I’m sure you know my older brother, Peter. He is kind of impulsive, and speaks before thinking. He’s also braver than I am. He even tried to walk on water; more about that later. Let me start at the beginning.
One day Peter and I were fishing in the Sea of Galilee. We heard a man say, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In unison, we dropped our nets and followed him. This man called to several other fishermen, James and John, and they followed him too.
We watched this man teach in the synagogue, preaching a gospel of the kingdom of God. He healed all kinds of sickness and disease. There was definitely something different about this man! Great multitudes of people came from all the surrounding towns to follow him. You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m talking about Jesus.
There was a wedding at Cana and they ran out of wine. So Jesus turned water into wine. I never heard of such a thing before! The master of the feast said it was odd that the best wine was kept for last.
One day Jesus went up on a mountain and sat down, and he taught us things new ideas. He told us to love our enemies. (That’s a tough one.) He said we are blessed when people persecute us because we follow him; it means we have a great reward in heaven. He helped us change our thinking from being so earthly-minded to being more eternal-minded.
He told us we are the salt of the earth, and that we need to keep our flavor. We are the light of the world, as he is, and we should shine before men so that they would see his life in us.
Jesus sent us out to preach to people, and tell them that the Kingdom of heaven is here. He gave us power to heal the sick in his name, and the demons were even subject to us in his name!
A great multitude was always following us around, it seems. One particular day, Jesus looked up and said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread,that these may eat?” But Jesus said this to test him, because he already knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.”
But I figured Jesus had a plan; I had followed him long enough to know he had an idea. I gathered the courage to speak up. “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish…” …when I heard it out loud I started losing my nerve. “But what are they among so many?”
That was just the opening Jesus was looking for. “Make the people sit down,” he said. Jesus took the loaves and fishes and gave thanks to God the Father. Then he began distributing the food to us, and we to those sitting down, and the food just kept multiplying and there was more than enough for everyone! There was even leftovers.
Then we knew: “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
Immediately Jesus told us get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. Then He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But our boat was in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, and the wind was contrary.
In the fourth watch of the night Jesus came to us, walking on the sea. But when we saw Him walking on the sea, we were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And we cried out for fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to us, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
And my brother Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Wow. I never thought about walking on the water myself. But that was Peter.
So Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. I have to give Peter credit for trying.
Then we worshiped Jesus, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Another time, we had just come out of the synagogue, and we went home. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Jesus took her by the hand and healed her, lifted her up, and then she made us lunch. (Some people don’t realize that Peter was married.)
Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple with Peter, James, John and I, just the four of us. We asked him about all the things he had told us that day. He answered, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
“Tell us,” we asked, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
Jesus told us: “Be careful that no one deceives you, saying, ‘I am he’ for many will come in his name and deceive many. There will be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines. These are the beginning of sorrows…..but he who endures to the end will be saved.” The end times sound scary!
The Pharisees and priests didn’t like Jesus very much. They were stuck in their old traditions and religious teachings. I think they were afraid Jesus was going to put them out of business, and take their jobs away. If they had just learned from him, they would have found life. He would have given them different jobs.
After three and a half years of following Jesus, he started talking about leaving us. We were very sad of course, but he promised he would send another helper to us. And he did.
After we had our Passover with the Lord, we all went to the garden of Gethsemane. He took Peter, James and John with him to a quieter place. I don’t know why I was not included in the inner circle that time. Maybe it’s because Peter was going to be tested alone. But I did hear later that Peter cut off someone’s ear and then Jesus healed it.
There was a trial in the middle of the night, and Jesus was found guilty of blasphemy. The thing is, the High Priest knew that according to the law of Moses, the punishment for blasphemy was stoning. But the High Priest decided to get Pilate involved so that Jesus would be killed under Roman law: Crucifixion. Stoning is no picnic, but crucifixion was designed by the Romans to give a long, slow, torturous death. It’s also humiliating as you are stripped naked and raised up high for everyone to see. But Jesus endured the cross to bear my sin and yours and make us right with God the Father when we believe on Him. No one else was qualified to do it.
In summation, I’m the quieter, less talked about brother. But I had the chance to see and hear and experience some great things, and to know Jesus personally while he walked on the earth.