Peter’s 2nd letter to Christians opens differently than his first letter. In the 2nd one, he begins by identifying himself with two names instead of just one. He says, “Simeon Peter, a servant, and apostle of Jesus Christ.” Simeon is a direct transliteration of the Hebrew name. We mostly see it as “Simon” but he was named after Jacob’s second-born son to his wife Leah, Simeon. Reuben was his older brother and Levi was his younger brother along with Judah, the fourth of Leah’s sons. The name means “to hear” and Leah chose that name for her son because God had heard her prayer and answered with another child. Peter is the Greek name that he went by. As the Apostle to the Jews, it might have been important to Peter to include his Hebrew name to gain their ear, hoping that they would “hear.” Then he also wants the Greek believers to listen as well, so he adds “Peter” to his introduction. Not only does Peter use both the Hebrew and Greek names for himself, but he also uses two titles as well. He is both “servant” and “apostle.” As a servant, he was one under authority to do the bidding of another. As an Apostle, he was one sent to deliver a message. The Apostles (capital A), were those chosen by Christ during his ministry and used to deliver His message in writing.  The Greek word “apostle” comes from two words meaning “from” and “to send.” The English word “apostle” is from the old English word “postel” from which we have derived the word “postal” as in postal service. A postal servant delivers the mail. The function of an apostle is to deliver the message of the New Testament. We might say that Simeon Peter is God’s mailman.

Peter does not describe his addressees as living in a particular location as he did in his first letter. Although he was addressing all Christians in that letter, he makes that clear in his 2nd letter. He says he’s writing “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Peter had a difficult time accepting Gentiles into the fold of Christianity and wrestled with the observances of the Jewish laws as part of the requirement for being part of a community of believers. God has to give him three visions about accepting what God had made clean and stop calling them unclean (Acts 10). In the book of Galatians, Paul has to confront him to “his face” regarding this issue. I think this is the key issue in the church for centuries and still faces struggles today. Peter’s phrase “to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours,” means that Peter is now addressing Gentile believers as equals. They ate pig! They didn’t observe ceremonial washings, they had no interest in the Jewish rituals and the only thing they accepted about the Jewish sacrificial system was that Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled that completely.

From the very beginning, God created us all equal. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” In Acts 10:34, Peter finally acknowledges the equality of all human life when he said, “Truly, I understand that God shows no partiality.” Then in Galatians 3:28, Paul says clearly, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ.” Another verse from the Apostle Paul in Romans 10:12 adds, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.” The message of human equality comes directly from God and Peter as well as Paul is God’s mailmen.