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Bible Stories (last update: 2010. 5.

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0. The Story of Peter


Matthew: 17:24~27 1. Its a miraculous event. First, lets look at the situation of that time period. i.

Jesus came to Judea as the Messiah promised in the O.T: Christ Jesus
came as a human being, a pure young man. As the Word of light to those who were sitting in the darkness and as the healing hand of love to the sick, Jesus delivered messages of salvation and love.

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But people didnt recognize him. They were indifferent to his truth and
judged him as they pleased. They called him the king of demons or described him, Lustful! Sinful! They hated him and tried to kill him. However, he was the Savior of love whom mankind had been longing for and the Messiah prophesied in the O.T.

iii.

A tax-collector pressed Jesus to pay the temple tax.


<2 Chro. 6:2> Jesus revealed himself to be the true owner of the Temple, but they failed to recognize himwho was greater than Solomonthe King of kings, and the Son of the King, whom the prophets and Moses had talked about. Instead, they pressed him to pay the temple tax. Temple tax: <Exo. 30:13>

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Jesus told Peter to pay the tax in order not to offend them. Jesus
compared himself to the son of a king who didnt have to pay tax. But in order not to offend the Jews, he asked Peter to get a shekel from the mouth of a fish and pay the temple tax. Peter went out, threw a line and caught a fish. He opened its mouth and got the coin which the fish was holding in its mouth. With that, he paid the temple tax. This is another famous miraculous event that shows Jesus omniscience and omnipotence.

2. What kind of a person was Peter?

i.

A fisherman who was pure, optimistic, and bold.


He was born in a poor family, so he became a fisherman, which was a low class occupation. All that he had was a tiny boat. He had thick sideburns. His skin was seriously tanned and he gave an ignorant and rough first impression. But he was pure and nave, he was optimistic, and he had guts as a fisherman.

ii.

He had a good heart and good personality.


On the day he met Jesus, Peter was very tired because he stayed up the night before, without catching even one fish. He just had a day of bad luck. He was gathering the net to go home when he met Jesus, who asked him to lend his boat! The boat was precious to him, even though it was only a shabby little boat. Even though he just had a bad day, he let Jesus use his boat and he even stayed to listen to the Word that Jesus preached. Through this, it is clear that Peter had a good heart and great personality. Realistically, he was so tired that he wanted to go home. He didnt want to stay. He didnt know who Jesus was at all. But because Peter normally did not look down on others but respected them, he had a day when his fate changed because of his good heart.

iii.

He listened and accepted the Word well.


Peter met Jesus like a coincidence. Based on the personality he had polished through his daily life, he met a man of honor. He met the Messiah in the route of his daily lifethe Sea of Galileewhere he was frequenting everyday. Therefore, we need to be good in our daily lives. Peter also realized that he wasnt hearing the Word by chance. He heard it and took the Word as something pertaining to himself and something that had great impact on himself. If Peter had caught a lot of fish the night before, it might have been difficult for him to lend his boat to Jesus. Naturally, he might not have been able to realize the Will of God that he realized through Jesus sermon. The message of Jesus that was religious yet very realistic touched Peters heart and stopped him from his way. Peter listened to Jesus Word without even realizing he was hungry and how much time passed. On that day, Peter completely surrendered his life to Jesus.

iv.

Peter was a man of determination and action.


When Jesus told him, Now, be a fisher of men, he left everything behind and obeyed the Word of Jesus. He adored the Lord more than anyone. Peter became a man of action, who followed and obeyed the Lord.

v.

He confessed Jesus to be Christ.


It took 3 years for Peter to realize Jesus correctly. When he confessed, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, and the Messiah whom mankind has been waiting, Jesus looked at him and said, Simon, Bar-Jonah, you are truly

blessed. Your name will be Peter, that is, Rock, and I will give you the key to the kingdom of heaven. Your name will shine forever. Later, he became a person like a rockhis name. vi.

