An inspirational journey that draws upon the story of a key apostle.
This new book by Hoekstra (This Servant’s Hands, 2016) takes a close look at the New Testament figure Simon Peter, a fisherman from Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee who was called to service by Jesus, came to be the “rock” on which Jesus would build his mission, denied him three times, wept over his own cowardice, and regained the courage of his faith. The central insight of Hoekstra’s passionate, engaging book is that Peter is not only one of the most dramatically developed characters in the New Testament, but also the sympathetic human anchor for the Christ story. Time and again in the Gospels, Peter’s questions, affirmations, and even misunderstandings give Jesus the opportunity to clarify his doctrine; Peter himself, Hoekstra notes, very often serves as a stand-in for the reader. The author weaves together the various versions of the Peter story in the four Gospels and expounds upon the underlying meanings of the various encounters; she consistently connects the stories to a bit of specific guidance for her target Christian audience: “There is a time when we know about Jesus; there is a time when we might hear some of Jesus’s teachings; and there is a time when Jesus calls us to leave all and follow Him,” she writes. “Have you answered the call to follow Jesus as one of His disciples? If not, why not?” Hoekstra understands the value of using Peter’s story as a metaphor for the reader’s spiritual journey, and she smoothly and insightfully uses the tale to shine a light on the reader’s personal faith. Peter doubted Jesus as deeply as it was possible to do, and, as Hoekstra writes, “Jesus taught him there is no end to forgiveness for a disciple of Christ.” Readers will likely find all of this analysis to be richly rewarding.
An engaging Peter-focused guidebook to deeper Christian understanding.