I must confess that this post is inspired by a message that my amazing (and quite handsome) husband gave a few nights ago. I came away from it with my toes stepped on. No, that’s too nice, I am going to say they were probably crushed and trampled. The text is John chapter 21 and Jesus had just appeared to his disciples after his miraculous resurrection.
I think this passage is specifically a story about Jesus and Peter and a little object lesson that has a big impact. I encourage you to read the chapter on your own in its entirety, as I am only going to give an overview. A little time had passed since the first appearance of Jesus to his disciples and Peter decides to go fishing. Now fishing, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. But Peter was returning to what was comfortable, fishing was his old life, it was something that he knew. He knew that it would provide him with a steady job and put food on the table. And what happened? They couldn’t catch anything! This must have been frustrating for Peter. After all, fishing was his specialty. Finally, Jesus comes along and allows them to catch a net full of fish. Why did all this happen? I think to show Peter where he was putting his faith, his love. In some fish. He was forgetting who created the fish, who created him, and his purpose.
Sometimes I forget too, well, actually a lot. God wants to bless his children, he loves us. But he doesn’t want us to be so consumed with those blessings that we forget about him. Its like when I surprise my children with a new toy. Of course, I want them to like what I have given them, but I would be very hurt if they were so consumed with that new toy that they completely forgot about me and our relationship. They might say, “Oh, thank you new toy for coming to me, you’re the best!” I would be thinking “Hey! what about me? I gave it to you!” This is exactly what I do in my own life! I find myself loving things (or people, or money, or comfort) more than the Savior that so graciously gave them to me. I love my husband and children so much, its ridiculous. I worry about their safety, their health, their comfort. I feel like I would die if anything happened to them. This may seem harmless and even normal. Peter only wanted to provide for his family, is that such a bad thing? Yes! Because he was placing it before his Lord.
Later on in the chapter, Jesus asks Peter “lovest thou me more than these?” three times (I think he was a little slow in getting the point, just like we are sometimes). Do I really, really love him as much as I think I do? For Peter, “these” was some fish (his comfort, familiarity). For us, it is whatever we have placed on the throne instead of him.
So, in other words, I can substitute the word “these” with whatever excuses I have for not being completely sold out for Jesus. Sometimes I have a lot of excuses, and they seem very logical, but it must ALL be left behind, for He is Worthy.