Knowing even a bit the background of a person would make the conversation flow better. It helps to avoid the innocent remarks that may occur to embarrass one another. Having known a bit about the person's background is better than knowing nothing about the person because it helps us to behave appropriately towards the person to whom we are talking. It is the same for our faith in relationship to God. People saw Jesus differently and related to him accordingly. To find out what others thought of him Jesus asked Peter what do people say who was he? Peter told Jesus what he had heard people were saying about him. Jesus was insisting that Peter revealed of his own opinion, not to know about the mind of the man but to know about the presence of the Spirit of God of the man. Jesus was satisfied with what he was looking for. The question Jesus asked Peter now Paul wanted to know. Paul was in his Anti- Church mission to stop the spreading news that Jesus Christ who was crucified has risen from death. Paul was struck by lightning on the way to Damascus and felt off his horse and was left half blind. He heard the voice from on high asking him why are you persecuting me? Paul realized the crucified Christ had identified himself with His followers and because of this no one can kill Jesus unless they kill all Christians worldwide.
The two leading figures of the early Church who were so much different in personalities and were taking different paths in their missionary fields and yet both of them in their own way had so much to contribute to the growth of the infant Church. Both of them were sinners and both of them had experienced that God's love was powerful and would erase any of their sins when they asked for pardon. Peter had denied Christ three times and three times Peter confessed that he loved Jesus more than others. Paul was the persecutor of the infant Church before his conversion to Christianity and had no shame of telling others about the account of the Damascus. God forgave their wrong doing and they were proud to proclaim God's mercy and goodness. They both enjoyed the power of forgiveness and learnt from God to forgive those who harmed them in their missionary works. Both knew of their weaknesses and relied on the Spirit for strength when face with difficulties in life. Both had left their pass behind to follow the new path that Christ called them to be. Peter has left behind the fishing boat and the business and Paul had stripped off his high ranking of the Roman Empire to follow Christ.
Peter was the apostles for his own fellow Jews while Paul was the apostle for the gentiles. Jesus gave Peter another name that means The Rock. As the first leader of the infant Church Peter would stand firm on any of the spiritual or natural storms. Peter travelled very little while Paul travelled widely. Because the nature of his missionary works Paul was constantly on the move from town to town. Peter wrote very little while Paul was the writer of many books and letters of the New Testament. Both had suffered for their faith and imprisoned and faced violent death. Before the resurrection of Jesus Peter's faith was wavering. Sometimes he showed a strong faith; at other times he fell back to the prison of doubt and lost sight of Jesus. After his encounter the resurrection of Jesus, Peter The Rock, became the true hard rock. From the moment of encountering the Risen Christ Peter anchored his faith in the Risen Christ and even his violent death would not break that bond. He was able to see the living God through Jesus.