The Three Peters

I’m watching “Moonrise Kingdom”, a Wes Anderson movie about a boy and a girl who run away together and throw a small community into chaos. I think his movies are usually a little too ironically self-conscious, which is to say too hipsterish maybe, but I like this one. His form of humor is to have people doing and saying things not fitting themselves and their situations.

The boy meets the girl by walking into the dressing room at a church play and talking to the girl like some smooth guy in a bar. Seeing a small, skinny boy with glasses wearing a scout uniform talk and act like that is funny. But what it shows, and why it rings true, is because the world places a high value on boldness, smoothness, brashness, or what goes under the umbrella of “confidence”. The kid logically has no chance with the girl, but he acts like this and she’s impressed.

Peter was a very confident guy, in the worldly sense. Even kind of tiresomely obnoxious, as such guys tend to be. He was never going to be scared, run away, or say he didn’t know Jesus.

Then thing got scary, and he folded. That was a big blow to his ego. He wasn’t the bold, self-confident leader he thought he was, or liked to think he was, the kind of personality that was respected and valued even then, and probably long before. Witnessing the trial, torture and crucifixion of Jesus crushed all the hopes he had held up until then. All the apostles despaired, but it was probably the worst for Peter, who had been second only to Jesus.

Then came the Resurrection. The bold Peter returned, but a different man entirely. Superficially he was the same man- confident, outspoken- but with real strength and purpose, and without fear of what any man could do to him.

The things the world thinks are important are pretty shallow, and while they appear impressive they don’t have any real substance unless backed up by God.


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3 responses to “The Three Peters

  1. Let’s be fair to Peter. Peter was FAR bolder than most of us even dream of being. When the high priest had his minions arrest Jesus, Peter was ready to rumble despite a seriously negative ‘correlation of forces’. He had far more physical courage than most people. He had heroic courage. What was called for when he denied Jesus three times was Divine courage, and, well, he didn’t have that just yet. Neither do most of us, and most also lack the heroic courage that Peter never lacked for.

    • Maybe you could say his mistake was predicting his own future behavior. I have noticed that people like to say they would always do something or never do something, and when I hear that I tend to think they are being a little too bold and maybe setting themselves up for failure. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when he said don’t swear to anything, just say yes or no. Of course just saying yes or no can be pretty scary in and of itself.

      • Yes, Peter likely assumed that it’d be a straight up fight and steeled himself for that. When the minions came, he fought, likely using one of the two swords described previously (Look Lord, here are two swords…It is enough). He wasn’t counting on being confronted ‘out of combat’, as it were, with no hope to win a wager of battle.

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