7:48pm PT by Natalie Stone
'A.D. The Bible Continues' Postmortem: Peter and the Disciples Abandon Their Fears, Gain Confidence
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the April 19 episode of NBC's A.D. The Bible Continues.]
On Sunday night's episode of A.D. The Bible Continues, viewers watch a new side of Peter through his role as a father and the descent of the Holy Spirit to earth.
Peter's relationship with his young teenage daughter, Maya, reveals his struggle between caring for her and leaving home to follow Jesus' instruction to spread the gospel.
The disciples struggle with knowing when or how the Holy Spirit will come to earth. While discussing Peter's doubt, Maya asks her father, "What would Jesus do?" to which he recognizes that Jesus would pray, and prayer is the way the Holy Spirit will descend to earth.
While the disciples pray as a group, the Holy Spirit comes to their hiding place. Individually and as unit, the disciples develop a boldness to share the gospel with the people of Jerusalem. Peter takes on his role as leader and goes into the city center to share the news of Jesus, which lands him and John in jail by the end of the episode.
Adam Levy, who plays disciple Peter in the series, discusses the disciple's role as a father, his newfound confidence and significance of the Holy Spirit to the group.
Peter has a daughter, Maya. Talk to us about his relationship with his daughter and the role that she plays in his faith in episode three.
He has a root in family and the point that we meet him in episode three … he's now realizing that his future family are the disciples. He has a daughter in [A.D.] in Galilee, she's 14 or 15 years of age, and she's been left in Galilee and he has no other family; his wife has died. It's that moment of going back to his roots and seeing where he came from and where he has to go. At the very beginning of the episode, he has to make a very big decision on how to broach the subject. As a human being and a father, he has to be there for his daughter, but it's very clear to him that he's been left in charge. He's meant to be the rock and the cornerstone, the foundation stone, to follow Jesus and to be his voice — the voice of Christianity, or what is going to be Christianity not in his lifetime. It's a bit of a tussle when we meet him. He's a sensitive soul, Peter. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he's very honest and he says, "how can I tell my daughter that I love her and then leave? How can I have that conversation?" I think it's a human, timeless moment of humanity. As the story unfolds, they have a very, very good relationship. He's there to protect her. We're showing the fact that he's there to guide and protect her, but in other worldly terms, he's been chosen. He has to follow his heart; he has to follow the trust that Jesus has given him and the power that the Holy Spirit is about to give him. He's this working guy. What would you do if it happened to you? It's that sort of thing. Rather than him being above the people, he is of the people. Every time the Holy Spirit empowers him, it also takes a little bit of him. He's very traumatized by the fact that he is a father, but he has to move forward with his new family, which are this group of disciples, to try and keep them safe, alive and away from trouble — to grow the new family of Christianity … You will see, he keeps trying to keep [his daughter] safe and by keeping her safe, that could mean keeping her away from Jerusalem for a while.
There is growing dissension between Caiaphas, the governor and Herod. Why are the three at odds?
It's more of a triangle with the disciples, who are only a very, very few running for their life, community and their safety in the middle of it all — peacekeepers. We see in the press, we see on news reels all the time, these peacekeepers in the middle, who are trying to straddle these different strands and keep everyone together and show them hope, love and inspire them. That's what the disciples' job is in the middle. They're trying to battle in their own peaceful way to move forward. In a way, the disciples just won't go away. The disciples are there, they're not going to do anything aggressive, they're trying to keep the peace, but they're this fireball … You've got the Roman Empire, Caiaphas and the disciples in the middle of it. They are Jews, but they are trying to make peace … The disciples use the power of the word, especially Peter, who is an illiterate fisherman, who finds his voice in episode three. He's visited by the Holy Spirit and he finds his voice. In episodes four, five and six, you see him using that power that he finds … He talks like a human to everybody and people start listening to him.
What is the significance of Peter realizing that prayer is the way to invite the Holy Spirit to earth?
The disciples are playing a waiting game … He comes from a work ethic where if you toil and work hard, long hours, you'll achieve. He doesn't really understand what to do. It's his daughter who turns to him and says, "What would Jesus do?" Peter realizes he needs his family just as much as the disciples in many respects. They have this wonderful dialogue where his daughter says, "What would he do?" and Peter says, "He'd pray." … He knows what to do. He's enlightened. He just thinks out of the box all the time. He finds the power of prayer; it's peacemaking on another level. This theme of prayer goes hugely towards the end of this season … He still uses the power of prayer to the most effect. I now see it as an actor, and certainly Peter does, as his biggest defense and breaking down a barrier, and his biggest tool in how to keep peace and find a way forward. That's how he gets visited by the Holy Spirit. You see it come into the room and at the end of it Peter says, "Now we can go out. Now we can move on."
Peter has a new boldness after he learns about the Holy Spirit. Can you tell us how it changed Peter and the disciples' outlook?
In episode two, he's just spoken to Jesus and Jesus comes to him and he says, "Peter, do you love me?" He asks the question three times just like the three denials that Peter gave of Jesus in episode one. He says, "Of course I love you" and then Jesus gives him some points of view and says, "Feed my lambs" and "You will die for me one day. You're going to die for this cause." … Jesus is leaving Peter in many respects. When we see him at the beginning of episode three and he sees his daughter, he is fearless of death at that point; he just doesn't know how to use it. It's only when the Holy Spirit comes to him he knows how to use it. He's got nothing to lose. He knows he's going to be martyred at some point. He has the knowledge that a lot of the disciples are going to die as well. He just doesn't know when it's going to happen. He loses his fear … Jesus has told him he is going to die in episode two: "You will die for me Peter." Then he goes into episode three and he gets the Holy Spirit through prayer. What's he got to fear? He's got nothing to fear. It's not like he's untouchable — he knows he's going to die, he just doesn't know when. In a way, that gives you confidence. As humans, we have the knowledge that we're all going to die at some point, but he now knows he's going to die for Jesus. He is going to die for this cause. It gives him immense confidence to walk into that temple and start talking … The Holy Spirit comes to them in a safe house, in a hideaway … He knows that the faith is within them all. It can happen anywhere. It doesn't have to happen in a place of worship.