It’s cliché that St. Peter stands at the gates of heaven letting people in or keeping them out. I believe, although one can never be too sure about origins of church traditions, this is because Peter was given “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
Peter is a huge person in Catholic Theology, their view that Peter was the first pope and they can trace the succession of popes back to him (even the pirate pope) is well-known.
Protestants (non-Catholics) have long viewed this as being hooey.
Since Protestants are humans and humans go to extremes, we have tended to minimize and bash Peter. Paul is our man.
Paul was indeed the apostle to the Gentiles, but lets not be too hasty in dumping on Peter.
Jesus meant something by saying “upon this rock I will build my church” to Peter. There are many mental gymnastics Protestants have done to prove that “the rock” here can’t be Peter. But any simple reading of the context will show that, yeah, Jesus meant Peter is the rock of the church.
In fact, Peter being the rock the church is built on helps us understand what Jesus meant by “the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
Recently I read a guy (can’t remember who, he’s dead, an old guy from a long time ago, so you can trust him), that Peter is the one who opened the door for the Gospel to the Jews in Acts 2:14, the door to the Gentiles in Acts 10:34, and the door to the Samaritans in Acts 8:4-25.
Before Peter had shown up to any of these groups, the after-resurrection and ascension Gospel had never been preached to them before.
It almost seems as though God got Peter to these people first for some reason. Perhaps it’s because Peter was the rock, the beginner, of the church, the one who would open the way for the Gospel?! This is almost like John the Baptist opening the way for Christ: John decreases just as Peter does, as Jesus and Paul respectively take over.
Even Paul says the church is built on the foundation of the apostles, and Peter was the chief one after Christ’s death.
Seems plausible, more plausible than a lot of other dumb theories I’ve heard.
Peter is the rock the church is built on. He took the keys and opened the way for the Gospel to the people of the world. Thanks, Peter!