Easter 2013 – A few ponderings


Spring 2013 - Easter Ponderings

…….This time of the year in Arizona is full of light, beauty and fragrance.  It also invites a look into the relevance of these three words in regards to Easter.

Light – One of the essentials needed for growth.  It takes very little light in a dark place to be able to see clearer.  Try this – go into a completely darkened room for a couple of minutes and then light one match – amazing how that one match infiltrates the darkness.  Jesus is the light.

Beauty – Jesus is described as a person who wasn’t what the world would call handsome.  The Bible tells us that God looks for the inner beauty in our hearts and not on how we decorate our exterior.  Let us ask God to help us see ourselves and others through His eyes.  

Fragrance – God has created people, flowers, and food that enhances the “fragrance” of our lives.  Let us be mindful to be thankful for the gifts He has given us.  So often what is a daily gift can be taken for granted – that smile from a coworker, having friends and family that love us, the softness of a flower petal, etc.  Let us be a people that notices the sweetness of life.  It is sad when these things are noticed because they are no more.  Today  I ask myself what kind of fragrance is my life giving off to those around me?

Some Easter Insights—Peter

I love Peter for so many reasons:

.. he is a working man….he gets a name change…. he realizes and states out loud who Jesus is….he walks in faith on water (don’t judge too harshly – I wonder if I could have stepped outside that boat on a stormy sea and yet I know that in my own life God’s has asked me to get in the stormy sea and walk toward him)……he makes Jesus proud……he is also told by Jesus when he is heading in the wrong direction…. he is prideful in his promises (I will lay down my life for you – John 13:37-38)…..he denies the Lord 3 times when times get rough……his heart aches and he is disheartened.  Peter is just so human.   But I love how the Lord loves and heals Peter (and us).

Three times Peter denies the Lord and utters the words “I am not” when asked if he was with Jesus after the arrest.   Wait a minute – back the truck up – isn’t it the same night when Peter promised he would lay his life down for the Lord?  Yes.  Can you imagine the reality Peter felt when the very thing he had said would happen didn’t?  Guilt, shame, disappointment, etc caused a thought rut for Peter.  A thought rut is when we get stuck going over and over an experience until we are deep in a trench and don’t see a way out.  

But there is another day on the horizon when Peter will see Jesus face-to-face.   Ponder with me for a moment what that might have been like – the surprise, the joy, the questions – yes, even the awkward embarrassment of seeing Jesus again – to be given a second chance – to know that the very fact of seeing Jesus on this day is confirmation that He is who He said He was.  AND Jesus doesn’t condemn – he doesn’t give Peter what is deserved.  No Jesus doesn’t flinch; He does not turn away and He doesn’t abandon.  Read on about what Jesus does.

The exchange between Jesus and Peter will include three simple questions.  Let me set the stage – a big fish bbq from a miraculous catch after the resurrection is finishing with the disciples.   Jesus asks Peter  “Simon son of John – do you truly love me more than these?”   He answers “Yes, Lord, you know I do.”.  “Feed my sheep” Jesus responds.  Let’s not miss that Jesus calls him by name (his old name) but his name just the same.  When someone calls us by name it indicates that they know us.  I think there is a good chance that Peter was sure he would never again hear Jesus utter his name, especially in a loving voice.  The use of his old name acknowledges that the love of Christ is stronger than any mistake we can make.

The second question to Peter seems like a repeat of the first but the word “these” is taken out.  It is easy in this world to forget where Jesus belongs on our priority list.  We are to love people but let’s not forget who put that love in our hearts.  With this word being removed the question is just between the two of them – it’s personal – it’s intimate – it’s relational.  Now if I was Peter I might be feeling puzzled.  I’m not sure I would have caught the difference in the two questions and my mind could be whispering “he must not have heard me the first time.”   So Peter responds “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus replies “Take care of my sheep.”

 The final time Jesus asks “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”  The scripture says that Peter was hurt.  After all hadn’t he just declared his love for the Lord twice before – didn’t the Lord believe him.  Peter answers “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus replies “Feed my sheep.”  Yes – He knows all things and can be trusted with our past, our today and our tomorrows.

3 Times Peter Denies

3 Times The Lord asks the question – a question that brings Peter back to Love – back to Jesus.  It is a soothing ointment to a hurting heart, new memories to replace old memories.  (“I will repay you for the years the locust have eaten – Joel 2:23a; ..to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning – Isaiah 61:4..)

The healing that Jesus provided freed Peter for the journey ahead as he along with others began to establish the church.