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Back to the Nets

In the Scriptures we have a plethora of conversations and verbal exchanges that would lead us to draw simple conclusions as to the intent of the interactions. The problem is we may not truly understand what the participants are actually meaning. When we talk with somebody the tone and inflection in our voices plays an important part in conveying not only what we are saying, but what we are hearing. One of the most maligned men in the New Testament is John the Baptist. Many Christians promote the idea that John exhibited spiritual weakness when he questioned the credentials of Jesus. Obviously, when we are unable to hear the actual words, we tend to color the written words with our experiential artistry. The greatest Prophet of all time had a moment of negative reflection? Sure, John sent two of his disciples to Jesus to get an answer to their doubts, but for them to approach Jesus took courage, so John told them to use his name so it did not reflect on them. Picture John with a slight smile on his face as he told them to go and see for themselves if Jesus was truly the Messiah. Could John’s inflection been as a teacher to his students? As they confronted Jesus, He played right along with John and maybe with a slight smile, told them to go back and tell John what you have “seen and heard.” (Luke 7:18- 28) I have no way of proving the correctness of this theory, but neither can I see this great prophet shaken in his faith at the eleventh hour!

Peter was a high powered believer who voiced his commitment to Jesus with unwavering consistency. He was an outspoken leader of men. His vows to Jesus dwarfed his fellow disciples. He was willing to die for Jesus if the situation arose. When his eleventh hour struck, he faltered. That night in the Garden of Gethsemane surrounded with soldiers, Jesus was taken into custody. Peter valiantly defended Jesus with a sword, but Jesus told him to lower his sword. Surrendering to the mob, Jesus was taken prisoner. Within hours, Peter would deny he ever knew Jesus. Reality setting in, Peter “wept bitterly.” (Luke 22: 54-62)

Shortly after the Resurrection, Peter and six other disciples had gone to the Sea of Galilee to do some fishing. On this particular day, they toiled all night and caught nothing. As the dawn broke, Jesus appeared along the shore and called out to see if they had caught anything. The disciples cried out, “NO.” Jesus told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat, and as they did they netted 153 fish. Peter jumped into the water and swam to the shore to meet Jesus. When the others came ashore, they had breakfast together. After the fish fest, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him? All Peter’s responses were affirmative. Was Jesus really wondering if Peter really loved Him? Or was there something else at work here? Again, we cannot tell what was the inflection and tone of the exchange. (John 21:3-17)

There are a growing number of Believers today who have willfully or unintentionally sinned. As a result of their actions, they have created and participated in their own trial. They are the prosecuting attorney, judge, and jury. Some feel they have failed God, and as a result God cannot forgive them. Maybe Peter felt the same way. Jesus was getting Peter to realize that no matter what he did, he still loved Jesus. Jesus knew this, but wanted Peter to acknowledge it. It was like Jesus saying, “Say it again Peter… ” The answer abounds three times with YES, YES, YES! Jesus tells him that he still has work for him to do. Feed the new Believers (lambs) and nourish those who already believe (sheep).

How many Believers are in self- imposed exile? We are harder on ourselves than Jesus would be. He sees our slip ups, but He knows our heart. When we fall, we need to ask for His forgiveness and then get up and see His forgiveness through the things He has for us to do. See Jesus with a smile on His face as He says, “You love me, don’t you!” If we have gone back to fishing, its time to get ashore, for Jesus wants to use us again!

Source by Paul W Hoffmaster

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