Did Peter bet his life on Jesus having resurrected?

  • Clarifying the question

    Question: Was Peter willing to die in virtue of his belief that Jesus resurrected? Was he that confident? Was this a belief for which he was only willing to risk a little on being true, or was it something he was willing to risk his life on?

“Yes, after all…
  • Peter said “Jesus resurrected!” to crowds with stones

    Peter proclaimed “Jesus resurrected” to crowds of Jews with stones. This is relevant because as all the apostles knew, their lives were at risk in proclaiming this to the Jews.

    1. For example, Peter preached on Pentecost (Acts 2), virtually inviting martyrdom by stoning. The city of Jerusalem would swell three-fold during this festival as zealous Jews pilgrimaged to the city to celebrate Pentecost.
      Pentecost Speech: Acts 2:14-32 -- Peter, taking his stand with the eleven,… raised his voice and declared… “…all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known… Jesus the Nazarene, a man… you nailed to a cross … This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.”
      Temple Beggar Speech: Acts 3:12-15 -- at the so-called portico of Solomon… But when Peter saw this, he replied… , “Men of Israel,… God… has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you … put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.”
      First Arrest Speech: Acts 4:20 -- Peter… said to them [Annas... Caiaphas and John and Alexander], “let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. …for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
      Second Arrest Speech: Acts 5:29 -- Peter… answered, “We must obey God … [He] raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. … we are witnesses of these things; …”
      Cornelius Speech: Acts 10:34-42 -- Peter said: “… You know of Jesus of Nazareth, … We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, … to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify…”
  • Ignatius said so (c. A.D. 110)

    c. A.D. 110, Ignatius of Antioch reported that Peter bet his life on Jesus's having resurrected.1 This is relevant because Ignatius's beliefs about the apostles' deaths were warranted.

    1. Ignatius (c. A.D. 110): “…after the resurrection… when He came to Peter and his company …they touched Him, and they believed …Wherefore also they disregarded death,…” [To the Smyrnaeans 3:3]
  • Peter did end up dying for his faith

    Peter did end up dying for his faith. (We know this because most/all the apostles died over their belief in Jesus's resurrection, and because early Christians c. A.D. 70-200 all confidently believed he did1). Peter's dying for his faith is relevant because it confirms that Peter had been preaching and performing the above acts in an environment which was lethal, and it did end up killing him.

    1. Before reading the reports below, notice that this unanimous belief that Peter was martyred is relevant not only because the reporters in question were likely warranted in their belief, but because they expected their readers to find the report plausible and/or take it for granted, suggesting a sea of other potential reporters were already also in existence. Moreover, for each of the reports, remember that the authors in question believed their report before, perhaps long before, the date in which they finally authored their work.
      Peter's martyrdom is reported in multiple ancient sources between A.D. 70-200, including works by John, Clement, Origen, and more.
      The Author of The Gospel of John (A.D. 70-100): “[Jesus said to Peter] ‘…but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.’ Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.” [John 21:18][Note: If you believe in Jesus's ability to prophesy, you will see this as a prophecy of Peter's crucifixion. If you believe Jesus is not divine, you will sooner see this as a retrojected prophecy after Peter had already been crucified.]
      Clement of Rome (Before c. A.D. 97): “…persecuted and put to death. …the illustrious apostles. Peter… when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. [1 Clement 5-6 (1st letter to the Corinthians)]
      The Author of The Acts of Peter (c. A.D. 150-200): “Peter thus spake, and all the brethren wept, behold four soldiers took him and led him unto Agrippa. [who] commanded him to be crucified on an accusation of godlessness. 37 …[Peter said] I beseech you the executioners, crucify me thus, with the head downward… 38 And when they had hanged him up after the manner he desired, he began again to say:…” [(Gnostic) Acts of Peter 36-38]
      Origen (c. A.D. 185—c. 254): “[Peter preached in] Rome [and there was] crucified.” [Commentary on Genesis vol 3.] (Eusebius of Caesarea: "Peter appears to have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia to the Jews of the dispersion. And at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way. …These facts are related by Origen in the third volume of his Commentary on Genesis." [History of the Church 3.1]
      Pseudo-Hippolytus (c. A.D. 175-200): “Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania, and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with his head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner.” [“On the Twelve Apostles of Christ,” Ante-Nicean Fathers Vol. 5. 3]
      But, some might say, so what? This says he was “killed for political reasons” (Carrier) and this book contains “a tale which includes, among other things, a talking dog, a flying wizard, and the resurrection of a tunafish… [and that Jesus's] Resurrection was spiritual, not physical.”
      Caius, Presbyter of Rome (c. A.D. 290?) : “And I can show the trophies of the apostles. For if you choose to go to the Vatican…, you will find the trophies of those who founded this church.” [Fragments of Caius I]