He denied Jesus three times and confessed [his love for] him three times.
While following Jesus, Peter had many days of hunger, hardships, and tearful moments. But the most heart-wrenching event to him was that he denied Jesus three times, whom he always laughed and wept together and who loved him so much. But Jesus came to him again and made Peter confess [his love for] Jesus three times. (John 21)

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Peter preached the gospel and brought many lives to Jesus. He evangelized, even being thrown into prison and boldly preached the gospel, as the flame of his love for Jesus led him from the recesses of his heart. He said, You have the words of eternal life. To whom shall I go? He knew the value of the Lord and his truth. Peter realized the value of salvation so deeply that he evangelized 3,000 people, even though he would be imprisoned. He was the first disciple and an apostle of Jesus. He was the leader of the early church and followed the Lord with a never-changing heart. He lived his life as an apostle, leaving no reason to regret. He was the leader of the early church and wrote the First and Second Peters. He was martyred during the persecution against Christianity around A.D. 60. It is said that he delivered the gospel and showed the love of the Lord by smiling even at the moment of death. He died hung on a cross upside down. This way, Peter was the first disciple who followed Jesus to the end. He did not deny the Lord and to the end, he followed the path of death, the path of cross.

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3. How does the current theology view this event? Introduction of some commentaries. Calvin: I agree that Christ was poor. But he was not poor to the point that he couldnt pay the tax. It happened in the way in order to reveal that his power over the creation was greater than his royal authority. Park Yoon Sun: Knowing which fish was holding a coin was omniscience and pulling up that fish was omnipotence. We dont know how big the fish was. So that miracle can be proved to be true. Matthew Henry: His power was displayed when he pulled the coin out of the fishs mouth. Whether he had put the coin in the fishs mouth with his omnipotence, or whether he knew where the money was with his omniscience, the

conclusion is the same. Anon.: Peter sold fish and prepared one shekel. 4. Then what was the fish that Peter caught? The Bible is the greatest commentary book. The Bible contains with questions and answers. Therefore, a mystery of the Bible needs to be unraveled within the Bible. <Is. 34:16> i. After meeting with Jesus, Peter became a fisher of man. <Mat. 4:19> <Luke 5:10> When he met with Jesus, Peter put aside his life-time occupation as a fisherman and became a fisher of men who caught people but not fish. He became a great apostle of the gospel, who caught up to 3,000 people in one day. Since his meeting with Jesus, he lived and died while fulfilling his mission of gospel only. Therefore, it was not that Jesus had told him to go and catch a fish. Then what was the fish that Peter went to catch that day? <Amos 4:2> <Jer 16:16> <Hab 1:14> <Mat 13:47> The fish that Peter caught that day was also a person who was compared with a fish. Even if you go and ask from minnows to whales or sharks, all of the fish will say that they dont have money but human beings have money. Everything was spoken as parables: The king was God, the son was Jesus himself, other people were regular people, the ocean was the world, the fishing line was the Word, and the fish was a person. It was not that Jesus told Peter to go out to the ocean, but to go to the ocean of the world and catch a person by the Word, and get one shekel from that person. In conclusion, the event of that day had nothing to do with catching fish. Peter moved someones heart with the Word and that person paid the tax [for them.] God worked through people this way. When we open the eyes of truth and the eyes of faith, we can witness God always helping us this way. 5. We need to understand Gods literary expressions given through the parables in the Bible.

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We use various literary expressions. Some people say, Oh, its refreshing, when they enter a hot tub. This needs to be understood by reason. If you take it literally, it is a forceful and ignorant interpretation. A walnut cookie looks like a walnut but it may not contain walnut. A fish bun has the shape of a fish but it does not have a fish in it. A bowl of hand-cut noodles, called knife-noodles, does not contain a knife in it.* Things are symbolic and people use those names because of their looks or similar characteristics.
{These examples make sense in Korean. In other languages, lecturers are encouraged to find fitting examples of their own languages-GC}

In this way, the Bible needs to be understood by symbolism or parables in many places. When the parables of the Bible are correctly understood, the interpretation does not upset readers. The miracle that happened on that day was actually a wonder that can absolutely happen even to us today. It was reasonable for such a thing to happen.

