Journey To and Through The Cross: Do you love Me?
Scripture Focus: John 19-21
Only a few followed Him to the cross. They allowed their eyes to watch as He suffered, was judged unfairly without a word in response, was spit upon, mocked, beaten, carried His own cross, was crucified, and breathed His last. Imagine everything coming to an end in such a way.
Pause here. Linger. Close your eyes and picture the scene. Hear, See, Smell, and Taste it. Feel what they felt and what He felt.
They followed Him to the tomb, watched the stone be rolled to close it, and deeply mourned belief that they would ever see Him again. Everything they believed about who He was in their minds, despite His words to them that this would happen was shot out of the water. What would they do now?
Have you ever had a word from the Lord and yet it seemed you couldn’t hear from Him? You only had a word to cling to and all seemed hopeless?
Death and Confusion
The burden of failing Jesus overtook Peter so greatly He went back to His old life. Back to what He had known before. The ones who had followed Him to Passover now mourned and in great confusion huddled together in a room barring the door for protection from the same fate He had fallen to before their eyes. Things were not working out as planned. Feel their grief. Ponder the questions. Imagine Peter recalling the words “Fisher of Men” as he got in the boat and threw out his net for a catch.
What do you do when hope is lost and you want to return to what you are certain you know you can do?
Resurrection, Doubt, Belief, Fear
Then he appeared to the women, to disciples on the road of Emmaus, and to a room full of them with a doubting man named Thomas who had to touch His hand in disbelief. Consider the emotional state they were in, and the awe of now seeing a risen Savior. The One they followed to the tomb risen and appearing and disappearing before their eyes. Discussing the events of the past week in a room behind closed doors in fear of being found. Jesus entered the locked room, but not through the door and still one named Thomas doubted that He actually lived, and then showed Him the wounds in His hands. Feel them. See the light pouring through them. Let them overcome your unbelief.
This reminds me of the man who responded to Jesus question of belief,
‘I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9:24 NIV
Has the appearing and disappearing of God to you in whatever form caused your faith to waver?
Back to what he knew Peter untangled the nets on the waves of the sea which he once walked upon. Thomas, Nathaniel, and the Sons of Zebedee accompanied him. He considered the rumors of Jesus being seen by all the disciples. He heard a voice from the shore that said to cast the net for a catch. Suddenly so full the boat tipped Peter turned his head and said, “It is the Lord.” Again he left the boat with the others in it. This time swimming naked to shore to meet His Savior. He left the blessing of a great catch to go to Him. The others followed in the boat. As they came upon the shore they saw the burning coals. Jesus invited them to dine with him. They didn’t wonder, no they knew it was the Lord. They could see clearly now for the rain was gone. (see Matthew 14 Jesus walks on water.)
Jesus asked Him pointing at the catch, “Simon do you love me more than these?” Three times Jesus asked if Peter loved him. Three times the answer was of love. Jesus told Peter in response, “Take care of my lambs, follow Me, and feed my sheep.”
As they walked together privately Peter saw John walking behind them. Peter asked, “what about him?” For the Lord had told him of his future. Jesus spoke, “What is that to you”, and again said, “Follow Me.”
Swim for the shore Beloved. For it is the Lord who is appearing to you today. Dine with Him and let Him restore you. Regard no one else and their promises from God. Strictly follow what He has spoken to you. There is somewhere else to follow Him to.