Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 4, 2020
By guest writer, Rachel Bailey Prince.
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” John 21:7-10
I recently had the honor and privilege of traveling to Israel. On this trip we visited many of the places where Jesus lived and ministered. And while all of these sites were special in their own way, one of my favorites was an afternoon boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.
As we sat gently rocking inside the boat, a member of our group recited these familiar words from John 21, retelling the moving account of Jesus cooking breakfast for his friends. The person reading the Scripture explained how 200 cubits was roughly 100 meters. Having myself run a 100 meter race several times in my youth, it was not hard for me to visualize the 200 cubits Peter had to swim in order to be with Jesus on the shore. Similarly, it was not hard for me to imagine seeing Jesus on the shore, throwing on my outer garment, jumping out of the boat and swimming as fast as I could until my feet felt something secure underneath them, pulling my weight and the weight of my wet clothes slowly out of the water as I ran to meet my Lord.
All of this was not hard for me to imagine. What did surprise me and move me deeply was my initial reaction to this story, my gut feeling. When I heard that Peter, the one who had denied Jesus three times, the one who had made so many promises to Jesus, only to turn around and break them, distancing himself from Jesus out of shame and fear, that same Peter, when he saw Jesus on the shore was unwilling to wait for the boat to arrive on the sand but instead rushed towards the Lord, jumping out to meet Jesus as quickly as possible.
I took a moment to put myself in Peter’s shoes, and all I felt inside was an unshakable desire to hide. I would say, “Quick! Let me dive to the bottom of the boat, cover me with nets, cover me so he cannot see me, I am so ashamed!” But this was not Peter‘s reaction, was it? Peter‘s reaction was one born out of freedom and a desire to be with his Lord. Peter, the one who walked with Jesus, spent time with Jesus, spoke with him, listened to him and ate with him, longed more than anything to jump out of the boat and run to Him. The true Jesus, the Jesus that Peter knew, was not a Jesus of shame or guilt! Peter’s Jesus, our Jesus, is a Jesus of forgiveness, acceptance, and love. As I sat there in our boat on the sea, I realized how many filters of my own I had put over my Jesus. So many filters of shame, guilt, unworthiness, so much, that I was unable to see the truth, to see him as he desires to be seen: loving, forgiving and accepting.
When we feel the distance our sin creates between us and Jesus, how do we respond? Do we want to dive to the bottom of the boat in shame, or does his love and forgiveness free us to jump out of the boat, charging as fast as we can to be with the one we love? Can we, by God’s grace, remove our own filters and distorted assumptions and see afresh the true Jesus? May God give us the courage to see the true Jesus, the Jesus that welcomed and restored Peter by his perfect love.
Father, help us to see Jesus in all of his love and goodness, believing that his love heals our deepest shame, fear, and guilt. Amen.
What does it look like for you to move out of the boat and rush towards Jesus, not hiding your shame, but trusting fully that his love is greater?
Jesus welcomes and restores us by his perfect love. #WisdomHunters #vision #truth #Jesus
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