Summary: This is a first person sermon given as Peter the apostle
Peter The Apostle
- Set decorated with netting – fishing equipment, rope
- Starts off with Peter sitting and mending nets – the sound of surf and sea gulls in the background
Greetings. Please excuse me as I finish these last few knots. Seems that no matter how many times I fixed these nets, they always need mending again. If you’re a fisherman – one thing is certain – if you go fishing your nets are going to need mending – even if you don’t catch anything. All it really takes is a piece of drift wood or a rock on the bottom. If it isn’t attended to the whole thing unravels. And when you do catch fish – the strain on the net sometimes tears holes and of course it needs repairing. I guess in a way these old nets are a kind of metaphor for life – it just unravels unless someone knows how to tie up the loose ends.
Well it’s actually been a long time since I’ve had to do this. Even though it’s a tedious task, I actually kind of miss it. I miss all of it. The early mornings, the sour muscles, the smell of the ocean, and the fishy smell of the water-logged boards in the boat, the sound of the birds calling overhead. It’s what was familiar to me – more than that it was my very life. I know it might sound strange to some of you but the smell of fish and the rise and fall of a heavy rocking sea felt good to me – it was my comfort zone. It was a fisherman’s life. Yes it was a hard life – but it was a good life as well. It was all I’d ever known. That is until I met Jesus – he changed my life - he changed my future – he changed everything about me. But that’s what he does, isn’t it? Once you really meet him – you can not stay the same.
Now as you already know, my name is Peter – well actually my name is Simon Bar Jona, which in your language means Simon, Son of John. People know me by many names: Cephas – which means rock or stone. Simon Peter, which is a combination of my Hebrew name and the Greek translation of my name. I was born in the fishing village of Bethsaida. The land of Palestine was then divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria and Galilee. Judea whose capitol was Jerusalem lay furthest south, Samaria next to it, or in the middle and Galilee in the north. As I’m sure that you are award - the major feature of the northern province of Galilee of course is the Sea of Galilee. Fed from the north by the river Jordan, the Sea of Galilee is about 15 miles long and about 8 miles broad. On the northeastern shore of the Sea, not from Capernaum, stood Bethsaida – positioned right where the Jordan flows into the Sea. The Bethsaida means, Fisherman’s City. Though in truth it was more of a village than a city. My father Jona was a fisherman in this village as was his father before him. Fishing was all my brother Andrew and I had ever known. From the time when we were small my father would take us with him, teaching us what would become our livelihood. I was born about 15 years before Jesus was born. In fact I was the oldest among the chosen 12. A fact that I and they were well aware of. Besides chiding me from time to time over the issue of my age – they commonly looked to me for guidance and leadership when Jesus was not around. I have always been a person who takes charge when others might normally hesitate or drawback – I am a risk taker – my Heavenly Father has created me that way. This may have caused some of you to think of me as impetuous and impulsive. A label which I perhaps deserve. But nonetheless I became chief among the apostles.
I grew up among common hard working people. I lived a commoner’s life and had a commoner’s education. We didn’t have schools or books as you now have readily available to you – Nor did we even have professional teachers. Our parents and our grandparents were our primary guides and instructors – our education was geared towards the more necessarily elements of a tradesmen’s life. I grew up bilingual, which was common for people in our trade – the world in which I lived was both Jewish and Greek. In our home we commonly spoke Hebrew and in the marketplace, we often spoke Greek. Many people regarded fishermen as uneducated and untrained. But I was not illiterate. Every child in my village received a simple education through the village synagogue. I learned the stories and history of our people. Every Sabbath we were instructed in the Word of God and the great traditions of our people. We have a great history – filled with wonderful accounts of how God had given us our land and proved His faithfulness to us time and time again. At an early age I began to apprentice with my father. It was very common to follow your father’s profession as you grew into a young adult.