Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Petros Journals- The Account Along the Shoreline


There is more to the story than just the resurrection, and there will be plenty more posts from this little project, but for today, I would like to share one of my favorite stories in the book of John, Peter's Restoration....

As one of the more meaningful passages of scripture to me and for my personal spiritual growth, I am really excited to get some feedback from you guys...
It was a beautiful day out and after struggling through everything the last few weeks we all needed something to get our minds off of our troubles. Our food supply had gotten really low and there was nothing really we could do but Fish. As we prepared to take off I began to think about everything that had taken place in our lives over the last three years. The first time I encountered Jesus was when my brother and I were fishing with our father. It was after we’d let him use our fishing boat to share his teachings that he asked us if we wanted to become fishers of men. While I still wondered what that really meant, I knew there had to be more to it than that. In many ways, I still ask myself about this today, even in my old age.

I don't think I really ever understood what those three words really meant, "Fishers of Men?" As my mind continued to ponder the things that we'd gone through, I began to see there was more to Jesus' teaching than I wanted to understand. There was something about him that drew me into what he taught us, I just didn’t know what it was. I remembered his teachings about seeds and bridesmaids, and about fish and nets, but I still had my reservations.

I knew I believed, but I still hadn't told Jesus what he meant to me and it was really weighing on my heart. I wanted that feeling to dissipate, but no matter what I did, it stayed. I didn’t know what it truly meant to understand the message of Jesus and of the purpose behind what he did.

As we launched our little boat out onto the sea in an attempt to gather some fish, nothing happened. We were out there for most of the day and the waters were dead, there was nothing we could do about it. It was hot, it was dry and none of us were feeling any better that he was before we took the boat out if anything we felt worse. What I’d done, in the midst of everything that took place with Jesus was eating me up inside. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle, my spirit was broken.

Just as we were about to give up for the day, we saw someone along the shoreline. We didn’t know who this man was but He just kept yelling "Do you have any fish." Because we didn't know who it was, we naturally we said no, but he just kept asking. The reality was that we really didn't have any and we could help the man anyway. We were about to give up ourselves.

Regardless of our attempts to ignore this strange man he kept waving to us and shouting those words. After what seemed like a few hours the man changed his wording. At first, we couldn't hear him so we pulled in closer, as we did, we heard. "Cast your net on the other side." We were all so exhausted but laughed on the inside,. "Who does this guy think he is," we thought.

We mustered up the strength to throw the net over and suddenly, we were overwhelmed. The fish were everywhere and almost turn our boat under. After a bit of struggle we managed to pull the boat closer to the shoreline, then John realized who it was. As he told us, my heart started pounding hard as if a resounding heavenly rain was beating down upon my chest. My heart jumped and I knew John was right, it was Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

I couldn't help myself, my deepest desire at that point was for him to know how truly sorry I was for my denial, how truly sorry I was for not standing by him when he needed me the most. I knew I had to reach out to him, I knew I had to go to him and nothing was going to stop me.

I pulled on my outer cloak and sandals and just jumped in. I swam for what only seemed like moment trying to get to him. I shouted, Jesus, My Jesus! When I finally hit the shoreline all my energy was gone, I could do was fall. I fell face down arms out and just waited before Him. I didn’t know what else to do, I had wronged him in every way when I denied I knew him and to me that was unforgivable.

Jesus bent down, pulled me up and simply said. "Peter, bring me some fish, let's share this meal together." It was still pretty cool along the shoreline and the day still seemed as if it was young so we all stayed close to the fire that was burning as we brought Jesus the fish. Together we all broke bread together and shared this last meal together.

Those few moments are still very special memories to me and I will never forget the lesson Jesus taught me that day. For me it was more than our last meal together, it was more than our last memory with Jesus before his ascension. It was life altering and I will never forget the lesson in love he shared with me that day.

Once we had finished our meal together, Jesus asked me the question. This is the question I had been dreading since that dark and misty night and this was a question I desperately needed to give him an answer too. Jesus asked "Peter, do you Love Me more than these?" Immediately I said "Yes, you know I love you." but he didn't seem to accept that, all he said was "feed my Lambs." A few moments later He asked again. "Peter, do you love me?" Again I answered, "Lord you know I do."

At this point, I was starting to wonder what was going on and then Jesus said: "Tend my Sheep." In my mind, I was thinking “what?” I didn’t understand. Then, Jesus asked a third time, "Do you love me?" My heart dropped, I denied him three times and now he's asked me this question three times, each one more loving to me than the last.

He must know that I love him, why doesn't he believe me. I just didn't understand. I thought that my answer was the right one, but could it be that I didn't? Did I really mean it the first two times or was I just saying it to say it? Did I really love him?

In my heart, I knew that Jesus was my brother, my teacher, my friend, my Messiah. I knew He was the lord of Lords, the king of kings. I struggled with it at first but today, Yes, I knew it. I believed it, I wanted to live it. So once again I replied. "Lord you know all things, You know that I Love you." Jesus, replied "Feed my Sheep. Follow me." It was at that moment, that I knew why Jesus had asked me that questions so many times, He wanted me to realize for myself that he was the Messiah and that I truly did Love him.

This love was more than just a word, it was more than just something to say. I loved him as if he was my own brother, he was my teacher and until that moment, I didn’t really know that. I was tired of the struggle of with what that truly meant.

I was tired of denying my true belief. I was tired of doubting who He truly was, a brother, a teacher, a friend and a Savior. No longer!

Blessings in Christ and Thanks again for visiting us at "The Gathering Room."

"Times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord." 45.3.20

M.J. Elliott

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