Last week we came to the end of our sermon series on 1 Peter. I don't know about you, but over the past few months this letter has really come alive for me. Because the theme of the letter – how to live as Christians in a hostile world – is as real as an issue as when the letter was first written. So Peter's words have been a great encouragement, reminding us of the privilege of suffering with Christ, of our identity as a chosen people and royal priesthood, and of the unfading crown of glory that awaits the faithful. We've needed to hear Peter's words, and I hope that in the weeks and months to come you'll return to them, read, learn, mark and inwardly digest them as you learn to live for Christ day by day.
So today I want to ask a very simply question: who was this Peter who wrote such an amazing and relevant letter? Was he a top-class intellectual with loads of degrees to his name? Or was he a great philosopher with a library stuffed full of the greatest literature? Well, the answer's in the reading we heard just now from Luke's gospel. He was…. Can anyone tell me who he was?
That's right, he was a fisherman - a very ordinary, practical, down-to-earth sort of guy. Someone who didn’t have the highest level of education, someone who knew what it was like to do an honest day's work. And I think that's a really important point to make. Some people think the Christian faith is only for really clever people, or for people who use long words. Maybe they've been to a church where the vicar has preached such a deep and meaningful sermon that no-one has been able to work out what he's been saying, or the choir have sung something beautiful in Latin – without anyone explaining what they're singing about. If that's been your experience of church, I'm genuinely sorry. Jesus wants ordinary, plain folk. After all, he himself was a carpenter. He knew what it was like to get your hands dirty, and a splinter in your finger. Whatever your trade, how many exams you have passed or failed, Jesus wants you. I can't put it simpler than that.