GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now
“Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:46). “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2: 10).
Forgiveness is a messy commodity. I suspect you can readily join with me in my observation that we human types don’t handle forgiveness well. Whether I’m the offender or the one offended there seems to be two commonalities—a too often occurrence and more often than I would like, my “all thumbs” in reaching toward resolution. That is with people, not to even mention my more direct offenses of omission and commission against Holy God.
Then there is the difficulty of my normal expectation that God and the others in my life should forgive me; while in reverse I hesitate to pardon someone I should forgive. I sometime find I need the seventy times seven attempts to forgive a person who has wronged me.
In John’s Gospel he invites me to come and see God who not only forgives betrayal, but in love reinstates the dignity that is a gift of the Holy.
It was only Peter’s third encounter with Jesus after the resurrection. In servant mode Jesus has prepared breakfast for the seven fishing disciples. There is no indication that Peter has approached the subject of his three denials just prior to the crucifixion.
To be fair, Luke’s he went outside and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62) describes Peter’s repentant sobs after his third denial as he hears the rooster crow and makes eye contact with his captive teacher.
The Holy has always taken the initiative to seek.
Jesus calls out to those on the boat. Jesus builds his breakfast fire in Peter’s sight line. Breakfast is ready. Fish and Bread cook and warm within the hot coals. Jesus connects the fishermen with the school of fish. Jesus is doing no less than setting the stage for forgiveness. Jesus invites, Come and have breakfast. And to us John calls out, Come and see forgiveness.
But now the beach breakfast is over and the Son of God carefully and tenderly begins the process to demonstrate his love and forgiveness to the man who claimed three times he had nothing to do with Jesus.
I see in Peter a fisherman’s heart. Apparently, he still owned a boat. He must have liked the breeze, the quiet and the warmth of the sun. As a man wired for action the whole process of preparation, net casting and anticipation had to be a great fit. To be on the water daily suited him fine.
I think Jesus must have looked over at what was left from the pile of 153 fish to help him recommit to a broken allegiance. He uses the morning’s catch as a starting place to cleanse him with forgiveness. Where is his security? Does Peter love Jesus more than he loves to fish and run his own life?
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep (21:15-18).
Jesus then reminds Peter of his independent lifestyle before they met. As a young man he made his own decisions. He selected his own clothes, went fishing when he wanted and set the daily course of his life (21:18-19).
It’s time to parallel the second miraculous fish catch to the first.
It’s time to once again accept Holy forgiveness and for the final time make“Follow me!” his life’s priority.
The best forgiveness was saved for Peter’s now and for our now.
Peter got the message. Not long after, he witnessed the ascension, he boldly served as Jesus’ spokesman on Pentecost when the church began, and he lived into the love and forgiveness of Jesus until reunited with his master after his own crucifixion.
It is the power of Holy forgiveness that John invites me to come and see at a breakfast hosted by Jesus on a beach.
I would love to hear how you have learned to live under the umbrella of that same forgiveness?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Come and See Forgiveness