When I was much younger—mostly teenage years, guys used to get a laugh over my innocence, as often was the time something was said where the innuendo went right past me.
Even now I can see the laughing face as hands would swish past ears to illustrate how it had gone right past me. (Even that gesture had to be explained to me the first time it was used, lol.)
I didn’t mind the teasing as it was generally good natured.
Now, these many years later, apparently I’ve still been missing the meaning of some things. Unlike then, it seems now it’s concepts of a much more important nature.
Despite hearing something a multitude of times, the true meaning seems to pass beyond me until, at just the right moment, I suddenly come to understand in a way I previously had no idea.
Like just moments ago.
How many times have I heard the story of Jesus speaking to Simon Peter, asking “do you love me”? (John 21:1-19)
How many times have I heard the lecture “feed my sheep”?
How many times did the deeper meaning within this story whip right past me?
Let me try and explain.
I was reading the chapter titled ‘Peter’s Second Chance’ in the book: “Life Lessons with Max Lucado”.
Somehow, it would seem, the fact this story took place after, not before, Jesus was resurrected is something that had previously escaped me. But, while that is an important fact, it’s not the essential part, so stick with me as I’d like to share the story as I experienced it today.
Imagine a lovely day (okay, I don’t know what the weather was like, but for reasons I can’t explain I imagine it to be a lovely blue sky, sunshine filled day). Simon Peter and his companions were in their boat, on the water fishing. Fishing wasn’t going so well.
Does it ever when it’s a beautiful blue skied sunshine day?—seriously the best catch seems to come when the weather is crap, and the skies are ugly. Ah well… such is life anyhow…
From the shore a man queries as to how the fishing is going. From the boat he is informed– not so well.
He responds by telling them to throw their net to the right side of the boat stating when they do they will find some. They do as suggested and the net fills up to capacity; so much so they can’t pull the net up it’s so heavy with fish. When this happens “the disciple whom Jesus loved” recognizes Him, and exclaims “It is the Lord!”
Simon Peter’s joy at this news is such he dives into the water to get to shore faster, so anxious is he to be near Jesus. The other disciples follow, in the boat, towing the net of fish with them.
Jesus, in his resurrected body, (remember, this all takes place after he was crucified and risen again) is sitting on shore cooking fish, with the intent to share a meal with his friends. Jesus instructed them to bring some of the fish they had just caught.
Together they shared the meal as Jesus feed them bread and fish. None of them even questioned if it was Jesus because they knew it was the Lord.
However, these details I’ve just shared are not what I’d hear quoted in the past. Instead the emphasis was placed upon how Jesus questioned Simon Peter: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” to be followed up with instruction to “feed my sheep”.
Until today, my recollection of this was the emphasis on the rendering of charitable service. I suspect it was likely Sunday lessons on service for which this passage was quoted.
Today, however, as I read “Yes, Lord; You know that I love you”, then “Feed my lambs”, I thought, well yes, if we love Jesus then we love others.
Again Jesus asked “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Again Peter replied “Yes, Lord; You know that I love you”. Jesus then instructed him “Tend My sheep”.
A third time Jesus asks the question and by this time Peter is troubled that he’s being asked what he knows the Lord knows, so his reply is “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You”.
In the process of reading this it was impressed upon my heart the actual nature of this relationship between Jesus and Simon Peter; they shared a true and genuine friendship. Peter loved Jesus, Jesus loved Peter.
Peter did not relate to Jesus as a feared leader; as The Holy One in the way one respects an austere religious figure. While it’s evident he recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the son of God in flesh, he loved him in the way you and I love a living, breathing, true and genuine friend. Jesus and Peter shared a true, genuine, real friendship bonded by love for one another.
As the understanding of this hit me I felt sadness. The thought in my mind was how I wish I could have that type of relationship with Jesus. I wished I too could share that same bond of loving friendship.
And that is the moment it hit me: this realization; this strong impression on my soul; this recognition; this understanding, that this very thing is what Jesus actually wants with me.
My soul was rocked by the impact of this enlightenment in such a way it made me cry. Never before had it occurred to me that, just as with Peter, James, John, Andrew, Bartholomew, Jude, Matthew, Philip, Simon and Thomas, and even Judas, Jesus also loves Me and desires an eternal friendship with Me.
Like as for them, His blood was also shed for Me. Thus I too, can be washed clean of my sins, and have eternal life.
But my relationship with Him is not limited to that.
Like with them, apparently he also desires a friendship with me.
I HAD NO IDEA!
This concept had never occurred to me before.
But, here’s the thing: to my awareness, I’m not anything that spectacular—after all, I’m just me: a semi-normal, average gal who hasn’t done anything spectacular (that I’m aware of) and certainly nothing that has gained me any formal recognition.
So, since Jesus is actually aware of me and desires, with me, the kind of friendship he shared with his disciples: a living, breathing, face to face association; a sharing food and conversation type friendship; a friendship to be experienced in resurrected bodies throughout eternity in the eternal world to come, then this can only mean I’m most certainly not the only one in this modern world whose heart He longs for.
So, the question begs: are you letting Jesus into your heart?
Are you seeking to know Him, to love Him, to be one of His disciples?
Do you want to be?
Are you answering the door of your heart when He knocks?
Because most likely He is standing there, waiting for you.