Wednesday, May 13, 2015

John 21:15-17 Restoration

In this passage, we've read that Jesus met His disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. They'd fished all night and caught nothing, and then what a haul! They followed His instructions and brought in all the fish they could handle.
Jesus was on the shore when they pulled in, and He had breakfast ready for them.

After they eat, He confronts Peter publicly; He speaks to him openly in front of the rest of the disciples.

                       When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon,
                       son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he
                       said, "you know that I love you."
                       Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
                       Again Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He
                       answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said,
                       "Take care of my sheep." The third time He said to him, "Simon,
                       son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked
                       him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know
                       all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."
                       (John 21:15-17)

I expect that you may have heard the reason why Jesus asked Peter the same question three times, right?
When Peter was confronted with the opportunity to demonstrate his love for Jesus, he denied knowing Jesus three times.

It was at a fireside in a courtyard that Peter denied the Lord three times and lost his ministry.
It's at a fireside by the sea that Jesus will restore Peter to the ministry.

Ever thought about how Peter must have felt during the weeks after he denied Jesus?
The night before Jesus was crucified, Peter told Jesus "Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will." (Matthew 26:33)
And on that very same night, Peter said to Him, "I am ready to die for You." (John 13:37)

If we had asked Peter, he'd have told us that he loved Jesus. He had no intention of letting Jesus down.
Look back at the three years of discipleship . . .
He's the one that walked on water to get to Jesus.
He's the one who said "Lo, we have left all, and have followed You."
He's the one who cut off the ear of the High Priest's servant, to defend Jesus.
He's the one who followed Jesus into the courtyard -- the Bible doesn't say the others were there.
He's the one who now dives into the water to meet Jesus on the shore.

Yes, Peter loved Jesus. Peter had also failed Jesus. That's all that is on his mind now, we can bet.
"What must Jesus think of me?"
"Will He ever forgive me?"
"I really, really blew it this time."
"What a failure."
Have we ever felt this way?
Have we ever failed Jesus? Um. In a word, yes.
Peter had made some bold statements about how much he loved Jesus, just as we may have. But when it came right down to it, he bombed out, as they say. So Jesus needs to restore Peter so he can be in fellowship with Him again.

And praise the Lord, that is what He wants to do for us, too.
In spite of all of our failures, the times that we have bombed out, the times that we have broken His heart, Jesus wants to restore us to fellowship with Him.

Let's look at how He does this for Peter . . . He doesn't call him "Peter" yet, for he needs to become strong again before he can be restored, and find again his purpose in life.
He calls him "Simon". . .
"Do you love me more than these?"
These what?
Well, if we look at this very simply, what is around Simon Peter at that moment?
Do you love me more than fishing? More than these guys you work with?

Jesus is very serious about sacrificing ourselves for Him. He told us, and Luke wrote it down:

                           I assure you, that everyone who has given up house or wife or
                           brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of
                           God, will be repaid many times over in this life...(Luke 18:29-30)

And again, in Luke 14:

                          Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He
                          said, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother,
                          wife and children, brothers and sisters -- yes, even their own life --
                          such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry
                          their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:25-27)

I used to wonder about that . . . hate? Well, as far as I can tell, He was using "hate" as a term of comparison. Comparing our love for Christ to our love for the things of this world.

Look at it this way.
If we say a Cessna airplane with one engine (propeller) is fast, we are correct. It's faster than we are, right? But it's NOT fast in comparison with a supersonic Concord jet!
When we compare our love for Jesus with our love for the things of this world, the latter needs to look like we don't like them at all, in comparison to our overwhelming devotion and love for Him.

Jesus is asking Peter, Do you love me more than you love "things"? In order to be restored to fellowship, Peter must first affirm His love for the Lord.
What about us?
Do we love Him more than we love things?
Are there any things that we love more than we love Him?
Are there things in our lives that we put ahead of Jesus?
Our jobs? Our money? Pleasure? Time? Toys?

Lord, help me to love you more than things; help me to love you more each day.


Cathy said...

Amen to that prayer..... may we love Him more and more as each day of our lives pass. But I find it really hard to measure out if I love things or situations more than I love the Lord. There aren't any hard and fast weighing tools. For example, I love quilting, in all it's forms. It's how I make a small living to supplement our retirement pensions. And if I'm not quilting for others, I'm making them for myself. And if I'm not making them, I'm thinking about it, making plans for my quilty "bucket list" How do I know when that becomes something that I love more than the Lord? It's a passion and gift that He gave me, of that I'm convinced. But how do I, or any of us that are asking the question, know when we've crossed the line and carried it over into idolitry? As I've been sitting here typing this and thinking about it, this verse came to mind: l"search me, oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Maybe that's the answer......

Belinda said...

I have often wondered the same thing Cathy! Aside from my grandchildren, quilting is my main focus. I don't THINK I put it above all else, but I have wondered in the past if I've made it an idol. When I begin to question it, I back off a little. But even then I think about it more than I probably should.

Your answering verse is perfect.