The Characters of Easter: Simon Peter

Day 3 of 10 • This day’s reading


I think a lot about those simple words Andrew said that day. We have found Him. I think of my own father, who heard these words from my aunt who watched when an evangelist named Billy Graham spoke them to her on TV. My father walked that aisle in 1971 in Chicago and changed the trajectory of his troubled family. I’m here today, writing about Easter, because my father heard those words and said them to a young Jewish girl who would become his wife, a mother who would tell her son one day: We have found Him. 

John preached. Andrew listened. John pointed to Jesus. Andrew found. This is how the gospel reaches you and it reaches me. God sends someone to us: a voice on the radio, a discarded tract, a persistent friend. 

Simon didn’t know it, but his life story was being written before he was born. It began miles away in tiny Bethlehem thirty years earlier, when an impoverished carpenter and his wife pounded on the doors of an inn, begging for a place to give birth to their baby. Simon’s story began when an aging priest named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, miraculously conceived and bore a child born to be a prophet. Jesus, John the Baptist, and Simon would converge, not by accident or fate, but by the silent fingers of God. The fullness of time was coming to bear down on an unsuspecting young fisherman. 

And it was on the day Simon reluctantly followed that the entrepreneur fisherman became, in Jesus’ words, Peter—meaning “rock” (Matt. 16:18). Yes, the one who had to be dragged to Jesus would become a pillar of God’s new creation movement in the world, would be written into salvation history as one of the twelve Apostles, and would write two letters that would become Holy Writ. 

Jesus’ closest companions, tasked with the founding of the church, would not be drafted from the finest rabbinical schools or from among the educated scribes or the bluebloods in Herod’s court, but would be plucked, like so many of Israel’s leaders, from the ranks of the common. The kingdom of God seems to travel away from the places of power and toward the unheralded, the unseen, the unqualified. The carpenter King, born in poverty on the backside of nobility, seeks His followers among those whom the world does not see.