My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, 09-30-2021

Remember when Jesus told the rambunctious Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed?  In the garden, when a group came to arrest Jesus, Peter used his sword to cut off the ear of the one closest to them.  He was protecting Jesus from the mob.  Yet, Peter’s actions were not needed because Jesus could not fulfill his role by being protected.  Imagine Peter’s shock when Jesus told him to put away his sword.   There would be no bragging from that apostle’s lips on how he protected his Rabbi.

We are told that the disciples fled into the protection of darkness.  Where they decided to hide, we are not told.  We know they later showed up in that upper room.  We also know that Peter and John decided to go where they had taken Jesus.  At least John knew.  John gained entrance without any problems.  John was known by those who guarded the doors.  He apparently did not care if they knew he followed Jesus.  However, Peter wasn’t thrilled nor as brave now as he had been when he drew his sword.  We are not told whether or not Peter discarded his sword before they arrived at the judgment hall.  If he was accused of bearing a sword as a disciple of Jesus, would he be allowed to enter?  If he continued to bear that sword, did that have any bearing upon him denying he was a disciple?  John sees no reason to inform us either way.  

Later, when the apostles were gathered in that upper room, only Thomas was missing.  Peter was there who did make up that group.  Is there any dialogue from him?  Neither Matthew, Mark, Luke nor John mention Peter saying anything.  His bragging had been wiped out by denial.  That rooster had silenced the talkative fisherman.  On the second appearance in that upper room, Jesus addresses Thomas.  Does Peter speak up?  There is no record of him doing so.  It is not until Jesus appears at the Sea of Tiberias (Galilee), where the apostles are fishing, that Peter opens his mouth (John 21:1).  He may have opened his mouth, but he was not the first one to speak.  Jesus initiated the conversation, not Peter.

The apostles have caught 153 large fish in their net (John 21:11).  They prepared and cooked the fish and had finished eating.  Peter is silent.  Can you imagine what was going through Peter’s mind during that time?  What could he say?  Will Jesus forgive him?  His previous actions have been ridiculous.  His mistakes are not secretive.  No bragging falls from Peter’s mouth.  He offers no great claims of what he will do.  What will Jesus say to him?  The meal is finished, and Jesus asked Peter, “Do you truly love me more than these?” (John 21:15).  Wow!  What a question!  Will Peter brag about how much more he loves Jesus than the others?  Is he that brazen?  No.  His reply is, “You know that I love you.”  Is that an affirmation statement or a question?  Translators put a period rather than a question mark at the end of Peter’s reply.  Jesus does not question Peter’s prior actions or statements.  It is a simple request from Jesus to “Feed my sheep.”  Jesus does not belittle the apostle.  He does not whip him with a reminder of his denials.  The Lord saw the apostle’s potential.  So, on the day of Pentecost, who stands up to speak?  It is the sheep feeder!  One day he is a scared denier and the next time he is a stouthearted disciple.

Jesus sees beyond our shortcomings.  Whatever you are addicted to, Jesus sees your potential.  Whatever perspectives you have which keeps you on the negative side of life, Jesus sees your potential and continues to knock at your door.  Sin is a devastating weight that knocks our legs out from under us.  Yet, despite how devastating our fall is, Jesus continues to hold out his hands to lift us up because he sees that potential.  He never looks for perfection because he is too busy looking at what we could be (Romans 3:10, 23)?  He wants you to do what he told Peter to do.  “Follow me” (John 21:19, 22).  Peter was not perfect, but who is?  Peter put his trust in Jesus’ perfection.  Who or what do you trust?