Monday, May 7, 2012

Jesus meets you where you're at

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.  John 21: 4-6

As far as we know,  and aside from the ascension, this is Jesus's final time hanging out with the men who had become his close friends and companions for three years.  To them, their friend and savior died on the cross and has now been resurrected! They've all seen Him, talked with Him, but still they have no idea what to do. They don't know where to go from here. 

Have you ever felt like that? You've met Jesus, spoken with Him, followed Him, but in your day to day life you don't know what else to do but what you've always done. You don't see that anything has really changed. 

So what did the disciples do? They went back to what they knew before Jesus. They went fishing! 
But something had changed. And they would never be the same. Jesus showed up again and turned their ordinary fishing expedition into a catch so abundant they couldn't haul in the net!  Part of me wonders if Jesus wasn't showing them right then and there how many people they would catch and bring to a saving knowledge of Him. More than they could believe! More than they could haul in!
And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17

Yes, indeed, their lives had changed. They would never be the same. They would never be ordinary fishermen again. And neither will you. But the choice is yours.  You may think you're just an ordinary smoe. leading an ordinary life, with ordinary skills and talents. You may even think that you're not sure you're up to the adventurous, abundant life Jesus offers. You may be worried what He'll ask of you. You may think you're not dedicated enough, brave enough, or maybe, that honestly, you're not sure you love Jesus enough to sacrifice everything.

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 
 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.  John 21: 15-17

Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times. The first two times He used the Greek word for love, Agape, which is an unconditional, self-sacrificing, all-encompassing love which is completely independent of the actions or character of the one being loved. It is the way God loves us.

All three times when Peter answers. Yes, I love you.. but he used the Greek word Philia which means brotherly love, the strong bond of friendship. In other words, Peter cannot lie to Jesus. He is not sure he loves Jesus with agape love. All he can offer is Philia love.
But here's the catch. The third time Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, he uses Philia, not Agape. That blew me away!  Jesus wasn't offended that Peter couldn't return the same kind of love Jesus offered him. Even after all Jesus had suffered, He didn't storm off in a huff because Peter couldn't give Him what He well deserved. So, what did He do?  He lowered Himself, His expectations down to Peter's level. He met Peter where he was.

And He does the same for us!  All He asks is that we follow Him. Bring all your worries, fears, inhibitions, lack of dedication, lack of love, lack of faith and doubts to Him. He understands how weak we are. He will meet you where you're at!  He only asks for honesty and a heart that truly wants to follow Him.  Then watch what He will do with what you give Him!

Peter became the leader of the Christian church in Jerusalem!
Many historians believe Peter ended up being crucified as well for his belief in Jesus. Yet he demanded to be crucified upside down because he didn't feel worthy to hang in the same way Jesus did.  Do you think Peter finally achieved Agape love for Jesus, after all?


  1. Mon May 7th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Jesus meets us 'where we are at' ... that is just one of the reasons why I love Jesus so very much !!! He knows we are weak and come with all of our human flaws, and, failures ... yet He loves us "just where we're at" ! Incredible, amazing, awesome !!! Yes, this heart ... truly wants to follow Him !
    I am so very blessed, thankful, grateful, and overwhelmed ... that He loves me, just as I am .. with His unconditional love !
    Yes, I do believe Peter 'finally' achieved Agape love for Jesus.
    Thank the Lord ... that the Bible teaches us about -- 'ordinary people' who were transformed and used by an "Extraordinary God" ... to be an example for us 'today' !!!
    Great post, MaryLu. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Thank you, Brenda!! I love that too about the Scripture. Makes me not feel so unworthy when I think of the kind of people Jesus picked! Thieves and prostitutes and murderers. :-)
    Have a great day!

  3. I believe that Peter does achieve Agape love for Jesus. But its a big question for me. Do I love Jesus with Agape love? I'm not sure that I do. I'm at that stage where I'm trying what to do with my life,and how I can best serve and honor Him. Its a tough question to ask a 21 year old-but it needs to aked, yes?

  4. I think we all fall short of Agape love for Jesus.. but as long as we keep trying.. keep spending time with Him, He is pleased. And He loves us with Agape anyway! He's a great God!

  5. Wow, MaryLu, thanks so much for posting about this :) What wonderful words to hear, that we are loved and chosen even when we fall SO short of God's perfectness.