I blogged yesterday about my admiration for Peter’s heart. I also love how Jesus showed his love for Peter, how Jesus knew even before it happened, that the disciples would desert Him that Peter was going to deny even knowing Him. Peter is outraged by Jesus’s prediction, he says in Matthew 14:33 “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will NEVER desert you.” Can’t you just see his red face, hear his indignant tone, I sure can. Because I can hear it from my mouth. How many times have I said I will always follow You, I will always listen for Your voice, I will always run hard after You. Yet I get distracted, lazy, and filled of myself.
Jesus’s response to Peters’ outrage is “I tell you the truth, Peter – this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Peter says “even if I have to DIE with you, I will never deny you!” Yep, he is so outraged he is declaring his death over denial.
We know what happens don’t we, sure enough Peter denies Jesus. All… Three… Times. I picture as soon as the third denial slips past his lips the horror of what he has done swallows him and he drops to his knees in his guilt and tears. Don’t we do this in life, we vow to follow, to chase after Jesus, even die for Him? I certainly have done this, I have chosen to live selfishly instead of dying to myself.
John 21:15-18 recounts for us the grace that Peter experienced. At the beginning of the chapter Peter and a few of the other disciples headed out to fish, I picture they are craving the peace and comfort of the sea. That is the place where they know all is right in their world. While they are in their boat, catching nothing, they see a man on the shore, just the outline of a man wanting to know if they are catching anything? Their response is a shout of “NO,” a frustrated no I would guess, this is the place they know, they are doing what they have always done best and nothing seems to be happening. Until this man on the shore tells them to cast their nets on the other side. I know I would be thinking, “I know what I’m doing and I don’t need the help of a backseat fisherman.” I’m sure they are feeling a bit frustrated and are willing to take a chance on that, maybe this outline of a man on the shore can be of help to them. What do you know, it works! They throw those nets over the other side and can’t even pull them back into the boat they are so full.
John was the first to recognize that the blurry figure on the beach was Jesus. He quickly told Peter, who again I see tripping over himself in the hurry to get out of the boat and to they shore. He had much to say to the Lord. After breakfast Peter and Jesus found a moment alone. Jesus dives into the conversation with “Do you love me more than these, Peter?” “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” said Peter. “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus repeats the question “Do you love me, Peter?” “Yes, Lord you know I love you” came Peter’s response. “Then take care of my sheep,” one last time Jesus says “Do you love me, Peter?” At this point Peter is getting his feelings hurt, Jesus asking THREE times if Peter loved Him? Of course I love you, you know everything about me runs through his head I have think. He responds with “You know that I love you.” Jesus again says “Then feed my sheep.”
The grace of Jesus to ask three times of Peter’s love, to cancel out each denial that tumbled from Peter’s lips. I find it amazing, perfectly offered over a man that had a heart to run after the Lord and in his hurry found himself tripping over his feet. Aren’t we offered that same grace, that same chance of grace to be poured over our mistakes? Absolutely! I praise Jesus for that because I certainly find myself tripping over my own feet at times. Not always in my hurry to do what the Lord has called me to do I will ashamedly admit. I have found myself being tripped up over my laziness, walking the path that is easier than the one I’ve been called to. I have found myself in the recent past on a path that wasn’t a bad path, only one that I wouldn’t leave. A path that God had called me to step off of and head a different direction but instead I dragged my feet for months. It was easy, it was comfortable, and familiar. This path that God has placed me on is hard, only because it requires faith, patience, and walking out onto the water.
I don’t know where you find yourself today, a path of comfort or laziness, a spot that is hard to see Jesus from or maybe you are running full out at Him. Regardless of where you are the grace of Jesus is right there, let it wash over you, listen as Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” and responds with, “Because I love you more then you can imagine.” Be ready to respond to His love, because life is going to overflow. Not overflow in perfection without trials but it will overflow with peace, joy and grace.
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