“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ…”
This is how this book, the biblical book, of first Peter, begins. To those of you that wonder what the heck is going on here – I’ve been systematically going through every book of the Bible. If it strikes you as strange, I would argue that I’ve been doing this biblical walkthrough much longer than I have done anything else on this site. Recently I spent half a year walking through my top 25 underrated mindjob movies – a HALF YEAR! Hahah. Well this series has been going on for longer than five years. Five years I have been impacted by the atheist that began going through the Bible, book by book, just sharing his random thoughts. And I figured, if he could do it, so could I.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes… ‘Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.’ This phrase stops me cold. It’s the opener, and it might as well be the closing.
Peter, the man that is considered the first pope of the Catholic Church, could possibly be one of the least likely Godly men on the planet. Simeon, as he was originally known, was a Jewish fisherman, and possibly a washed out disciple of another prophet. At the time, young boys memorized the Old Testament (The Testament – what have you – World War I? The Great War?) from start to finish. And if the Rabbi chose them, they were selected to become his disciples. But Simeon, he was a fisherman. So he had already washed out in his attempt to be a Rabbi’s disciple. Already failed. Don’t worry, it won’t be Peter’s last failure.
He would later go on to be the disciple most likely to swallow his foot whole. In my research, I saw time and again, Peter interacting personally with Jesus – but perpetually cluelessly confused. Take the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus had taken Peter, James, and John with him to the top of a mountain. And as they arrived, Jesus was “transfigured before them; his face shining as the sun, and his garments became white as light.” Now, whether you are a Christian or not – consider this. The Bible states that Jesus is God. And at this moment in history, the Christ, revealed himself to be God. Glowing glory – shining like the sun. And there, joined with him, was the prophet Elijah… oh and by the way Moses wandered by. And Jesus, Elijah, and Moses just start chatting. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know what they were gabbing about? Like, wouldn’t that be cool to know what the God of the universe and two of the most extraordinarily storied individuals in the Bible were talking about together. Oh, and by the way, Elijah and Moses are dead. You caught that right? The have apparated out of nowhere, and are now talking with God in the flesh… it’d be cool to know.
Oh, by the way, have I mentioned that we actually have an account of what they talked about? Did I forget that bit? hahah. It’s mentioned in the Luke account of the story actually! They talked to Jesus about His exodus in Jerusalem. Wait, His what? The Greek actually means His decease or more often translated as His departure. So the three of them were talking about His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Moses and Elijah are aware that the entirety of Christ’s goal for His time on earth was to create a bridge back to God for mankind. And that could only be done by His work on the cross.
Oh, and what does Peter do amidst one of the most crazy conversations ever recorded in history? As Moses and Elijah are fading back out of the scene, Peter jumps in with his FANTASTIC architectural plan for the top of the mountain. “So, yeah, I think we totally need to build three tents to remember this occasion – one for the Christ, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Could he have been trying to keep the wonder twins of Moses and Elijah there a little longer? Was he really wanting to build a memorial to them? Or was he filling the void of silence? Peter!? But before Peter finished, a bright cloud appears, and out of the cloud, a voice emanates: “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” And when the voice hits them, the disciples fall to the ground. And when Jesus approaches them, He tells them not to be afraid. And when they look up, Moses and Elijah are gone… and with them, depart Peter’s three-tent-plan for the mount.
Oh, and Peter, while walking on the water, falls under – forcing Jesus to intervene and save him. He also drew his sword in the mount of olives when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, and cut one of the soldier’s ears off. He was going for his head. Obviously. But then Jesus, stepped in, and intervened on Peter’s behalf. He picked the man’s ear up, and healed him. Otoplasty today – which is ear cosmetic surgery – with modern technology, takes close to 3 hours. Christ picked this man’s ear up and placed it back on like he velcroed it back on. Fast forward a few hours? And Peter denies he knows Jesus three different times – which was RIGHT AFTER he said that he would go with Jesus to Jerusalem and die with Him if he had to.
The guy is a literal mess. Which…… kinda reminds me of myself.
What is 1 Peter All About?
A thousand words in to 1 Peter and we are six words in. Hahahah. The book is written to the Christians scattered around Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. These were Roman provinces within the area of Asia Minor. The recipients were urged to “live in reverent fear during the time of your exile”. Exile from where? Well, Jerusalem. Or, to give it a double meaning, exiles from heaven… a Christian’s true home. But it is true, the Christian church at that time had encountered enormous hostility from the locals of the region. But Peter encourages them to maintain their loyalty to both their faith as well as (fairly surprisingly) the Roman Empire (1 Peter 2:17).
This letter talks a lot about steadfastness under oppression and hostility. Most of the first two chapters talk about this. He then goes on to talk about the Christian’s duties for the Christian believer. Patience, holiness, and the roles of pastors. My own personal favorite verse from the book of 1 Peter is from chapter four verse eight. “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
But most of all, I love the fact that a teen, an uneducated fisherman, was selected by God. A brash young man. A man so outspoken as to constantly be chewing on his sandals. A man so unflinchingly stupid, that he found himself talking on top of Moses and Elijah returned from the dead. A man so passionately clueless that he sank out on the water with Jesus. He was just so filled with fire, and clueless hope, that when Jesus asked him if he would leave him along with the crowds, he said, “Where would we go? You alone have the word of eternal life.” (John 6:68). And that is where I am in my walk… so passionately filled with clueless hope that I too say, where else can I go? You alone have the words of eternal life.