Now that we have gone through the passage of Matthew 16:17-18, let us look and see if we can find evidence that the Church’s teaching is correct. Let’s first start with finding ample, Gospel evidence that Peter was first in authority among the apostles:
When they were named, Peter almost always headed the list – Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16.
Sometimes it was only “Peter and his companions” – Luke 9:32
Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles – Matthew 18:21; Mark 8:29; Luke 12:41; John 6:69.
Peter figured in many of the most dramatic scenes – Matthew 14:28-32, 17:24; Mark 10:28.
Now for after the Ascension:
Acts 1:15-16 – Peter stands up and tells the others that they must appointment to another who witnessed of the life, death and resurrection of Christ to replace Judas.
Acts 2:14-41 – After Pentecost, Peter stood with the Apostles and gave the first public sermon about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. After that he and the others baptized around 3,000 people that day.
Acts 3:1-4:4 – Peter was the first to work a public miracle, he cured a lame man, after which he preached to the people which brought about more converts.
Acts 4:5-21 – When questioned by the Jewish High Council, Peter defends in undismayed and impressive fashion the cause of Jesus and the obligation and liberty of the Apostles to preach the Gospel.
Acts 5: 1-11 – When a couple, named Ananias and Sapphira, attempted to deceive the Apostles and the people, Peter appears as judge of their action, and God executes the sentence of punishment passed by the Apostle by causing the sudden death of the two guilty parties.
Acts 5:12-16 - there is special mention of Peter, since it is recorded that the inhabitants of Jerusalem and neighboring towns carried their sick in their beds into the streets so that the shadow of Peter might fall on them and they might be thereby healed.
Galatians 1:18-20 - A confirmation of the position accorded to Peter by Luke, in the Acts, is afforded by the testimony of St. Paul.
Acts 12:1-18 – Peter was thrown into prison by Herod Agrippa I, intending to have him also executed; however, Peter was freed in a miraculous manner, and, proceeding to the house of the mother of John Mark, where many of the faithful were assembled for prayer, informed them of his liberation from the hands of Herod, commissioned them to communicate the fact to James and the brethren, and then left Jerusalem. As one can see from this verse, the Church still needed Peter’s guidance and leadership, so, by the grace of God, it was not yet Peter’s time to die.
So, there are some of the numerous examples that Peter was head of the Church after Jesus ascended into heaven. There are even more examples in Scripture of Peter’s leadership. To be sure, Peter was not perfect. He was human, and humans make mistakes; however, he still had the promise of Christ to be infallible in matters of faith and morals.
To be continued..........
***Note that much of this information is taken from Catholic sources, namely: New Advent Online Catholic Encyclopedia, EWTN website, and Catholic Answers.***