John 21: 15-25
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”
1 Peter 5: 6
Why do we do what we do? Why do we enter relationships, why struggle for promotion, seek education, compete in sports; or conversely why do we not do what we could do? Our motives in these matters reveal our hearts, our characters and personalities; but understanding ourselves and our motives is a complicated matter! Understanding God and our relationship with Him is complicated too. If we are honest with ourselves, often in this relationship, we see God as the one to make our lives as we think they should be; our motives in seeking His will and glory are at best mixed. Think about these matters in the context of our current situation. We will all be trying to figure out how we feel, what we are supposed to do and what is God doing in it all? Dependent on our character and personality we will be responding in different ways: coping; thriving; struggling; feeling down; fearful; hopeful; and so on. There will be differing tensions in our lives and relationships.
Our Gospel reading today in John 21 follows on from that which we considered on Monday. It is the famous reinstatement of Peter following his denial of Christ (John 18: 15-18, 25-27). Peter is a person whom most of us can relate to. He gets things right, he gets things wrong, he is quick to understand and often misses the point (e.g. Matthew 16: 13-23); he’s obviously human! If we follow Peter’s life through the Gospels, into Acts and in his own letters we witness his growth as God refines him often through gracefully breaking him. In today’s reading Jesus is really working on Peter’s motives. Does Peter love Christ, if so look after the Church (vs. 15-17). Peter was to love Christ above all else, this would motivate him to care for the Church and be prepared to give up his life for the Lord (vs. 19); Jesus the author of Peter’s faith was perfecting that faith, that person.
We, like Peter, will often fail and often obey Christ. We will all be struggling in our lives in different ways. The best way to cope, no to overcome, is to “humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand,” to submit to Him and trust Him. He will work His purposes out in us, refine us and bless us, then “lift us up in due time.” He will gracefully break us to bless us and to give glory to His name; Hallowed be His name.
To Ponder: What are you struggling with right now? Tell your loving Father and ask Him to reveal your heart to you. How can you submit to Him and trust Him in a way that would enable His power to work in you? Who can you love and bless?
Prayer: By the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.