as told by Brie and Crispin
Brie: Hello there, my name is Brie. My friend Spud has already told you about Jesus' friend Andrew, and now I'd like to tell you about Andrew's brother.
His name was Simon, and he was also a fisherman. Simon wasn't too sure when his brother Andrew told him that he had found the Messiah, but he went along to see for himself. Jesus did tell him then that one day his name would be Peter, but that didn't mean much to Simon at the time. Soon after this, and I imagine while Simon was still thinking about things, Jesus himself met with him, made it possible for him to catch more fish than he had ever caught in his life, and then said, "now follow me." Simon had heard all about Jesus from his brother, but now he had met him for himself; heard some of his teachings and seen the amazing things that Jesus could do.
So Simon became a disciple of Jesus, and followed him. He followed Jesus to his own house, where his wife's mother was ill, and saw how Jesus made her better, just by touching her. He followed Jesus around the country and saw him make lots of other people better too. He followed Jesus up a mountain, and saw the great men, Moses and Elijah - who everyone knew had died years ago - standing there. He followed Jesus into the room where a little girl had just died, and watched in amazement as Jesus took her hand, helped her to get off bed and then told her mum and dad to give her something to eat because she was hungry. Simon followed Jesus to the hillside and the synagogue; he heard him teach about God, and saw him do the impossible and make people better. He saw Jesus tell a storm to shut up, and saw Jesus walking on top of the water! That's right; on top of it. Simon even managed this himself for a short while; Jesus said, "come here", and Simon started to walk on water, because he was following what Jesus did. He later told Jesus that he believed that Jesus was the Messiah - just as Andrew had told him, 3 years before. And it was then, that he was given the name Peter.
Simon Peter was one of Jesus' closest friends. He followed him; he went where Jesus went, and did what Jesus did.
Until one horrid night in the garden of Gethsemane, when soldiers came to arrest Jesus - and Peter ran away.
I didn't see what happened to him after that, but you were there, weren't you, Crispin?
Crispin: yes. It wasn't very nice, and if it hadn't had a happy ending, I don't think I'd be able to tell you about it.
You see, before this, they had all been together in a room, having a nice meal together, to celebrate the Passover festival. And Jesus had said a strange thing; he had said that he was going to be killed soon, by some people who hadn't understood what he had been telling them about God. Somehow this was all part of God's plan and it would all be o.k in the end.
But before that happened, Peter would tell people that he had never known Jesus at all. Can you imagine that? Of course, Peter said that it was impossible and that he would never let Jesus down in that way. But Jesus said that it would happen 3 times - before the cock had crowed twice. He looked rather sad when he said that, I thought.
By this time I think everyone else was rather confused. Jesus, who was their leader and Messiah, had washed their smelly feet like a common servant, told them he was going to be killed, and that Peter would deny him; then on top of that, it seems that Judas had something he really needed to do, and had run off. I think they were probably glad to get outside for some fresh air, to clear their heads.
That's how they found themselves in the garden. They must have been more tired than they thought, though, because they sat down and kept falling asleep.
The next thing they knew, they were surrounded by a group of soldiers, with their own friend Judas in the front, and they took Jesus away - to prison, for all they knew. It was a great shock, and I'm sorry to say that most of Jesus' friends ran off before the soldiers could pick on them as well.
But Peter actually kept following; for a while, very slowly, behind the soldiers. And when they took Jesus to answer some questions, he stayed behind in the courtyard. It was then that someone seemed to recognise him and said that Peter had been with Jesus.
I don't know what Peter was thinking, I really don't. Maybe the shock of everything had got to him, or maybe he was still half asleep; but he told this person that he didn't know Jesus! It was just as Jesus had said it would be - brave, outspoken Peter had let him down. Well this was heartbreaking, and I tried to call out to Peter, to wake him up and remind him where he was. But it was no good. Three times, people asked Peter if he was with Jesus; three times Peter denied it, and said that he had no idea who Jesus was. Oh Peter!
I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried when it happened the third time.
Strangely enough, it was my crying that reminded Peter of what Jesus had said to him, "before the cock crows twice, you will say, 3 times, that you do not know me".
It was his turn to cry, then, which he did loudly and for a long time. After a while, he heard that Jesus had in fact been killed, and was dead. That was it, he thought; the last thing he had said about Jesus was that he didn't know him, and it was too late to take it back.
But I said that this story had a happy ending.
Well, it does; because 3 days later, some women came running into the room where the rest of Jesus' friends were all hiding, and told them that he was alive again. No one believed them at first, of course; partly because they were women, but also because it all seemed so impossible.
But then Peter and John ran to find the tomb where Jesus had been buried, and found that it was empty. It was true then; the God of the impossible had done it again!
And a few days later, Peter met Jesus again while he was out fishing; just like the very first time he had met Jesus. I am sure that Peter was rather embarrassed when Jesus came over to talk to him 'specially. But Jesus was so kind, and forgave him and told Peter that he had a special job for him to do. After that, Peter kept on following Jesus.
I wonder if you follow Jesus, and have kept following him, even in difficult situations? I wonder if you know that, even if you mess up sometimes, God will not give up on you, and that you can say "sorry" and keep following him?