by Christopher Harbin

You Follow Me
Christopher B. Harbin
John 21:15-25

The Bible is full of stories of different characters used by God in various ways. They had all sorts of different experiences with God over the course of millennia. For some reason, however, we seem to think God should treat all of us according to one set pattern. Ignoring our individual differences, strengths, needs, and situations in life, we expect one pattern to be applied the same way to each one of us, across cultures, languages, ages, genders, and time periods. We know better. Deep down, we can all see clearly that God works with us individually. So why do we still want to compare ourselves with one another or force others to be just like us? Why should God want us to be identical when he created us with so much diversity?

Peter was still reeling from his failures on his last night with Jesus before the resurrection. He felt bad about having denied even to know Jesus shortly after declaring he would follow Jesus to death. Sure, Jesus had forgiven Peter a long time ago, even before Peter's denial. The problem was that Peter was not yet prepared to forgive himself. Peter was not ready to move beyond his failure, set it aside, and get on with the mission Jesus had set out before him.

In one sense Peter had moved on. He was leading the disciples in Jesus' absence. He was back to seeking to place his life under the lordship of Christ Jesus. He was looking for a path forward, and yet his failure was still an unresolved issue. He looked around at the other disciples and recognized that none of them had failed Jesus the way he had failed him. None of them had denied knowing Jesus. None of them had pretended never to have known or even met Jesus. He looked at the others and made a comparison with his own failings and felt his own significance and worth diminished.

The fishing trip in a sense was an attempt to get back to a comfortable pattern of life he knew. It was an attempt to find ...

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