Disciples Behaving Badly…

Which of the following created yet another opportunity for chief disciple Peter to behave badly?

a/ Water
b/ Ears
c/ Fighting
d/ Dancing
e/ Fishing
f/ Samaritans
g/ Beaches
h/ Praying
i/ Sharing the peace


a/ Water – walking on it – or rather sinking in it… The most famous of Peter’s bloopers. Would surely make You’ve Been Framed but let’s be honest – all the others never even got their feet wet they were just watching from a safe distance, supping ale and cracking jokes.

b/ Ears – yup. My favourite – temple guards come to arrest Jesus and Peter does his gladiator impression, pulling out a sword and slicing up the bad guys! What does Jesus do? Only starts healing the people Peter is hacking up. You can hear the big guy now, ‘Jesus? What are you doing? What’s the point of me hacking off people’s ears if you’re just gonna stick ’em back on again! Perlease!! I’m trying to start a revolution here.’
c/ Fighting – well, nothing specific, unless you include the incident above. But in general the disciples were hoping for a chance to kill Romans and get free. Palm Sunday might have turned into a  bloodbath if the crowds had had their way. And we wouldn’t be waving palm crosses 2000 years later, more like er… palms on the ends of dismembered replica plastic arms.
d/ Dancing – nope.
e/ Fishing – well… kind of. On a couple of occasions Jesus proved himself a better angler than Peter which certainly turned embarrassing on at least one occasion. Peter ended up pleading on his knees.
f/ Samaritans – definitely! Except that this was James and John – the old Thunder Boys, not Peter. They wanted Jesus to nuke the nearest bunch of Samaritans, reigning fire and brimstone down on them like some sort of impression of Vesuvius. Bad luck boys. Jesus would rather spend time hanging with Samaritans, healing them and giving them some respect.
g/ Beaches – and walking on them. Jesus goes for a stroll with Peter and ends up asking him if they’re really such good friends. Worth noticing here that Peter – having fallen apart not long back when Jesus got arrested – will no longer make grand claims about following Jesus anywhere. Now when Jesus asks if Peter is dedicated to him, Peter mumbles a bit, kicks sand and says, ‘Yea…. sort of.’  Jesus asks if Peter ‘loves’ him and he uses a strong Greek word which means self-sacrificial commitment, Peter replies, ‘You know I ‘love’ you.’ But he uses a much weaker word. Basically, I’m your friend. Peter sees himself much more clearly having failed miserably. There are no grand claims now. He’s recovering from the mother of all reality checks. Jesus then encourages him with  a strange prophecy. Before when Peter had said he would die for Jesus, Jesus had predicted that – no, he would run away. Now when Peter says his dedication to Jesus is not very strong Jesus predicts that it will be strong enough for Peter to give his life. Before it was Peter who claimed he could give it all, now that he feels a failure and admits it – it’s Jesus telling him that he will be able to give everything.
h/ Praying – Don’t think so.
i/ Sharing the peace – nope. As far as we know Jesus didn’t ask all his mates to stand up, turn to the person next to them and given them a big Sunday cuddle. And let’s face it – I doubt if the guys would have been up for a group hug anyway. Had they have known who else was in the band they may not have signed up for the ride in the first place.

2. Famous Peters:
Jackson – cause he looks the part.
Kay – because Peter was a blunt kind of guy. Maybe not as funny as Mr Kay though.
Falk – because I’m sure Peter would have been the kind of guy to turn away, and then look back and say, ‘Er, just one other question…’ Plus he has a great raincoat.
Purvis – not so sure about this. But I couldn’t resist it.

3. Actors to play Jesus:
Jack Black – because Jesus was a funny guy, and he used comedy to help us think about what was important in life. He was lively and animated and as teachers go might well have had a few similarities with Jack Black in School of Rock.
Denzel Washington. Need I say more?
Russell Crowe – Maximus Decimus Meridius. The leader who became a slave and sacrificed himself. If you’ve ever seen him in Cinderella Man you might just get the idea.
Guess who?…. Yup. Cate Blanchet playing Bob Dylan in I’m Not There. Her portrayal of singer Bob was so good she was Oscar nominated for it. She’s a great actress and I reckon would be well up for the part. I’d cast her in my local passion play, no probs! And it’s worth remembering that anyone can show us more of what Jesus is like.

One final Peter-esque thought.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been so passionate about something that you couldn’t sleep for going over and over it in your head? My guess is this is exactly what Peter felt (and maybe all his mates too) after running away and subsequently hearing that Jesus had been crucified. How different might it all have been? He must have played that tape in his head again and again and again… Not at all easy to forgive yourself sometimes…

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