In Peter, we see a run-of-the-mill, shockingly normal Christian disciple. Someone who really loves Jesus. Someone who really sins. Someone with whom God is really patient as they grow and mature, taking two steps forward then one step back, never near perfect but heading North as a general rule. Religious folks are a bit shocked that Jesus picked Peter as the leader of early Christianity. But, for the rest of us who know we are a mess for our Messiah, Peter is the kind of leader we can relate to. Peter is a Christian like the rest of us. Peter’s imperfections are endearing, and his progress is encouraging. In the life of Peter, we learn that even though life is odd, God is good. God does perfect work through imperfect people.
One of the best ways to get to know someone is to find out about their family and hometown. This same principle is true of getting to know people in the Bible.
Peter is a real person who really lived roughly 2,000 years ago. Archaeologists are confident that they have excavated his home, and I travelled there some years ago with my wife Grace and our five children, who were young at the time. There, we learned a bit about his family and hometown.
Harper’s Bible Dictionary says, “Originally named Simon, Peter was a Galilean fisherman (Mark 1:16; Luke 5:2; John 21:3), the son of John (Matthew 16:17; John 1:42; 21:15–17) and brother of Andrew. According to a tradition detailed in John 1:35–43, the brothers came from the village of Bethsaida (John 1:43; 12:21) and had been disciples of John the Baptist before they became disciples of Jesus. Peter was married (Mark 1:29–31; 1 Cor. 9:5). He is said to have owned a house in Capernaum (Mark 1:29).” (1)
Like ordinary folks, Peter had a hometown, worked a job, grew up in a family with parents and siblings, got married, and spent his life living and working not far from where he was born. Everything in his life was normal, until He met Jesus, and then everything changed. The same is true of each of us.
(1) Paul J. Achtemeier, Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature, Harper’s Bible Dictionary (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985), 776.
To download the free e-book ODD LIFE: Good God which is a study in 1 Peter for individuals, groups, and families from Pastor Mark click HERE. To listen to Pastor Mark’s 9 sermons on 1 Peter preached in the summer of 2020, click HERE. These and other resources are made possible by our ministry partners who support Real Faith as a Bible teaching ministry of Mark Driscoll Ministries to whom we say THANK YOU!