We’re coming down the home stretch of the Easter season when we focus on the reality of the resurrection and its implications for our lives. It would seem that the first thing is to believe it actually happened. Jesus is not another Super Hero with special gifts. Last week we look at how Jesus is carefully shepherding his followers into a new understanding of faith. Jesus invites Thomas to touch the holes in his hands and put his hand in Jesus’ side. Jesus is alive and he is True God and True Man. We believe we do not evolve into angels or decline to be bugs dependent on our actions today. When Jesus meets the seven disciples fishing as they wait for him, Jesus draws them into conversation, especially Peter. Three times he asks Peter if Peter love him, Jesus. That was not a random question. Jesus does not ask random questions to find information but to draw us out!
Peter had denied knowing Jesus when Peter watched around the fire outside at the trial. All his bluster evaporated like the smoke from the fire. Peter was not brave, was not faithful, and did not want to die with Jesus even though he had professed loudly his loyalty. Peter remembers this and Jesus knows this. Jesus does not say, “Let bygones be bygones,” or “What’s in the past stays in the past.” The air had to be cleared because Peter carried spiritual scars that needed healing. We carry scars that need healing!
Jesus does not hone in on the details of the denials, though. He focuses on the key question, “Do you love me?” Love is not perfect and love is not happy ever after. “Perfect love casts out fears!” It has been said, love is a commitment. It requires forgiveness and seeing the good in the other. Many love 1 Corinthians 13, often called the love chapter. I love the closing line, “Now faith,, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.” May we be more loving today with your help, Lord.