PETER THE COMICAL
Jesus never smiles or laughs in the Gospel.
That’s my understanding. A quick word search of the Gospel does not find “smile,” and little of joy and laughter.
Why does Jesus, the Prince of Peace, let loose and call Peter “Satan” (Matthew 16:23)?
Would the Gospel be just too, too serious, and grim and dreary without Peter?
Is Peter a bit a humor added by the biblical author to offset the more serious Jesus?
In John 21:17, the author lets us know that Peter was hurt by Jesus’ questioning him repeatedly. Maybe a cultural thing to be offended the third time you get asked a question? So why does Jesus offend Peter? Maybe this makes Jesus a bit more human. After all, Peter had denied he knew Jesus.
The main reason I think the Gospel and Acts were written by Paulists is because Peter is portrayed as being insulted or mocked or clueless so often, and Paul had very little use for Peter, other than as the owner of the Jesus franchise. Notice that Paul (or a deutero) says it is “my” Gospel (Romans 2:16, 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8). Also Paul says it is “our gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:3).
Peter is painted as a murderous extortionist in Acts 5:1-11.
While Jesus had washed feet, people laid gifts at the feet of the apostles (Acts 4:37). Sure doesn’t make Peter look good.
Peter is called an “uneducated and ordinary” man in Acts 4:13. This despite having quoted scripture in Acts 1:20, something an uneducated person would not likely do. Of course the biblical author has Peter quote contradictory passages and make a fool of himself. And further Peter apparently misquotes the Psalm he is trying to quote. (Or is this a problem with the Septuagint? This is another project as it does seem that quotes of the Hebrew Bible are not exact in the New Testament.)
So Peter says in Acts 1:20, “Let his homestead become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it,” and “Let another take his position of overseer.” Whereas the original Psalm 69:25 says, “May their camp be a desolation; let no one live in their tents.” And the original Psalm 109:8 says, “May his days be few; may another seize his position.” Not quite the same as what Peter said. Also a contradiction: if someone takes his place, then his place is not empty.
Matthew 14:30: Peter tries to walk on water to where Jesus is walking on water. Peter sinks and cries for help. A fisherman who cannot swim? Now that’s funny. (Or Peter cries out because there is wind and the boat is off-course and those in the boat would not be able to turn to pick him up, and it is too far to swim to the shore? OK that is not so funny. Except that Peter should have thought about all that before impetuously stepping out of the boat. Was Jesus doing speed walking to keep up with the boat in the wind?)
Matthew 17:4: At the transfiguration Peter misses the point and babbles about setting up three tents.
Matthew 18:21: Peter does not know how many times he should forgive, and Jesus answers him with a riddle.
Matthew 19:27: Peter says what’s in it for me?
Matthew 26:40: Peter falls asleep during Jesus’ Agony in the Garden.
Matthew 26:69: Peter denies he knows Jesus.
Luke 12:41: Peter asks if Jesus is telling the parable for everyone or just a select few. Peter gets no answer from Jesus.
John 13:8: Peter objects to having his feet washed by Jesus.
John 18:10: Peter forgets he works for the Prince of Peace and uses a sword. Peter is rebuked by Jesus.
John 18:16: Peter is not able to get past a woman guarding the gate and has to be rescued by an unnamed disciple, likely a woman because unnamed (disciple is masculine in Greek), then Peter tells an obvious lie to the gal gatekeeper. This is first-century humor and maybe the politically correct wouldn’t want to get it – Peter stymied by and relying on women and not cool with women, not macho enough.
John 21:7: Peter puts on some clothes before jumping into the sea and thus gets his clothes wet. He cannot wait for the boat to go a mere 100 yards to shore.
John 21:20-21: Peter asks Jesus about a mysterious disciple, and then Peter is rebuffed by Jesus.
Acts 3:13: Peter says Jesus is “servant of God.” Not likely the bishops at Nicaea and their leader Emperor Constantine would have approved. For them, Jesus is a god. Then Peter contradicts himself and calls Jesus the “Author of life.” Still not correct. Isn’t the Father the creator and Jesus the head of the Christ through whom all things are made by the Father? Peter needs a course in Catholic theology.
Acts 9:40: Peter raises a woman disciple named Tabitha from the dead. When Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus, Jesus allowed the parents and three witnesses to observe (Mark 5:40 and Luke 8:51). Not so Peter, who is the only one present with Tabitha’s body. Then there was Paul who lay on top of a young man in order to effect his resuscitation. Are the readers supposed to snicker a bit that Paul-the-unmarried lay with a young man (Acts 20:10)? The NIV has: “Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him.” Other translators finesse this so as to not shock the pew potatoes. Are the readers supposed to get a little giggle thinking that maybe Peter used the same technique with Tabitha while he was alone with her and “turned to the body”? If I can make those connections, anyone can, and find it humorous.
Galatians 2:11-13: Peter backpedals when he is with Jewish Christians.
That’s just a quick review. There’s probably a lot more.
