Peter vs Simon, the Title Fight (Part 1)
20 December, 2007
The apostle Paul had left Rome and travelled to Spain to preach. No sooner had he gone than word went around the city that Simon Magus was coming. The next day Simon appeared at the city gates, and flew over them into the heart of the Roman Empire. All that had followed Paul were amazed and now started to listen to Simon’s teachings. Marcellus, richest of Paul’s disciples, allowed Simon and his new followers to live in his house, where they feasted and talked of many things.
At the same time, in far off Jerusalem, Peter awoke with a start. He had been given a vision of the happenings in Rome, of his old nemesis Simon Magus, and immediately rushed to the dockside where he booked passage on a ship. The Captain of the ship, Theon, was impressed by Peter’s all round brilliance and converted during the voyage. When they eventually arrived at Puteoli, on the coast of Italy, they were met by a worried christian, Ariston. “Thank the Lord you have come Peter, almost all of our brethren in Rome have converted to this new religion that Simon Magus preaches. We must not tarry, we need your power to bring the flock back into the fold!” Leaping into action Peter and Ariston raced along the road until they arrived at the Eternal City and found lodging with the last remaining follower of Paul.
In the morning they went to Marcellus’ house where Simon Magus was residing. Peter knocked on the door and an old man answered. “Good day sir, may I help you?” Peter replied: “Yes, I wish to speak with Simon Magus who has corrupted the good people of Rome.” “Oh, ” said the old man, “he said to tell you that he’s not in.”
Peter was not fooled for a second and decided to show the Power of the Lord of Hosts. Behold, Peter took a passing dog and sent it into the house. The dog walked up to Simon Magus and spoke in the voice of a human “Simon, Peter is outside, come out of here you wicked man.” And Simon was amazed that a dog could speak, but not as amazed as Marcellus who immediately ran out to Peter. “Forgive me, ” Marcellus cried, “I have turned from the true path, but your talking dog has brought me back to the infinite majesty of a forgiving and loving god.” “No worries, ” replied Peter, “You can come with us.”
Meanwhile, inside Simon had a brainwave. He spoke to the dog and said “Go outside and tell Peter that I’m not in. You can take your time, since you will die when Peter is done with you.” The dog was a simple soul and went out and told Peter that Simon had said yet again that he wasn’t in the house. Then the dog died, an ancient Laika. Peter than did some tricks with a fish and returned to his lodging. Marcellus was angry that he had been duped by Simon Magus and rushed into his house. “Get out of here deceiver! I am done with your wicked lies! I have seen the miracle of the talking dog, and some miracle with a dead fish that it’s best not to go into! Begone from my sight and my house!”
Simon left in a huff and travelled to where Peter was staying. He knocked on the door saying “OK, fine, have it your way, let’s settle this once and for all.” Peter heard the commotion and rather than going to answer the door himself he sent a woman with a suckling child. When they opened the door the child, who was but seven months old, spoke: “You were not impressed by a talking dog, perhaps a talking child will get you to understand the immense mysteries of the ineffable sacrificed god. Peter will face you, but not now, on the Sabbath. Therefore leave Rome until then, and speak no more of your mischief.” And Simon was struck dumb, and sulked out of Rome not returning until the Sabbath.
The days passed. In the Forum, scaffolding was raised as word spread of the mighty contest that was to take place. Many had heard that Peter had bested Simon Magus before, and driven him from Judea. Now they awaited the rematch, surely this would be a spectacle that would be remembered for generations. And so the city held it’s breath…