As my Facebook feed got flooded with Book Week images of my friend’s kids I thought about who I would go to Book Week as – Elizabeth Bennett, Gandalf, Bridget Jones? Then I thought maybe my favourite human character in the Bible – Peter.
For me, there is something dynamic and raw about Peter’s personality. It is so easy to identify with him because he is so utterly human. We see him opening his mouth at inappropriate times and saying outlandish things. One minute you find Peter promising undying devotion to Jesus, and the next he is standing in a courtyard swearing he has never even heard of Jesus.
There wasn’t anything particularly special about Peter. He didn’t have a fancy religious education, and he didn’t come from a rich or well-known family, he was a fisherman from Galilee – a town of no consequence in the scheme of the mighty Roman empire.
But what Peter did have was a closeness to Jesus – he investigated Jesus’ claims about himself, the world, and his Father. Peter challenged these, asked questions, listened, watched, and learned. Peter formed a relationship with Jesus – a real relationship.
That’s what Jesus wants all of us to do. Jesus wants a true relationship with us – one where we challenge, question, listen, watch and learn.
Jesus has shown us how he treats the seeker, the fallen, the questioners, the misfits -like how he treated Peter – sometimes with gentleness and patience, sometimes boldly but always with the goal of redeeming and restoring us into right relationship with Him and with others.
Like Peter, we all have moments of spectacular failure, but his story and the way Jesus treats him show us how Jesus is continually at work in our lives redeeming and restoring us.
Watching Peter’s relationship with Jesus unfold allows us to be more comfortable in our fallibility—and more courageous in our faithfulness.
The accounts of characters in the Bible give us a glimpse of what it means for ordinary people like you and me to follow Jesus.
Marsha Dale (Secondary College Chaplain)