I’m standing in the church built with a glass floor over an ancient house in Capernaum. The house was re-used as a fifth century church. Graffiti was found here, a Christian fish symbol. From early on this was thought to be the home of Peter. Even if the tradition was inaccurate, this was the village of Peter. It was also the home of Yeshua during the active years we read about.
Being here has brought me to a realization. I have under-valued Peter. The Protestant tradition has paid him little attention in the large shadow of Paul. I looked at some of Peter’s words today, words of a genius I need to discover.
There is the part of his famous Shavuot sermon: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Yeshua of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works . . . Delivered up according to the foreknowledge and plan of God, crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:22-23).
How did Peter grasp the mystery of divine plan and human cause all at once? Great minds ponder such things.
Or later he says: “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ (Acts 2:34).
Peter brilliantly used an argument he learned from his master. In Psalm 110, two Lords are mentioned. One is Israel’s God. Who is the other? The one greater than David must be Messiah.
Then there are words from a letter Peter wrote, 1 Peter 1:22-25. He quotes Isaiah about a word of the Lord. He identifies the word Isaiah spoke about. It is the word of the crucified and risen Messiah. That word is an imperishable seed. How rich is that thought: the word Isaiah spoke of, realized in Yeshua and the poetic image of a seed that cannot be destroyed.
The fisherman from this little Capernaum became a great writer and thinker. He must have been changed by his master. He represents to me the ordinary man captivated and changed by the wonder of Yeshua. If Peter, why not us?