Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” – John 21:27
In this verse there are two men in two different places as it relates to who they are in Christ. They are about to have an encounter with the resurrected Lord. John, who refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” is the first to recognize Him. Peter, whose last encounter with Jesus was his infamous denials, literally leaps at the chance to see Jesus again. What is striking me this morning as I write is the fact that John is confident in His position of being loved by Jesus. On the other hand, Peter is doubting Christ’s love for him because of his past performance. Jesus is about to restore Peter.
This quarantine has given me a lot of time to be in my own mind. I miss being a preacher and being able to play praise and worship consistently like crazy. But, for some reason, I think that I thought God was happier with me when I was doing that stuff. No wonder He took all that away. There is no way that the God of the Universe is going to allow one of His children to think they are being favored or not favored because of their performance. I think I might have had a bit of Peter’s attitude. Even if everyone else fell away, Peter swore that he would be the only one who died with Jesus. When he couldn’t live up to that standard, Peter felt undeserving of God’s love. John, on the other hand, even at a distance, is the first to recognize, “It is the Lord.”
For months now, I have been going back and forth from where Peter is at this moment in the story, and where John is. One moment, I feel the peace and presence of God like crazy. The next, I’m wondering what I did wrong and what I need to do to fix it. Yet, right now at this very moment, I have perfect peace. I don’t want to leave this moment right here, right now. God is not upset with me. God does not give His love away based on performances. If I never preach another sermon or play another praise and worship song, I am the disciple whom Jesus loves.
I don’t know what this realization does to you, but for me it makes me want to just be with Him. It makes me want to get alone with Him more than anything and just exist. I don’t have to say anything or do anything . . . just be. Life is no fun and peace is so scarce when I’m trying to win His affection.
Lord, I’m sorry for trying to make you some horrible earthly father who is only proud of his children when they are behaving well. You had every right to ditch Peter after he denied You. Yet, you lovingly restored Him, not because Peter deserved it, but because You love Him. Every time I do wrong, it is You who have come to me. It is You who sent just the right word at just the right time to let me know You haven’t gone anywhere. It has always been You. Help me to always know who I am in You. Help me to always know that I’m in Your mighty hands . . . even when I’m not performing well. I love You, Lord.