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Matthew 8:14-15 is testimony (again) to Jesus’ divinity and compassion, but it also reveals important historical background about Christ’s foremost disciple, Simon Peter. It’s because of this Scripture (along with Mark 1:29-34, Luke 4:38-41, and 1 Corinthians 9:5) that we know with certainly Peter was married, and that he lived in a home in Capernaum as patriarch of his extended family (as was customary in ancient Israel).

So what do we know about Peter’s nameless wife?

Scripture tells us that she traveled with Peter on his preaching and teaching journeys (1 Corinthians 9:5), and that her mother lived in the house she shared with Peter and his brother Andrew’s family (Mark 1:29-34). Beyond that, we have the testimony of tradition which indicates that she was the daughter of Aristobulus, a co-worker of the Apostle Paul and brother to Paul’s first missionary partner, Barnabas. It’s also likely she was, at least in part, a role model in Peter’s mind when he wrote his now-famous advice on the character and conduct of husbands and wives in marriage (1 Peter 3:1-12).

Tradition also tells us that she was imprisoned with Peter at the time of his martyrdom—and that she, in fact, was murdered just before he was. Perhaps that was intended by his captors as additional cruelty for Peter, to be forced to watch his wife painfully endure execution for her faith in Christ. Regardless, Bible historian Herbert Lockyear recalls the traditional stories of their final moments this way:

When death came, his [Peter’s] wife was martyr first, and as she was led out to die, Peter comforted her with the words, “Remember the Lord.” When Peter’s turn came he begged his crucifiers to crucify him head downward, feeling he was unworthy to die in exactly the same way as his Lord. In heaven, Peter and his loyal wife shine together as stars for having turned many to righteousness.

 

Works Cited:

[AWB, 220; WWW, 38]

 

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