Question:

When did Jesus meet Simon? Was it when Peter’s brother Andrew asked Him to come see the Messiah (John 1:35-42)? Was it when Jesus healed Peter’s mother in law (Luke 4:38-43)? Or was it next to the sea of Galilee (Mark 1:14-20)? Thanks!

Answer:

Jesus met Simon (later known as Peter) when Simon’s brother Andrew introduced him to the Messiah. When Jesus entered Peter’s house in Luke 4:38-43 it appears to not be the first time he met Peter. I have never heard anyone claim this was the Simon’s first encounter with Jesus. It seems in the Luke passage that Jesus was entering the home of someone he know.

The scripture that can be confusing in this connection is Mark 1:14-20. Unlike Luke 4:38-43, it appears, at first glance, as if it were the first time Jesus met his future apostle. "As he was passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother…" However, the passage does not say that this was the first encounter. If we think about the situation, common sense says that it is not likely Peter would leave his family and career the first time he met the roving teacher. More likely he would have met Jesus and considered the meaning of his life and ministry before leaving everything to follow him. Mark 1:14-20 leaves the question of whether this was the first encounter open, but it is most reasonably (but not completely convincingly) thought of as not being the first meeting of Simon and Jesus.

The context of John 1:35-42 seems to seal the deal. This is unambiguously described as the first meeting between Simon and Jesus. The event is described as happening immediately after Jesus’ baptism. This encounter is what caused Andrew and Simon to turn from John the Baptist to becoming disciples of Jesus. In this scene they are not said to have commited to follow Jesus wherever he went, but simply hung out with him for a time. I believe that the events in Mark 1:14-20 happened a few days or a few weeks or possibly even a few months after John 1:35-42. More likely than not, Luke 4:38-43 happened still later, as it seems that at this time Peter was already part of Jesus’ roving band of followers.

John Oakes

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