As Paul was lost in thought, I started thinking too. I was wondering about the two weeks with Peter.
Paul was a trained scholar. He was an up -and-coming Pharisee. He had studied with the best Jewish scholar of his time: Gamaliel. He knew the prophecies, he knew the commentaries. He knew how the accepting that Jesus was the one who had been foretold lit up a path through the Old Testament. He didn’t need anyone to train him.
Peter and the rest of the disciples were, in the words of the Jewish leaders of the time, “unschooled, ordinary men.” They would have known more of the Old Testament than we do, because that was ordinary, but they were not trained. He couldn’t train Paul.
So when they met in Jerusalem three years after Paul saw Jesus, what did they talk about?
They could have talked about Jesus. Peter had seen him before and after the resurrection. Paul had seen him after he ascended to heaven. Peter saw him tired. Paul saw him triumphant. Did they compare notes?
They could have talked about Gamaliel. Paul studied with him. Peter’s life was saved by him. (One of the times Peter and the other disciples were facing authorities wanting to kill them, Gamaliel offered a thoughtful caution, one which sounded a bit like he believed Jesus.)
They could have told stories of preaching in different places, Paul out in the edges, Peter in Jerusalem.
Paul could have asked for stories of the last days of Jesus. He knew about the last supper directly from Jesus. But knowing the rest of the story would have interested him, it would seem.
“So what did you talk about during those days,” I asked him.
“Nothing that you need for your faith,” Paul said slowly.
He was right, of course. But the reflection about two real men whose lives intersected has helped my faith.