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Me? A pariah?

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And one servant girl came near to him, stating, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, stating, “I know nothing of what you state.” And coming out towards the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she stated to those there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And, again, he denied that with an oath: “I know nothing of the man.” After a little, those rightly there having come near said to Peter, “In truth, you too are one of them, because your speech makes you transparent.” Then he began strongly to call down a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before rooster-crow three times you will totally deny me.” And having come out outside he wept bitterly. Matthew 26: 69-75
Several biographies of famous Jersey people have been written. A few of those are biographies of people alive in the recent past….. And they make interesting reading. If you’re anything like me, when I read a biography, I often spend time looking into the Index at the back, picking up on names, events and places which I may recognize from previous reading. 

A former tax-farmer (a man who tendered to the Roman authorities for the right to collect taxes in a particular area and then collected more so as to pay himself something out of those taxes) wrote a biography of Jesus Christ. His name was Matthew and he was an eye-witness of all that Jesus did and said in the three years of his public ministry in Palestine ending around AD 30.

If one looks at an index of his biography,7 the name of Peter occurs 23 times in its 35 pages. Interestingly, the last mention of Peter in Matthew’s biography is in bold above. It ends: “And having come out outside he wept bitterly.” Nothing more.

Have you ever been written about in someone’s biography? That can be quite painful. In my case, as I write, I’m expecting that I might be mentioned in a forthcoming book about the history of banking and finance in Jersey…..

What do you think? Was Peter happy about his inclusion in Matthew’s biography of Jesus Christ?

‘In these days of guilt complexes, perhaps the most glorious word in the English language is “forgiveness”’ (Billy Graham, evangelist, 1918-2018) 
Peter had a big mouth. Concerning an earlier event Mathew wrote: “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” 

Ouch! Jesus called Peter, “Satan”.

Matthew reports that Peter didn’t have a high view of his fellow disciples: “Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before rooster-crow, you will totally deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.”

Big stuff! But there are a few things which may have escaped your notice in Matthew’s final mention of Peter in his first century biography of Jesus Christ.

‘Our God has a big eraser.’ (Billy Zeoli, American media producer, 1932-2015)
First, Peter was not “one of them” with regard to those who were supposed to be at the High Priest’s residence that night in AD 30. He was “outside in the courtyard”. Nor was he a friend of the servant girls. They were happy to “out” him. And when he came to the attention of those who were, as it were, authorized to be there, they didn’t like him at all: “those rightly there having come near said to Peter, “In truth, you too are one of them, because your speech makes you transparent.” 

Second, when the rooster crowed to signify the dawn of the first Good Friday, Peter remembered Jesus’ forecast. He could never ever be in his good books again. Did Peter also remember haw he had said, a few hours earlier, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” He would no longer be “one-of-them” either. Into whose world would Peter now be welcomed?

But I think Peter was pleased with Matthew’s biography. Do you know why?

Sinner Syvret

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