Peter admits he believes Jesus to be `the Christ'
Peter, deputy to Jesus, has confirmed he believes the preacher is "the Christ, the son of the living God". He agreed he had said this to Jesus and other members of the core campaign team at a meeting in Caesarea Philippi recently.
Peter's reluctance to say so openly since was, he explained, due to the fact that Jesus had asked the campaign group not to tell anyone he was the Christ. He was unable to say why the Gallilean carpenter placed such an injunction on his friends.
A source close to the campaign said the preacher was "obviously pleased with Simon's declaration at that meeting. He said it was revealed to Simon by God himself and that from that day on he (Simon Peter) would be his main man. He would build his administration around him, and even Hell itself would not beat it.
"Most amazingly he said he would give Simon power to make and unmake laws which would be enforced on Earth and in Heaven," the source said, adding that this surprised all the others in the core group. "Simon - that is Peter - is not a bad sort really. A bit limited though, and not very reliable. One of nature's enthusiasts. Full of vim at the beginning of any project, then he just loses interest. Not blessed in the courage department either.
"There was that time on Lake Gallilee when nothing would stop him but to walk on the water to Jesus. No sooner was he out of the boat that he was panic-stricken and wailing like a baby. And down he went. Jesus of course pulled him out. That's Simon, all heart and not much head. Not the sort of man I'd make my deputy. John now, there's a bright spark. Or Judas. There's a man with a head on his shoulders. Makes you wonder about Jesus."
However, Peter was among the first men Jesus chose to help him in his campaign. And among the first people it is claimed Jesus cured was Peter's mother-in-law. Indeed, Peter's house in Capernaum has become, effectively, the campaign headquarters.
There is, however, no doubt that John remains one of Jesus's closest aides. So much so that John has taken to describing himself, somewhat insensitively, as "the beloved disciple". He is believed to be particularly close to Mary, Jesus's mother. Yet when John and his brother James, rather presumptuously, told Jesus they wanted to be his right-hand man while the other would be at his left, he said he couldn't do it. Such positions "belonged to those for whom they have been prepared, " Jesus said. Cryptic as ever.
The other 10 men in the core group were very angry with James and John when they heard this. That sort of one-upmanship, or indeed two-upmanship, went against the very spirit of the group. To calm the situation Jesus told them all that, where their campaign was concerned, and unlike the way it was in Palestine and elsewhere, "whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant". He himself did not come to be served but to serve "and to give his life as a ransom for the many", he said. Again, no one understood what he meant. It was suggested this predicted martyrdom was a ploy to gain support for a flagging campaign. It was made in the wake of the death of John ("the Baptist") when the killing of preachers didn't seem so far-fetched anymore.
Indeed Jesus has since, and more explicitly, predicted his own death. This has been scoffed at by the religious and civil authorities. "This guy overestimates his own importance," said a spokesman for the High Priest, Dr Caiphas, in response. "Jesus!....Who?" asked a spokesman for the Governor, Mr Pilate.
It is widely speculated that had John (and James) not so fundamentally alienated the other 10 in the core campaign group, with their selfish approach to Jesus, John would now be the preacher's deputy.
Some believe this could happen yet. It did not go unnoticed that it was John and James, as well as Peter, Jesus took with him to the mountain where, as all three later claimed, God spoke to the preacher and Moses and Elijah appeared with him. It is also suspected that Mary would prefer John as Jesus's deputy. And she has considerable influence over the preacher.