The Confessions of Peter, Part 1

valentin_paul_writing

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 Simon-Peter-Chronicles_270_270motion 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).

The Veil

simon-peter-chronicles-the-veil_270_270Simon (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 .

rabbi-holding-torah-in-the-temple-william-holman-hunt-“But then at synagogue,” Simon continues, “Our rabbi called Abraham” (the Jewish patriarch) “‘a friend of God…because he had faith in the one who takes away the sins of the world.’

“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!”

Follow Me

simon-peter-chronicles-follow-me_270_270“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. Disciples-FishingOnce 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.’”

An Ordinary Man

simon-peter-chronicles-ordinary-man_270_270“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?’

replica-of-rembrandts-apostle-paul-tigran-ghulyan“He looked into my eyes and said, ‘Why do you?’ And suddenly I saw all the hurt and pain I could have stopped in my life, and didn’t.

“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

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Religion/Faith, Story Power and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to The Confessions of Peter, Part 1

  1. Pingback: An Ordinary Man? | Mitch Teemley

  2. John S says:

    Hi Mitch, over the last 30 years I have been the booking agent for folks like PETER, PAUL, JOHN THE BAPTIST and JUDAS.  Funny thing is that they all tend to look like me.  They all seem to wear the same white robe, even Judas, when they share their story.  Remember Dean Jones?  A while ago he did a one act play called JOHN IN EXILE. This was my inspiration but their is no way I can ever reach his caliber.   I have been Peter’s booking agent the longest.  The Fisherman tends to show up more in Lent, especially Holy Week.  He tells his story about his call right up to his denying Jesus 3 times.  He loves to come back during the Easter story to, as Paul Harvey use to say THE REST OF THE STORY.  I am sure others who do things like this have done a way better job, but when ever I do Peter, or any of the other guys, it does seem to bring people into the story.  This Thursday Peter is doing his thing at Celebrate Recovery.   Maybe this makes up for my missing out trying out for the Drama group at La Mirada If we tape it would you like to see it?John

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I love the way your interpretation of Peter’s story brings him to life, off the pages of scripture. Very compelling. And you’ve given me an “A-ha Moment,” too! I never considered that Jesus may have waited to heal Peter’s mother-in-law, rather than minister the moment he was told about her fever. And why would he hesitate? What lesson was Jesus teaching to the houseful of family and guests? What might that mean to us today? Food for thought, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mitchteemley says:

    Thank you, Nancy! Part 2 (due Friday) is even more aha-ful (is that a word?), I think.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Confessions of the Apostle Peter, Part 2 | Mitch Teemley

  6. mitchteemley says:

    Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:

    “From now on, whether he lives or dies, I’ll be with him.”

    Like

  7. atimetoshare.me says:

    Thank you for this, Mitch. I believe when we can relate to the Biblical characters it brings their messages to us in a much clearer way. You have accomplished this with your writing. I stand in awe!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. theancients says:

    You’re a man of the Spirit Mitch. This was a great teaching. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sheila says:

    Such insightful thoughts on Peter here. Thanks for sharing them. But I must admit that he’s always been my favorite character. Like you said, I think he, more than any other shows us who Jesus really is. Either him, or the apostle John. In any case, I really enjoyed this!

    Liked by 1 person

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