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Introducing Peter

Peter was a fishing businessman based in Bethsaida (John 1:44). He had partnership with James and John (Luke 5:10) and they had people working with them in the business (Mark 1:20). They were probably in the upper circles of businessmen as John was known to the high priest in Jerusalem, even though he lived in Galilee. Known well enough for the servant girl in the high priests house to obey him John 18:15. Also John’s gospel is written in brilliant Greek showing the John knew the language well and could write well.

If this be so how do we understand Acts 4:13 which calls them uneducated? It probably means that the had not been to the theological schools of Jerusalem and their education would have been in the synagogues and local learning.

They were residents in Galilee, which was a cosmopolitan area, being on the trade route from the north (Assyria, Babylon, Persia) to the south (Egypt and beyond). Also the Assyrians after their conquest of the region had brought in a lot of people from outside and settled them there (2 Kings 17:24). Because of this Isaiah refers to the area as Galilee of the Gentiles in his prophecy in Isaiah 9:1. Because of the long rule of Syria over the region, the language they spoke was Aramaic (Aram = Syria) and because of trade they spoke Greek.

Unlike Jerusalem which was a Jewish backwater, off the trade route, this was at the crossroads of history, with a meeting of ideas from many areas. A comparison for India would be the contrast between Varanasi or Ayodhya and Mumbai!!

John the Baptist’s testimony

Peter’s journey begins in the gospels with his brother Andrew, who was follower of John the Baptist and his ministry at the banks of the Jordan river in Judea. The John the Baptist points to Jesus and tell his disciples, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). John further testifies, “I saw the Spirit of descending from heaven like a dove and He remained on Him” (John 1:32).

What did John the Baptist mean by saying that Jesus is the ‘Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world’? Most of the sacrifices in the book of Leviticus were bulls and rams and ewes. But for the sin offering in Leviticus 4:27-35, a lamb is used, and this could be what John the Baptist is referring to – Jesus as the sin offering taking away the sin of the world. The other lamb is the Passover lamb which gives protection from the judgement of God. Probably, John the Baptist meant both these ideas in referring to Jesus as the Lamb of God.

Andrew’s encounter with Jesus

Andrew response to John the Baptist’s statement was to go and ask Jesus where he was staying, probably so that he could visit with Jesus at some time. He addresses Jesus as Rabbi (john 1:38), and that was his understanding of Jesus at that time – a Teacher. Jesus tells them (Andrew and John the apostle) come and see, and they go with Jesus and probably spend the evening with Jesus. Immediately after that, Andrew goes to Peter and tells Peter, we have found the Messiah (John 1:41)!

See the change in Andrew’s understanding of Jesus, when he spends time with Jesus. Many people want to understand Jesus first before surrendering their life to Him. Usually, it is the other way round. You come to Jesus and give your life to Him and you will understand Him. It is better for people to taste Jesus than to try and intellectually understand Him.

If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus as yet, because you do not understand Him or His message, do not worry. Just come to Him and it will all become clear. An illustration I use is that you can make a mathematical model of the solar system with earth as the centre and everything else revolving around it in complicated orbits. It would be very difficult to understand. But you make the sun the centre, and it becomes easy and clear. As long as you are the centre of your thinking you find it hard to understand. Make Jesus the centre and it all falls into place.


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