We are not perfect… and we are not God
After the resurrected Savior gave instruction to His disciples about where to cast their nets, and they caught a multitude of fish – “Jesus said to them, ‘Come and eat breakfast.’ Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, ‘Who are You?’ – knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again the second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’” (John 21: 12-17)
Before His death, Jesus said about His approaching crucifixion – “’The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My father will honor. Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.’” (John 12: 23b-28a) Peter later asked Jesus where He was going. Jesus responded to Peter – “’Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.’” (John 13: 36b-38)
Like all of us, Peter was an open book to Jesus. Jesus understood him completely. God knows everything about us. We belong to Him. He has given us life. He knows how confident we can be in ourselves and our own strength. He also knows that we may not be as strong as we think we are. It happened just as Jesus had said. After Jesus was arrested and brought before the high priest, Peter followed Jesus to the door of the courtyard of the high priest. When asked by a servant girl if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, Peter said that he wasn’t. While standing with some of the high priest’s servants and officers they asked Peter if he was one of Jesus’ disciples, and he said no. When one of the high priest’s servants who was related to the man who had his ear cut off by Peter asked Peter if he had seen him in the garden with Jesus, Peter for the third time said no. John’s gospel account then records that the rooster crowed, fulfilling what Jesus had told Peter. Peter denied Jesus three times, and then the rooster crowed.
How loving and merciful Jesus is! When He appeared to the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee He restored Peter. He gave Peter an opportunity to reaffirm His love for Him. He refocused Peter on His mission and calling. He wanted Peter to feed His sheep. He still had work for Peter to do, even though Peter had denied Him before His death.
Paul, wrote to the Corinthians about his ‘thorn in the flesh’ – “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12: 7-10)
Peter, through experience had become more aware of his weakness. It was after this that Jesus refocused him to do what He had called him to do. In our world today, weakness is almost a four letter word. It however, is a reality for all of us. We are flesh. We are fallen, and we are weak. It is God’s strength and not our own that we should trust in. Unfortunately, so many people’s god or gods today are so small. The gods of our New Age saturated culture often look just like us. We may puff up in our pride, but ultimately we will face our own failures and limitations. We may speak positive affirmations to ourselves over and over, but never really believe what we are telling ourselves. We need more than a dose of reality to break through. We are all going to die someday and face the God who created us. God who has revealed Himself in the Bible is big, very big. He has all knowledge and wisdom. He knows all about all of us. There is nowhere we can go to hide from Him. He loves us so much that He came into our fallen world, lived a perfect life, and died a horrific death, in order to pay the eternal price for our redemption. He wants us to know Him, trust Him, and surrender our lives to Him.
If we have been deluded into thinking that we are god, guess what…we are not. We are His creation. Created in His image, and loved desperately by Him. It is my hope that we will wake up from the sad fantasy that we are sovereign over ourselves, and that we will discover god by looking deeper and deeper inside ourselves. Won’t you consider another way…the way of perfect love from a perfect God because we are not perfect and we are not Him…