Readings for May 5, 2019
Acts 5:27-32, 40-41
As the brothers were returning after a meager night of fishing, someone on the shore calls to them and recommends they let their nets out again. They do so and catch 153 very large fish. The parallel to their initial calling from Jesus three years earlier is not coincidental. That parallel causes them to recognize the now glorified presence of Jesus, recognizing him for his actions and for what he does, because they do not recognize him physically.
Understanding what just happened, John calls out, “It is the Lord!” and Peter hastily jumps out of the boat and swims to shore to greet Jesus while his companions steer the boat in. But after a little shore breakfast, Jesus gets personal with Peter and tells him that his exuberance in his unnecessary swim to shore does not negate that he had denied Jesus three times in the courtyard of the Sanhedrin. It is an exchange that is both frustrating and necessary as Jesus tries to teach Peter what lies ahead in continuing the mission. He asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” and then tells him to feed his lambs, tend his sheep, and feed his sheep. Finally, Jesus tells Peter, “Follow me.”
This exchange is meant for more than just Peter’s ears. Jesus returns to ask me if I love him. Jesus, the one who was born and died to save the world. Jesus, the one who spent his public life preaching to large crowds in public spaces. But the resurrected Jesus does not return to the Temple to preach, or to a modern-day megachurch to shout-outs and raised hands, or to a rally or concert at a sold out arena led by a Christian rock band. He comes directly to me. Personally and one-on-one, he asks, “Tim, do you love me?”
Jesus does this because I matter to him. And so do you. But while we have that personal relationship with Jesus it does not end with that. Jesus needs to know if I love him, because if my answer is “yes” then he will invite me to follow him. “If you love me, follow my commands” (John 14:15).
If Jesus is in my heart I cannot hold him there any more than the borrowed tomb could hold his body. When I live as he commands, I “obey God rather than man” and “cry out in a loud voice.” My life must show his love to those around me, allowing others to recognize the glorified Christ through me. I must follow his commands, teach others of his promises, love others as he loves, and be prepared to surrender all that I have to live out the love I have affirmed. “Yes, Lord, I love you!”
“You have clothed me with gladness. So that I may praise You and not be silent. O Lord, my God, forever will I give You thanks.”