Easter has come and gone once again this year.  Jesus has gone to the cross, suffered, died, and has been resurrected.  But what happened after that?

I love the story told in the 21st chapter of the gospel of John.  The disciples go out fishing and as the sun rises they see a man on the beach.  The man is Jesus.

He tells them to let down their nets and they will catch fish.  They follow instructions and catch 153 fish.  Jesus tells them to come ashore because He has breakfast for them.  When Peter sees Jesus he puts on his clothes and jumps into the water to go to shore.  When Peter gets to shore, Jesus calls Peter over and sits him down. 

At this point, Jesus could have easily scolded or belittled Peter for his previous actions.  Peter had been a zealous follower in so many instances, but when Jesus is arrested and taken away to be beaten and eventually hung on the cross, Peter denied being one of Jesus’ followers at least three times. 

So, here is Jesus, back from the dead, having a sit down with Peter.  What would you say to someone you loved who had abandoned you in your time of need?  What would you want to say to someone who denied even being your friend?  Wouldn’t you be hurt… angry… mad… even possibly want some revenge?  In our world today we often see people who have been forsaken and we identify with them. 

Recent headlines are an indication of that.  I was in the doctors’ office the other day and a woman was reading People magazine.  She said aloud, “Poor Sandra Bullock, she finally gets an Oscar and she can’t enjoy it because of her cheatin’ husband.”  Didn’t you feel bad for Elin Woods or Jenny Sanford or Elizabeth Edwards who has cancer?  All abandoned by their husbands for other women.  America’s news and entertainment channels have had a ball with all that stuff and we are watching it (at least a little!). 

Who could have blamed Jesus if He had wanted to verbally whip-up on Peter?  And, why stop there?  Jesus could have looked at all the disciples and told them all how wrong they were and how little faith they had and, oh my, how He could have blinded a couple and maimed a few and cursed some.  But He DID NOT!

Instead, Jesus simply loved them. Even though they had not done what was right or faithful or even died with Him.  Jesus simply went to them and forgave them and served them.  He cooked them breakfast on the beach and asked Peter, “Do you love me?” 

The English version does not help us understand the question, but the Greek does.  Jesus asks Peter if he agapes Jesus.  Agape is a word that means a self sacrificial love.  Willing to serve or even die for another kind of love.  Peter responds with a truthful heart by saying, “I philios you.”  Peter loves Jesus like a brother and he is not willing to die for Him. 

We can believe Peter to be a failure, but we can also identify with Peter as well.  Peter did abandon Jesus, but over time, Peter came back to Jesus.  Peter wasn’t quite ready to give his life… yet.  But in time, as he followed Jesus, Peter’s love grew into an agape love.  So much so, that he died for the message of Jesus.

In life we too try to follow Jesus, but most of time we find ourselves failing in one way or another.  Like a child who skins his or her knees over and over as they learn to walk.  God loves skinned knees on us all; because it shows that we are willing to try to follow… try to walk the walk not just talk the talk. 

God even gave us scabs to heal the wounds on our knees just as He has given us grace for all the times we fall.  God loves you and I pray, no matter how old you become, you know that you are  His child with skinned up knees. 

Until next time, Blessings!