Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Missionary Journeys of Peter - A Short Class

Imagine this Sunday morning adult education class at your church: Welcome everyone. Today's class is on the missionary journeys of Peter. Peter left Jerusalem and went to Lydda. Then he went Joppa and stayed there some time. And then he went to Caesarea and returned to Jerusalem. Thanks everyone for being here. Let's go get some coffee.

Think of all we know about St. Paul and his missionary travels, both from Acts, which devotes practically half the book to his missionary journeys, and from Paul's own letters. Now think of the second great apostolic figure, Peter, and what we know about his missionary activity. The above summary from Acts 9:32- 43 and the subsequent narrative in Acts 10:1-11:1 pretty much covers it from our canonical documents, except for Paul's note that Peter visited Antioch where the two had a confrontation and that Peter traveled with his wife on his journeys.

However, the one trip narrated in Acts plays an enormous role in Luke's understanding of the development of Christianity. We'll look at "the rest of the story" in a future post.

Additional Note: Even if the letter of 1 Peter was not written by the apostle, do the opening verses suggest that Peter traveled in Asia Minor? Do the closing verses support a later tradition that Peter died in Rome?

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