Have you ever noticed that from time to time it seems that all of us go through a questioning mode?
Did I choose the right career? Was marrying a correct choice? Did I marry the person I should have?
Should I have chosen a different place to live? Was it a good idea to have decided to become a parent?
What if…I had studied harder in school?
What if…I had just applied myself a little more?
Maybe if I had just held my temper and bit my tongue on that particular occasion, lots of things may have been different.
Just how many mistakes have I made that harmed others? Is this grudge I carry justified?
I should never have gotten a monkey for a pet! (I had a high school buddy who uttered this very remark.)
We all have dark, questioning nights of the soul. We all have those times when we drag out doubts and fears and mull them over.
Is it possible that hidden guilt may be the cause of our questioning? From time to time I suppose that it is natural to feel that we could have done more with our lives.
I have always disliked the expression killing time. For crying out loud we are only given a finite amount of time on this earth and I sure don’t want to waste any of it!
When these questioning periods come, I always think of Peter’s reinstatement (John 21:15-19). I cannot imagine the guilt that he carried after he betrayed Jesus.
Can you imagine the weight of this burden? I am sure he had more than just one dark, questioning night of the soul. After all, he’d thrown God under the bus!
Even so, I also wonder what he could have done differently. The Roman soldiers and the Jewish authorities were massive forces. Acknowledging Christ would have meant certain death.
Peter panicked! Peter bolted! I would have probably done the same thing. Wrong place! Wrong time!
But none of this really matters when wereadthe rest of the story.Jesus and some of his disciples are having breakfast one morning down by the Sea of Galilee. Incidentally, this is the third time that Jesus appeared before the disciples after he was raised from the dead (John 21:14).
Spontaneously, Jesus turned to Simon Peter and simply asked, “Do you love me?”
Jesus did not ask him about his effectiveness. He did not ask him to account for his depravities. He did not ask about Peter’s skills.
Jesus didn’t even request an apology from Peter. Nothing about that nasty night of betrayal was ever dredged up and harped upon.
The only thing Jesus asked of Peter was for his love.
Tome, this is huge. It is a find! It is a treasure! It is grace at its purest form and it makes all things crystal clear for me.
Jesus is not interested in much of anything really, other than our love for him; and, that we express our love by loving and caring for the things that matter most to him, the feeding and caring for his lambs. Them are us!
Of course you and I can facetiously add that Jesus’ requirement to Peter that he tend to us was a gargantuan task akin to herding cats! Jesus was asking Peter to look after a broken, serendipitous, widely vacillating and rebellious humanity and he wanted him to understand the weight of that request.
One would not fault Peter in the least if he had asked, “Lord, do you have a second option for me to pick?”
But, this is not what happened at all. The text closes with Jesus giving Peter a job; and, he signed up right on the spot.
Peter would make good on his promise to Christ, not because you and I are all fun and games but because of the depth of his love for Jesus.
Peter herded cats, not for the cats’ sake but for his love of Christ. At the end of the day, it was the love of Christ that urged Peter to sacrifice himself fully for the Master.
There’s all kinds of symbolism here. Sometimes we will be called to do some things that we will not want to do. But, we do them anyway for the love of Christ.
Jesus always makes things simple for us. He simply wants to know about our love for him and to give us a job.
All of life can be summed up in this. All of our questions vanish like smoke. Jesus renders them moot. There is really nothing more to be considered.
The apostle Paul was right. He said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13 NIV).”
Finally, think on this for a minute…I believe Christ calls us into uncomfortable situations because these situations look like him. What does this mean? It means that Jesus will never call us to a task that is not ultimately about love and healing.
And, that looks just like him! That’s our savior that we know and serve.