαδδαῖον), Simon the Cananaean (καὶ Σίμωνα τὸν Καναναῖον). Obviously, this Simon may have not been Jewish since he is called a Cananaean. Sometimes, this may have been a reference to the Zealots. In Mark 2:14, Levi or Matthew was called the son of Alphaeus as James is here. However, Thaddaeus was only listed by Matthew and Mark, while Luke and the Acts listed him as Jude or Judas, the son of James, not Thaddaeus. Are these two-different people or just two different names? Is this Jude Thaddeus like Simon Peter and Levi Matthew? Did he have a Jewish and a Greek name?
Luke, chapter 5:27-28, and Matthew, chapter 9:9, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this event. However, there are some significant differences. Matthew called this man Matthew instead of Levi, his Jewish name. Luke followed Mark in calling him Levi. Matthew and Luke did not mention his father, but Mark did. It is strange that Matthew did not mention the name of his father. Jesus was walking along (καὶ παράγων), when he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus (εἶδεν Λευεὶν τὸν τοῦ Ἀλφαίου), sitting in his tax office, toll booth, or tax booth (καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον). Jesus simply said to him (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ) to follow him (Ἀκολούθει μοι). Then Levi got up and followed him (καὶ ἀναστὰς ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ) without any need to explain why or how he was doing this. At this point in the gospel of Mark, as in the other gospels, Levi was the 5th named apostle after the brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, and the brothers James and John.
Once again Mark and Matthew, chapter 4:20, are almost word for word. Mark introduced two new disciples, John and James, the fisherman sons of Zebedee. Zebedee might have been successful since he was explicitly mentioned and he seemed to own a boat. Jesus apparently had just left Simon Peter and Andrew a short distance away (Καὶ προβὰς ὀλίγον). Once again, Jesus saw two other fishermen brothers (εἶδεν Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάνην τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ). These two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, James and John, were in a boat (καὶ αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ) mending the fishing nets (καταρτίζοντας τὰ δίκτυα), not casting them out to sea. Luke, chapter 5:10, indicated that these two sons of Zebedee were partners with Simon, so that they may have shared a boat or boats.
What is a gospel? Who is Mark? The musical play “Godspell” that opened on Broadway in 1971, was based on the Old English ‘godspel.’ Like the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, this Germanic based word gospel means good news or good tidings. This term originally meant the Christian message itself. However, in the second century, it came to be used for the books where this message was set out. Thus, the gospels became known as the written accounts of the life, actions, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. This Gospel of Mark is anonymous since there is no explicit mention of a named author within the text itself. This title (Τὸ κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον), however was added some time in the second century, perhaps by Papias of Hierapolis (60–130 CE), an early bishop and apostolic father.Traditionally, this work has been ascribed to John Mark, the companion of the apostle Peter, who may have transcribed the teachings of Simon Peter. This John Mark was the son of a widow named Mary as indicated in Acts, chapter 12:12. He also accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys, since he was also the cousin of Barnabas, as indicated in Colossians, chapter 4:10. However, he left Paul and Barnabas for some unknown reasons in Acts, chapter 13:13. Today, most scholars agree that his anonymous Gospel ofMark was the first written gospel, probably written between 66–70 CE, during Emperor Nero’s persecution of the Christians in Rome or the Jewish revolt. Thus, the authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark with a second document called the Q source. This short Gospel of Mark was written for a gentile audience in a simple Greek style that is often called “street Greek.” This Greek style is thus vivid and concrete showing a very active Jesus with less teaching or preaching. Mark explained Jewish traditions and translated Aramaic terms for his Greek-speaking Christian audience who would not have understood them. Some suggest Rome as the origin of this gospel since there are some Latin terms. Others have suggested Antioch, the 3rd largest city in the Roman Empire. This author may have been influenced by Greco-Roman writings, but all his references are from the Jewish Greek version of the Septuagint Bible or the Old Testament.