6. Lets see other parables and symbolism used in the Bible. <Ezek. 20:49> <Psal. 78:2> The Bible contains many examples of people compared to animals or things. i. Dog <Psal. 22:16> King David compared King Saul and his soldiers who always pursued him with dogs. <Rev. 22:15> Those who dont realize the value of truth are compared to dogs or pigs. Dogs cannot enter heaven. This is not about actual dogs, is it? It refers to those who repent for their filthy or ugly deeds, but do it again and again. Swine <Mat 7:6> Swine stands for the Jews who trampled on the Word, and argued and challenged instead. Swine is an unclean animal of greed, foulness and avarice. It feeds on rotten water and chaff. It does not appreciate its owner. It only eats and grows fat. It has a big head but is not smart. It doesnt do anything that benefits human beings except when it leaves meat after it dies. No one should be like this swine. Donkey <Ezek. 23:20> A lustful person is compared with a donkey. Tree <John 15:5> Jesus called himself a vine.

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The core of parables is human being. If the Bible says, a dog, it refers to a person like a dog. If it says, a bull, it talks about a person like a bull. If it says, a snake, it refers to a person like a snake. v. Stone <Isa. 28:16> A stone here refers to a person, who has solid faith like a stone. It is Jesus. <1 Pet. 2:4> <Rev. 2:17> Jesus who conquered is compared with a white stone, and it means that those who triumphed in faith and righteousness can have the Lord. Eagle <Isa. 46:11> The Messiah, Jesus was compared to the eagle, the king of the air. It means the will of God would be fulfilled through Jesus. The eagle is the king of the air: Jesus is the king not only on earth but in heaven also. The eagle has vision with which it can see even thousands of kilometers away (over 2,000 miles), it can smell carcasses 12 kilometers (over 700 miles) away, and it can locate carcasses really well. Likewise, Jesus goes to those who are spiritually dead and saves them with the gospel. Just as the eagle has excellent vision, Jesus sees through peoples minds and spirits with his eyes like flames. Two wings of the eagle are so powerful that they can break the neck of a lion. It means that Jesus wings of authority are so powerful that they can break all iron scepters as well as Satan. The eagles heart is so strong that when a storm hits, it flies up to 10,000 feet or higher and flies in the blue sky. Likewise, the mentality and thoughts of the Messiah are as strong. So even through tribulations, he flies up above the world and shines even more brightly. The eagle flies over borders of nations. Jesus is indeed the king of kings, the Christ who goes beyond times and borders. In this way, the Bible uses various parables about people.

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7. Lessons and application i. You need to know parables and symbolism of the Bible Unless you understand the parables of the Bible, you cannot know the deep will of God. If you forcibly interpret them, your faith will be groundless. We should shun literal faith or miracle-centered faith. Instead, we should have faith of action by verifying what we believe. Also, we should correctly learn and know the Bible that holds the will of salvation and [knowledge] of the Messiah Jesus. The biggest miracle is to meet Jesus and receive salvation of life.

ii.

The fish in the main scripture was not a real fish but a person whom Peter evangelized. In this way, the miracle of that day was a miracle of life evangelism. The omniscience and omnipotence of Jesus was not that he made a fish caught with a coin in its mouth. His power was that he had a person caught and gave them salvation with the gospel. Peter who was a pitiful life before meeting Jesus became a great apostle through the gospel. Later, he even became the first pope of Christianity. This was a true miracle. We should perform miracles by saving ourselves and saving others. iii. Once we hear the Word of eternal life and realize the Lord, we should live a life of determination as Peter did. Peter was not a person of theory. After he met Jesus, he left his work that was sustaining his life. He then followed the Word of eternal life and the Lord. Its not an easy thing to leave life-time occupation and follow the will of heaven. But after he realized Gods will and made up his mind, he did not look back. He boldly walked the path of Gods will. He certainly had many difficulties that he had to endure. But because he followed with action to the end, he became [one of] the most miraculous persons in history. He became the leader of his time period, the first disciple of Jesus, and a model of faith. We should be people not of theory but of realization of truth and action by following the truth. TR: Grace Cho (Bible Story0. Story of Peter. 2010.5)