Introduction

Come with me for a short trip “Back to Baghdad.” “Back to Baghdad,” you cry in protest. You say, “I have watched the bombs of shock and awe falling on Saddam Hussein’s palaces; I have seen General Tommy Frank’s Third Infantry’s tanks rumble into Baghdad; and I have seen so much of the war in Iraq that I can almost smell the gunsmoke in my living room!”

Well, have no fear. Our imaginary journey into Baghdad takes place, not in 2003 AD, but 65 AD, or thereabouts. Then the ancient city of Babylon was flourishing. It stood between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the vicinity of modern Baghdad. Then the Roman emperor Nero ruled Iraq, not Saddam Hussein.

As we cross the river and enter the city we find that the aging apostle, Simon Peter, is visiting the assembly here. He is busily writing letters to the scattered Christian Jews. MacDonald tells us that they were located in “…the eastern provinces of what is now Turkey.”1 Let us look over his shoulder and see what he is writing. But first let us reflect on the distinguished life of this apostle. We will first reflect on Simon Peter the man before turning our attentions to his mandate.

1 William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary, New Testament, p. 1065,