I’d always identified more with the Apostle Paul than Peter. A proud intellectual, “a Jew of Jews,” Paul was dragged blinded and befuddled into the Kingdom by the risen Jesus, who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Now that I could relate to! But Peter? A mouthy fisherman with a yellow streak.
But then I was asked by a Hollywood production company to develop the storyline for a motion picture based on the life of Peter. I was astonished at what I discovered: more than anyone else in the Bible, this broken, redeemed fisherman shows us who Jesus really is.
So I adapted the (unproduced) film story into six monologues (The Simon-Peter Chronicles), now regularly performed at churches throughout North America. Unlike Peter’s public New Testament writing, these monologues are a (dramatized) personal memoir, his “Confessions.” (To read the full monologues, click on the underlined titles).
Simon (later renamed Peter), shares a fishing business with his brother Andrew on stormy Lake Galilee. “I was mixing tar for leaks,” he tells us, “when Andrew insisted on dragging me to meet this prophet Yeshua (Jesus), at the Jordan River where crazy John the Baptist was preaching:
“’Simon!’ Andrew shouted—he shouts everything—‘we’ve found him, the Messiah, the one who takes away the sins of the world!’
“’I don’t need another prophet, unless he can show me where to find fish!’ I lied. As long as I can remember I’ve longed to be nearer to God. But it’s impossible because of the Veil.” Simon is referring to the sacred curtain at the Temple in Jerusalem that separates sinful humans from a holy God .
“I want that kind of faith! But I’ve sinned so many times… I would gut my heart like a fish and carve out the sin and throw it to the dogs, if I could. But I can’t. I can’t make myself clean! Can anyone? Can this Jesus?
“We’re going to see him again tomorrow. If he can tear away that Veil, I’ll shout louder than Andrew!”
“The first time I heard Him speak,” Simon writes in his journal, “my heart leaped like a fish trying to get into a net! Then, yesterday, John the Baptist was dragged away by Herod’s guards…” (Herod was Israel’s titular ruler under Roman control) “…and the people seemed more lost than ever—‘Is this it? Has God abandoned us?’
“As if in answer, Jesus came to Andrew and me while we were fishing. Once again the fish had all but vanished. Jesus called, ‘Cast your net on the other side of the boat!’ Which any fisherman knows can only produce the same results. But we did it. Madness! The net filled so fast—fat silvery sardines and slithering biny—it was bursting! Andrew laughed like a rooster!
“Then Jesus looked straight at me as if he’d heard my words when I said was only interested in a prophet who could show me where to find fish: ‘Simon, from now on you’ll catch men.’ And then he touched my shoulder and whispered, ‘Follow me.’”
“Jesus frightens me. I’m just an ordinary man, and sometimes I think he’s not. And, yet, no, it’s more as if he were the only ordinary man and rest of us were just pretending to be human. “He never does things the way I think he should. My mother-in-law was terribly sick, miserable. Yet, at first Jesus did nothing. Why?
“I asked him, ‘Master, why do you allow suffering?’
“Then Jesus took her hand, and she was healed. Instantly. “I told my wife, ‘From now on, whether he lives or dies,
I’ll be with him.’”
Peter’s journal concludes with:
The Confessions of Peter, Part 2