Theme of the Week: Peter’s Spiritual Growth… and Ours
Bible Verse: 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.” John 21:17
Scripture Reading: John 21:15-19
After a failed night of fishing, which, must have been frustrating, the fishermen turned disciples, returned to fishermen, hear a voice from the shore. Encouraged to drop the nets one more time they come up with a net-breaking number of fish. Peter, the miraculous catch confirming that the voice on the shore belonged to Jesus, leaves his companions in the boat to pull in the fish and rushes to Jesus.
I do wonder what those first panting moments between the two of them were like. Peter, wet from his swim, was clearly excited to see Jesus again, but not having addressed Peter’s actions on the night of Jesus’s arrest. From Peter’s end, that may have been the quintessential awkward silence.
After a meal, taken from some of the fish that were caught, Jesus takes Peter for a walk. Symbolism and specific words for love aside, the major point of this conversation is not to reaffirm that Peter loves Jesus, but to let Peter know that Jesus still loves him and wants to use him, and not in an insignificant way, but as someone who carries the message of Messiah forward and takes care of those who belong to Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope. I may not mirror Peter at every turn of the journey, but I certainly know that I have failed Jesus, even in ways that make me question my ability and availability to serve.
But I picture Jesus walking with Peter down the beach. Peter’s mind wandering to all that he has said and done in the recent past. Hearing Jesus charge him to take care of his sheep must have been both a weight lifted, and a burden placed.
We know Peter lived into that calling. He became the disciple that perhaps Jesus saw under all that brash and bluster. Jesus sees that in us too. He sees the disciple in us that is being remade in His own image, and He walks with us asking us if we love Him and assuring us that He loves us.
Prayer: God thank you that I am never beyond your redeeming love. Thank you that Jesus sees me as I am and as I am being made. Help me to be the disciple you are creating me to be, not perfect, not finished, but growing.
Reflection: How do you rely on the grace and forgiveness of Jesus?
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