It must’ve been hard to do.
Make the change from being a follower of Jesus to a teller about Jesus. From having him there with them to having him pop in and out of life unexpectedly.
This next bit is a paraphrase told from the perspective of the once disciple, now apostle, Peter.
I remember that day…
What to do? Let’s go fishing. Fishing is what we do, Simon and Thomas and Nathaniel, James and John. Fishermen. It’s what we do, it’s what we know, it’s how we provide for our families. Fished all night and got nothing. Some guy on the beach shouting instructions on how to catch fish…we’ll try it.
Whoa! Wow! So many fish, almost too many fish. One fish, two fish red fish, 152 fish. (Plus one).
This all seems so familiar, I’ve had this happen before. It was Jesus on the shore.
A quick swim, some breakfast, fish hauling ashore and then the “chat”.
For 3 years we’ve hung out with Jesus. On meeting me he said he would change my name. Now, after the denial, ( three denials, if you’re counting) and the resurrection we are back to Simon son of John. Not Peter. Simon.
Then the questions, do I love him more than these? Do I️ love Jesus more than my fishing buddies do? At one time in the not so distant past I️ claimed that I️ did.
Then the questions come. Jesus could’ve used 4 different words for the word love in his questions. He went straight to the highest, the strongest, the purest, do I Simon, love, agape love, Jesus?
It may be my failures and denials but all I can muster is “you know I love you like a brother, I️ phileo you Jesus”.
He gives me a job. “Feed my lambs”.
Then he asks me again, do I Simon, agape him, Jesus?
“Jesus, I love you, like a brother” is my answer.
“Take care of my sheep”.
He asks again, a third time. I didn’t get why he asked me twice but it becomes clear as he asks the third time, my mind went back to that horrible early morning, my third denial, “I tell you I do not know the man”….and then began swearing like a fisherman.
The third and last question Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me….like a brother?”
I’m hurt and frustrated, so my answer is terse, “ you know all things, you know I love you like a brother..”
Again, “Feed my sheep…”
And then I get the prophecy about my death.
“18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
There are 2 things that encourage me here. “When you are old,” it isn’t eminent, and “old” I will continue to follow Jesus for the rest of my life.
This is one of the memories I think about as I write to those followers of Jesus who will continue after I’m dead. They will continue to tell others about our Jesus.
Add to your faith…brotherly love, and add to that, Agape love, God kind of love, selfless, others first, die in your place, kind of love. Add that to your faith in Jesus. Then you will be able to be fruitful and productive in your faith.
Jesus welcomed me back, I fell, I fell further and harder but his love covered my failures. His love will always do that. It will always cover over our sin.
(Originally posted 12/19/17)