Introduction

I am recounting the memories of my experiences with Jesus. Mark helped me put it in writing.

My name is Peter and I lived many years ago in the land you now call Israel. My brother Andrew and I grew up as fishermen. We lived in the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee. One day a man by the name of Jesus came walking by and, noticing that we were about to cast our nets into the water, called out to us, “Come with me and be my disciples. I’ll teach you how to fish for men.” Although it all happened so quickly, we felt compelled to leave our nets and go with him. That was the beginning of the most unusual three-year period in my life.

I have never known a man like Jesus. As we traveled together throughout Galilee, crowds of people came from all over to hear him teach about the kingdom of God. People were astonished to see him heal all sorts of diseases and even cast out demons. I remember one wild man who used to wander among the tombs at night, shrieking and cutting himself with sharp stones.  But that’s a story I’ll be telling you later. What I want to do is tell you my personal experience from my time with Jesus. It will be an eyewitness account. My close friend John Mark (in one of my letters I call him “my son” – 1 Peter 5:13)  will write it down for me because he is eloquent in Greek and I’m just an uneducated fisherman.  Some raise their eyebrows at this so I’m glad that in the second century the famous Bishop of Hierapolis, Papias, wrote that Mark was my “interpreter” and that he “wrote down accurately” what I remembered about Jesus’ life and teaching.

Just so you will get an idea of what is in store for you let me mention a couple of episodes in the story you’re about to read. Once we were in a storm on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus came walking toward the boat on top of the water. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I got so excited that I stepped out of the boat and started toward him.  It didn’t last long. The waves scared me and I began to sink. Fortunately he laid hold of me and everything turned out okay.

Then there was that time when three of us went with Jesus to the top of a mountain. He was praying and  suddenly his face began to shine like the sun and his clothes turned dazzling white.  Of course I was the one who just had to say something. But God had the last word — he spoke from heaven and . . . Well, you’ll read all about it. There are so many stories. I’ll try not to leave anything out, not even that tragic night when shortly before his crucifixion I denied three times that I knew him.  

I’m going to tell you the whole story in the first person so you can experience what actually happened. You’ll be one of us. I will tell you a lot of the parables he told us. I’ll record many of the the miracles he did.  I pray that as I tell you about my years with this remarkable man (in time I came to realize that he was in fact the very son of God), your desire to know him and follow his teachings will be deepened.