Why all the attention for Peter?
Peter is the Rock on which Jesus built His Church. It is clear from Scripture that Peter had a special commission and special powers from Christ to care for the flock of Christ, to bind and loose, and to confirm his brothers in faith – indeed he had the very powers of the Keys to the Kingdom. Obviously, these powers were essential to the Church as constituted by Christ. And Christ promised to be with the Church always to the end of time, and said that the powers of hell would not prevail against it.
Why shouldn’t Christ’s personally chosen Supreme Vicar of His Church not be portrayed as such? There is much to learn about St Peter.
Already, Peter had exercised his supreme authority in the upper room before Pentecost to have Judas’ place filled. At the first Apostolic Council of Jerusalem Peter settled the heated discussion over circumcising the gentiles and “the whole assembly fell silent” (Acts 15:7-12). Paul made sure that his ministry to the gentiles was recognised by, Peter (Gal 1:I8).
Peter often spoke for the rest of the Apostles (Mt 19:27; Mk 8:29; Lk 12:41; Jn 6:69). The Apostles are sometimes referred to as “Peter and his companions” (Lk 9:32; Mk 16:7; Acts 2:37). Peter’s name always heads the list of the Apostles (Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13). Finally, Peter’s name is mentioned 191 times, which is more than all the rest of the Apostles combined (about 130 times).
After Peter, the most frequently mentioned Apostle is John, whose name appears 48 times. Peter is conspicuously involved in all the Church’s important “firsts.” Peter led the meeting which elected the first successor to an Apostle (Acts 1:13-26). Peter preached the first sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:14), and received the first converts (Acts 2:4 1). Peter performed the first miracle after Pentecost (Acts 3:6-7), inflicted the first punishment upon Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic Simon the magician (Acts 8:2 1).
Peter is the first Apostle to raise a person from the dead (Acts 9:36-4 1). Peter first received the revelation to admit Gentiles into the Church (Acts 10:9-16), and commanded that the first Gentile converts be baptized (Acts 10:44-48).