Matthew 16:18: Peter the rock. My Thayer Greek dictionary has “on this rock” (πέτρᾳ – feminine) as the “massive living rock,” and Petros (Πέτρος – masculine) which is Peter’s name, as “a detached but large fragment”). A few translators say Peter means “stone.” Can it mean pebble as someone claimed?
Why can’t the Protestants just get with the program and start worshipping Peter the rock or his supposed clone in the Vatican?
Why does Jesus continue to call his rock/stone Simon after naming him Peter?
It would seem maybe there was an editing problem at some point in the historical development of the books of the New Testament, with some uncertainty as to what was the name of this individual or even what were the names of multiple leaders, and presto, at some point he or rather, they, were combined into one character with two names – Simon Peter, by supposed fiat of Jesus, who later in the text seemingly could not keep track of the name, reverting to Simon, and with Paul mostly preferring the Aramaic or the Greek for Rocky.
Think how dreary the Gospel would be without Peter. Not even the resurrection can dispel the gloom that settles on you after reading about the butchering of the sweet and solemn Savior Jesus who proclaims his god of peace, love, and forgiveness. His god saves Jesus. But only after Jesus is dead. And as far as we know, no one else has been saved by being resurrected and never dying again. So a downer. Except for the antics of Peter the comical.
Posted: July 31, 2016
NRSV throughout except as noted
PETER, SON OF WHOM
Apostle Peter is either the son of Jonah or the son of John.
Compare Matthew 16:17 with John 1:42 and John 21:15-17, NRSV.
The King James (KJ21 version) makes it all the same, “son of Jonah.”
Maybe “son of Jonah” is a sort of nickname as Jesus identifies himself with Jonah who spent 3 days in the belly of a sea monster (Matthew 12:40). Maybe if Peter is the son of Jonah, then Peter is the son of Jesus. Well, probably not literally, but figuratively?
I think Simon Peter probably deserved better than to have people mocking him for sinking in the water, denying Jesus, etc., and probably people should have remembered his correct name . . . Simon, son of Jonah.
Why is that the correct name? I’m assuming the KJV did more than toss a coin to pick that name.
Besides, there is a first century ossuary found in Jerusalem with the name “Simon, son of Jonah.” Of course if that is our Peter, then he never made it to Rome or if he did, not likely he died there?? Google “ossuary Simon son of Jonah.” So did Peter ever become “bishop of Rome”? Such is not mentioned in the New Testament. Probably being bishop of Rome wasn’t important then, even if Peter did go to Rome. Maybe Peter did not think of himself as a “Pope.” Maybe Peter would not have been comfortable playing a Pope. Hard to be a follower of the “servant of God” while you are wearing a crown and red shoes.
The New Testament supposedly has Peter writing from “Babylon.” But is Babylon code for Rome? Who knows? And that verse, 1 Peter 5:13, which many translators have as “the church” sends greetings, actually literally says, “She who is in Babylon, chosen along with you, sends you greetings, as does Mark, · my son.” (Mounce) So maybe Peter is conveying a greeting from his wife or from a woman leader in the church? Actually it is Silas/Silvanus who “helps” Peter write (1 Peter 5:12 and 2 Peter 3:1).
There are many references to the fall of Babylon in Revelation; however, possibly that was the destruction of Pompeii? (And I am not the first to suggest Pompeii.) I will guess that Silas wanted to get across the idea, not that Peter was in Rome or Pompeii, but rather, that Peter was in exile, as in Babylonian exile. But in fact since Peter had the mission to preach to Jews, and Paul the mission to preach to Gentiles, likely Peter did not go to Rome but rather went to preach to Jews going at least as far as Antioch (Galatians 2:11), a city at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.
Will Vaticanism fall if Peter never went to Rome? No.
Back to son of Jonah.
Here is the Greek SBL for John 1:42: Ἰωάννου. That means John as in Johann.
This is phonetically (per Mounce) Iōannēs.
SBL Footnote shows a variant · ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 1:42 Ἰωάννου WH Treg NIV ] Ἰωνᾶ RP
Notice the latter lacks the extra “a” so it reads Y-o-na. That means Jonah is a variant in verse 1:42.
Here is the Greek SBL for Matthew 16:17: Βαριωνᾶ
This is phonetically (per Mounce) Bariōna [bar means son]
So do you see the difference between I-o-an-ee and I-o-n-ah? Looks obvious to me, John and Jonah.
The UBS Greek has five different variants for the name in John 1:42 if I understand the footnote correctly. Four variants of “John” as they have the extra “a” after the omega. One variant with Jonah. So maybe just pick your favorite manuscript?
Some translators punt with “Jona.”
It would save a lot of trouble if translators would just give us the phonetic equivalent of the name. Then there would be no Jesus or Mary or James or Peter. None of these people had English names. But we would read instead of Yesous, Mariam, Yakobos, and Petros.
Posted: July 31, 2016
NRSV throughout except as noted