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September 1, 2017, 5:00 AM

What unfinished business do you need to work out with God?



When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, 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 a second time, “Simon, son of John, 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 John, 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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”  (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” John 21:15-19

 

After watching his friend and teacher die on a cross, Peter didn’t know where to turn. So, he returned to his old life and the only thing he ever knew: fishing. Peter was hoping the blowing winds of the sea would silence the guilt, regret, and worthlessness he felt inside. He reasoned his days of being a fisher of men were a thing of the past after denying Jesus three times. Then, Jesus appeared on the scene in a familiar way, to deal with some unfinished business.  As Peter reached the shore, there was probably a mixture of anticipation and awkwardness. None of the disciples, including Peter, knew how to start the conversation or break the ice. After all, it’s not every day that your teacher and friend conquers death.

 

This probably left them overwhelmed, especially Peter who couldn’t erase the memory of those denials and the sting of hearing that rooster crow. Peter probably reasoned “how could I, a coward, ever be a leader?” This was the unfinished business Jesus came to address. It’s the crucial conversation that needed to take place. Jesus wanted to confront the regret, restore his friend and assure Peter that he is loved. Jesus didn’t shy away from the issue, but created a clear path for the conversation and restoration to take place. This is not only good news for Peter, but it is good news to us. Why? Each one of us has at one time or another turned away. We’ve looked to lesser things to fill our heart. We’ve given our affection to someone else. We’ve sinned. We’ve failed to step out in faith. We’ve been ashamed of our beliefs. We’ve put our light under a bowl. We’ve loved the darkness. We’ve turned our backs. We’ve doubted we matter to God. We’ve given up on the life God has for us.

 

Jesus doesn’t brush aside Peter’s sin. Instead, he makes Peter confront it. But, Jesus does so in order to bring true repentance. Jesus challenges Peter in a loving way. Romans 2:4 says that it’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance. Only when someone is broken over his or her sin can God begin the process of restoration. This is a pivotal moment in Peter’s life. Confronting his regret through the lens of Christ’s love transformed Peter. Doing the same can have a profound impact on your life as well. Just like the song How He Loves says we don’t have the time to maintain our regrets when we think about the way He loves us. What would it look like for God’s love to erase your regrets? What unfinished business do you need to work out with God? What crucial conversations need to take place?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, thank You for loving me in spite of myself. Thank You for loving me during those times I run, deny, doubt and sin. Lord remind me of this love when I find myself maintaining my regrets. Jesus allow me to confront my regrets through the lens of Your love and may that transform my character and heart. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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