Did you know that God asks questions? And did you know that every now and then he will ask a question of you? This is the second instalment of a series on God’s frequently asked questions. You can find the first here.
Is there anyone else out there who suffers from foot-in-mouth disease? It is such a sinking feeling when you realise: ‘I should not have said that…’ Personally, I have been afflicted by this for most of my life and have many, many embarrassing moments to look back on. It gives me some comfort to know that I am not alone and as a result, Peter is one of my favourite people in the Bible. He is a prime example of a foot-in-mouth sufferer.
At first, he refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet. (John 13) Then he reprimanded Jesus when the latter foretold his death and resurrection only to be reprimanded right back. (Matt 16)
I cringe at the mere thought at these and other Peter conversations, but it is nowhere close to the worst. I think his lowest moment comes when he boldly announces that he will never, ever desert Jesus even if everyone else does. (Matt 26) We all know that he ended up doing just that and denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed that fateful morning.
Can you imagine the shame? The anguish of having done the worst thing he could have imagined and the last thing he wanted to do?
Have you ever experienced anything like that? Something you did that just robbed you of the freedom to enter his presence or feel at home in conversation with him. It is a difficult situation and one that leads us to another of God’s frequently asked questions.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he joins his disciples on a beach where they were fishing. Peter is in the same circle but just imagine how thick the ice is that needs to be broken between them. There must have been so many thoughts running through Peter’s head. What should he say? What will make everything right again? Will Jesus bite his head off if he addressed the elephant in the room, or in this case, on the beach?
Jesus breaks the ice by asking a question. And then makes it one of God’s frequently asked questions by repeating the same question twice more in the same conversation.
Peter, do you love me?
Nothing else mattered! It is so important that you understand that God’s whole purpose in your life is that you will love him with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Everything he says, everything he does and everything he has you do, and experience are aimed at you loving him more and more. In comparison, nothing else matters.
Yes, sin (those actions that create distance between us and God) is a problem. However, the good news is that sin is a problem with a solution. The cross and an empty grave solved it completely and nothing can be added to it. People do not go to hell because they sin. They go to hell because they reject Jesus. Sin has only one solution, not many. Nothing else will work.
It is not important what you did. It is not important how sorry you are. It is not even important how well intentioned you are going forward. What is important, is that you hear his question!
He loves you and as a result, you can love him back. Everything else will flow from that.
I pray that you will hear him ask this question this week. And that it will lead to a great conversation from which your heart will find renewed purpose.
The previous post in this series can be found here.
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