Wednesday 14th April 2021

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A former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, said:

‘To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God

  to feed the mind with the truth of God,

to purge the imagination by the beauty of God

to open the heart to the love of God

to devote the will to the purpose of God’

Last Sunday we thought about the disciples encountering Jesus as they went about the routine events of their life. We left them on the beach, eating the breakfast Jesus had prepared for them, but before we read what happens next, we need to remember events which happened on the night of Jesus betrayal, arrest and trial.

During ‘the last Supper’ after Jesus had shared bread and wine with his disciples, he talked about being betrayed and as the conversation progressed Jesus also tells Simon-Peter that before the night is over, he will have denied knowing him three times (Mark 14: 27-31). Simon-Peter says that he would never do this, but later that night, on three separate occasions he denies knowing Jesus (Mark 66-72).

Which would be worst for Simon-Peter, thinking that he had denied Jesus and couldn’t put it right with him, because he had been crucified or the realisation that now Jesus had been raised from the dead, he would have to face him knowing that they both knew he had denied him? Read what is said when they finally have a private conversation John 21: 15-19

Peter had denied knowing Jesus, but never stopped loving him - the inconsistency of emotions is something I’m sure we can all relate to. We can relate to Peter’s desire to be all that Jesus would want him to be, but we also relate to the fact that Peter failed to do this. There was probably a speech of apology which Peter had rehearsed in his mind many times over the passed few days, but he never got to say it. Jesus goes right to the heart of the situation and simply wants to know “Peter, do you love me?” Jesus suggests that if Peter does love him, he can best express that love, by being like a shepherd - taking caring of other followers through his words and actions.

This is a conversation Jesus wants to have with each of us, who like Simon-Peter, love the Lord but sometimes gets it wrong. If our reply to Jesus’ question ‘Do you love me?’ is the same as Peter’s replies, then we too need to consider how Jesus’ command to feed his sheep applies to our lives.

Notice that Jesus’ instruction to take care of, and nourish and strengthen others, shows that he continues to have faith in Peter’s ability to be his follower and Jesus has confidence that Peter is able to help others to become followers - Christians. Through this conversation any doubts Peter had about whether Jesus had forgiven him, were removed. Unlike Peter, we can’t have a physical conversation with Jesus but through this conversation being recorded in the gospels, along other occasions of Jesus showing forgiveness to those who are truly sorry, we can know that Jesus offers each of us this same assurance that we are forgiven. 

Perhaps you can remember someone saying they forgive you, but you know that the thing which needed forgiving still forms a barrier in your relationship because they can’t forget the hurt you caused them. Perhaps you say you have forgiven someone but you never trust that person again, always looking to see if they are going to hurt you again. As we consider all that the gospels tell us about Jesus words and actions, we can see that God’s forgiveness is just like the rest of him – perfect.

When God forgives us, he doesn’t forget our sins! The bible tells us something even more amazing; when God forgives us, he chooses not to remember our sins (Hebrews 8:12 / Jeremiah 31: 34). When we put our trust in Jesus paying for our sins through his death, God chooses not to remember all the ways in which we have grieved him. God chooses to relate to us as though we have never betrayed his love for us. God chooses to treat us as though none of those things have happened and instead treats us as his dearly loved children – his heirs!

Here are some familiar lyrics. The author, John Wimber entitled the hymn ‘Spirit Song’ with the intention that the hymn would help us to be open to receiving all that God wants to bring into each of our lives.

O let the Son of God enfold you with His Spirit and His love; let Him fill your heart and satisfy your soul

O let Him have the things that hold you, and His Spirit, like a dove, will descend upon your life & make you whole.

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs;

Jesus, O Jesus, come and fill Your lambs.

O come & sing this song with gladness, as your hearts are filled with joy;. lift your hands in sweet surrender to His name.

O give Him all your tears and sadness, give Him all your years of pain, and you'll enter into life in Jesus' name

John Wimber © 1979 ThankYou Music

Page last updated: 18th April 2021 6:34 AM