Friday, July 15, 2011

Peter: Introduction

This is the first small segment of my Peter story, titled "Simon, Who is Called Peter." If you want to read the whole thing, you can email me or comment on this post. I will be attempting to self-publish through Amazon for the Kindle and other e-readers at the end of the summer. Enjoy!

Rome, 50-60 AD
“I will soon leave this tent,”[1] I whisper, as I do every day upon awakening in this prison cell. And a cold, wet tent it is—it is always damp in these cells. I rise slowly, and as I pull myself up with shaking hands I am reminded—I am old. Soon, I think, what the Lord told me will come to pass.[2] The scars from years of fishing pull at my palms as I raise them up to pray, and I say the words that the Lord Jesus taught us so many years ago: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” I’d heard the Father’s voice, once, on a mountain, the day Moses and Elijah came and talked with Jesus. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread…” And he did. Every day, the food came—of course, it wasn’t really bread, but still sufficient. “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I swear that I do not know the man! Simon, son of John, do you love me? Yes, Lord, you know I love you. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.”
            I lower my eyes and my hands, both raised towards heaven, and look around the small cell. There isn’t much to look at. A stone slab, both for sitting and sleeping. A pot in one corner. And in another corner a pile of papyri, the oldest of them already starting to decay in the perpetual damp. Letters. Paul is here, somewhere, in Rome—I have not been allowed to see him. Mark and Silvanus have, however, and they have brought me copies of his letters. The Spirit of God has given him great wisdom. He is like the prophets of old—bold, inspired, and often confusing. Mark would often have questions about them when he came to visit me, and I would do my best to answer them with the words God gave me.[3]
            Mark. My son. He was with me for a long time, listening to my preaching, writing things down (a fisherman seldom needs to write).[4] He and Silvanus helped me write my letters to the church.[5] He is gone, now, gone with Paul’s disciple Timothy. Silvanus, too, has gone. Luke is still in Rome, though, and he visits me to talk about the Lord in his days on earth.[6] He, like Mark, is always writing things down. He says it is important to get the account from “eyewitnesses,” as he calls them, so that it will be trustworthy and accurate.[7] That is good. 
            There is not much to do in this prison cell. I am unable to leave, and now that Mark has left, I do not receive many visitors aside from Luke, and he does not come as often now. I understand why Paul writes so many letters—doubtless part of it is to keep the boredom at bay. I do not have that option, so I spend most of my time thinking, and praying, and remembering my time with Jesus. It is all so clear, in my mind, every memory fresh and crisp—like the smell of the sea early in the morning. Like when Jesus came to us, when all of it was just beginning, and we were only fishermen.

[3]2 Peter 3:15-16. Peter displays more than a passing familiarity with Paul’s letters. That he can say Paul does the same thing “in all his letters” means, presumably, that he has read them all, and that he acknowledges they cause confusion implies he has experienced people being confused by them.
[4]Tradition has Mark as the translator and scribe for Peter. Many scholars now dispute this, but Bauckham (Eywitnesses 125) and Hengel (Underestimated Apostle 47) see evidence for it, not only in the tradition, but in the way the gospel of Mark is constructed.
[6]2 Timothy 4:11 places Luke in Rome and Mark with or near Timothy. If Luke was in Rome at this time, it is likely that he would have visited Peter and recorded his account of Jesus.

Note: the footnotes seem to be messed up for some reason. I don't know why.

Update: Rather than self-publish, I was able to go through an actual publishing house, resulting in Simon, Who Is Called Peter! The result is a much more polished and researched book, and you will definitely enjoy it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment