Simon Peter’s wife is never mentioned directly in the Gospels. We don’t even know her name, but we can imagine what a roller coaster ride of a life this woman experienced. She had lived an ordinary life as a fisherman’s wife in first century Galilee until Peter brought home a traveling rabbi, who healed her feverish, widowed mother. (Mark 1:29 – 31) Did Mrs. Peter put her faith in Jesus that day?
After that, she knew Jesus was someone special, but then Pete took off for months at a time and didn’t phone or Skype. He stopped fishing for fish and started fishing for people…and who paid the bills?
This continued for several years until Peter nearly got himself arrested skulking in a Jerusalem courtyard while Jesus was on trial. How did Mrs. Pete deal with a grief-stricken, shame-ridden husband…who then turned around in less than a weekend and claimed his dead teacher was alive? Just when life was going to return to normal, because Pete started fishing again (John 21), the risen Jesus gave him a new assignment: be a shepherd to God's sheep.
Was Mrs. Peter in the upper room at Pentecost? (Acts 2) Did they have to pry her off the floor when the Holy Spirit filled her husband and he started boldly preaching to thousands of foreign visitors? How did she feel when Peter defied the Sanhedrin’s order to stop proclaiming Jesus and he spent his first night in jail? (Acts 4)
|Fisherman mosaic at outdoor altar at Church of the Primacy of Peter Tabgha in Galilee Israel|
After keeping a kosher home and a separated Jewish lifestyle for decades, was she stunned when Peter bunked in the home of a Roman centurion and ate at his table? (Acts 10 – 11) Did she enjoy accompanying her husband on his ministry travels? (1 Corinthians 9:5) Did it make up for the three lonely years when Peter had left her and wandered with Jesus?
The imagination is not stretched too far in saying Peter’s first epistle reveals his family life. When he urged newborn believers to crave spiritual milk, was he fondly remembering his own infants nursing hungrily? (1 Peter 2:2)
Peter chose Sarah as the biblical example of a wife’s submission without fear—Abraham had selfishly handed Sarah to a king to save his own skin. (1 Peter 3:5 – 6) Was Peter remembering everything his wife put up with during his open-mouth-insert-foot days?
Peter’s description of a beautiful Christian woman reflects decades of living with his wife. It’s not about fancy clothes and fussy hair and sparkly jewelry, he wrote. It’s about the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, valuable in God’s eyes. (1Peter 3:3 – 4) He urged husbands to be considerate and respectful of their wives; after all, they—and Mrs. Peter—are joint heirs of the grace of life.
What is the silent Mrs. Peter trying to tell me? Maybe that in the seasons of life, a woman may at times be married to a fisherman, an unemployed wanderer, a crowd-wowing evangelist, or a jailbird…and they’re all the same man. No matter what she thinks she knows about her guy, only God can envision what he will become with a little patience and a lot of Holy Spirit power and polish.
When I doubt God can change and use someone close to me, I will try to remember Mrs. Saint Peter.