“Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” John 21:22 (NKJV)
I didn’t know how serious my mom was about confession and church until I hit the age of 10. All of sudden I was being dragged away from MY Saturday morning cartoons. I went from watching The Bugs Bunny Show (which was like a religion to me) to being dragged to church, told to go confess your sins in a Confessional Booth, where the guy behind the screen listened, then said to go out into the church, find me a pew, get on my knees, and recite the following…
“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid in the near occasion of sin. Amen.”
…anywhere from 10 to 20 times (guess it depended upon the severity of my sins) along with the same amount of times reciting the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary’s. If I were to add up all the minutes I spent resisting doing this act of penance it probably woulda surpass the actual time actually doing it. All I ever wanted to do was to get back to MY Saturday morning cartoons. After all, how was Elmer Fudd gonna do in Bugs Bunny with just “spear and magic helmet”? <sigh> Viking operas never end well do they? Anyway!
“Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.” — John 21:3
I spend some of my morning devotional time, online, with Americas Keswick’s own Director of Housekeeping, Brian Ferguson. I look forward to this time, as I appreciate Brian’s insights on how something we’re reading relates to us. Sometimes it as if we’re two Peter’s in a pod, struggling with the same issues, relating with same outcomes, and eventually knowing that God is in control so why fret the small stuff. Our recent convo got me to thinking about Peter’s heart after his denial of knowing Jesus Christ. A guy that was gonna be the hero of the story, who’s now a testimony of cowardice, probably feeling like he’s gonna be sidelined, after all he and the other 11 disciples (yeah gotta include Judas) had just experienced the most intense 3 ½ years of ministry ever known to man and all that’s left… “I’m goin’ fishin”?
So here we are, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, breakfast sizzlin’, fishin’ ain’t goin’ well, Jesus standing on the beach, “Children, have you caught any fish?” Time for Peter to own up to his betrayal? Well, it’s not like Jeus is gonna write it off is He? No, on the contrary, Jesus is gonna acknowledge it by almost recreating the night before the rooster crowed 3 times. “Petra, Me agapás?” Peter struggles, he knows he blew it and all he can muster up is saying he loves Jesus like a brother? Sorry, I can’t condemn Peter here…I have to stand alongside him. Check out this quote from Alistair Begg…
“Like Peter, you and I will sometimes feel sidelined by our failures, our backsliding, our unbelief. We will feel the ache of a dislocated faith; we will need the Master Surgeon to reach out and put our love back in place, sometimes painfully but always restoratively. Notice that it is indeed Peter’s heart, his love and devotion, that Jesus is most concerned about. Other qualities are desirable and necessary, yes, but it is our love for Christ that is indispensable. Where is our love? Is it built on shaky sand or on a firm rock?”
After all that Simon Peter did outta his fleshly self, Jesus still chose to use him to build His church. Isn’t it surprising that the disciple who let Jesus down the most (well there’s Judas) was entrusted to build Christ’s church to His glory. So, what does this say about us? Well, like with Peter, Jesus wants to put our love for Him back into alignment when we fail Him…or we think we’ve failed Him. When restoration happens for us our Savior just might give us a greater responsibility then we first started with, but that also means that with this responsibility would come more testing, as it should be.
Those Saturday mornings were meant for me to understand that, but I chose to take in a cartoonish Viking opera instead (but there ain’t nothing like a little Bugs Bunny now and again, right guys?). None the matter, both examples stand to remind me that I serve a God who is a God of divine grace and mercy. I now can get in a pew, kneel down, look up in humble adoration and praise that I get to serve Him. I hope you can too…Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.