Based on John 21

I should have just kept my big mouth shut. If only I hadn’t promised to stay with him to the end. If only I hadn’t turned on him. If only I’d known what to say when he appeared in the room that first time. Every time I’ve seen him since he came back, I’ve felt like a big sign on my body proclaims, “This is the guy that was a lousy friend to  Jesus.” No one quite knows what to say to me.

The safest bet is to go catch some fish. Am I running away? Losing myself in work? Maybe. But in the 8 days and 3 times I’ve seen Jesus, He hasn’t said anything to me, hasn’t tried to catch my eye or initiate any movement toward me. I haven’t either, but I really don’t know what to say.

After being out on the water we hadn’t caught any fish. I guess even the fish don’t want to have anything to do with me. I feel like a curse. No one is really talking to me.

“Ahoy there! Have you caught any fish for breakfast?”

“Nah. Fish aren’t biting. Sorry.”

“Try the other side of the boat.”

Are you kidding me?

Suddenly, the boat jerked right. What? That only happens when…There are so many fish the nets are going to break!

“It’s Jesus!”

I threw on some clothes and jumped in the water. What was I doing? Am I going to hide in the water all day? No, I’m just making sure the nets don’t break. Really? Seriously? Ok. I’m hiding in the water. Trying to delay the inevitable.

By the time I got to shore, they were eating. Someone handed me a plate and I ate too. Just when I thought I’d escape and go clean barnacles off the boat, Jesus turned to me.

“Peter.” He looked straight at me. And oh, I had forgotten what it was like to look into those eyes. Kind. Knowing. Not missing a thing.

“Do you love me, purely, unconditionally?” I was taken aback. How could I love him unconditionally?

“Yes, Lord. You know I love you like a friend” It was the best I could offer.

“Peter, do you love me transcendently, unconditionally?” Why do I feel like he’s inviting me to something I don’t yet see, can’t yet do?

“Lord, you know I love you with a more limited love. As one loves a friend” I just wanted to be honest with him.

“Peter, do you love me the way you love your friends.” He was asking me for everything. I felt grieved that he had to ask me three times.

“Lord, you know who I am. You know what I am. I love you as I am.” It was as much as I could admit. He knew me. Knew what I was feeling, knew exactly why I was running. Knew I didn’t really want to run. Knew there was courage underneath all my cowardice.

“Then feed my sheep.”

My heart heard his words and understood. He wasn’t mad at me. Relationship had never been broken – only in my mind. He still wanted me. Still believed in me. Still had plans for me. We weren’t done.

How many times in the years to come would I replay that scene? Jesus never worried about my failures. He only ever wanted my love. It was enough.

ACTION: What do you relate to in this story? Do you feel that your love is enough for Jesus? Do you sense His love for you?

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Stories of Jesus…Hometown Trouble
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