INVITED TO BREAKFAST
How would you describe Peter? Brave? Impetuous? Passionate? Prideful? Controlling? Risky? Enthusiastic? Committed? Pushy? Or a natural born leader?
Maybe you don’t know enough about Peter to really evaluate. He was a man with a lot of gifts and strengths, with just as many flaws. . . like many of us.
What we see in the original disciples’ lives and in every disciple’s life since is this: that following Jesus — accepting his call, learning from Him and being shaped and molded by His words and ways — can reveal both our strengths and weaknesses equally well. We sure do see that in Peter’s story. Brave and passionate one day, controlling and impetuous the next.
So what does Jesus do with the big knotted mess of potential and weaknesses found in our core? He tenderly and patiently starts to unwind and untangle the mess. I say this with confidence because of the great work that Jesus did in Peter’s life, as well as the great work he is continuing to do in mine.
I could easily judge Peter in how he reacts to the miraculous moment on the mountaintop, the one when Jesus reveals his divine self to the disciples — his face and his clothes glowing. Short-sighted Peter shares his plan to camp out and keep all this revelation and glory bottled up. But don’t I do something similar when I discover Jesus in my quiet time but fail to live out what I have learned or to share his glory with my neighbors.
Just like Peter, I recognize Jesus as Messiah and Lord and call him such, but still find myself fighting against his will.
I am dumbfounded at the audacity of Peter. Who would reject Jesus’s beautiful condescension to wash his disciples’ feet during their last meal together?! But how often do I stand with others and publicly sing praise to Jesus but pull back when he wants to get into the dirt and grime of my life and minister to me?
Peter frustrates me to no end when he insists on inserting himself in the path and plan of Jesus. The arrest must happen and Jesus allows the soldiers to lead him away so that He can fulfill his purpose, But Peter is determined to create a scene by swinging his sword around. But don’t I also rail against those in the world who refuse to accept Jesus as the Son of God. Swinging my proverbial sword. Meanwhile, Christ has already proved his love for the entire world, including the refusers. Why can’t I seem to get on board with his expansive, inclusive and unconditional love?
I can’t even imagine denying Christ like Peter did. I could never speak those words. But if I’m honest, there have been more times than I’d like to admit where my actions, decisions, attitudes, conversations and habits fail to match up with what a follower of Christ’s life should look like. And I see that I too can become a walking denial of what I profess to be.
With all of these embarrassing flaws and failings — both mine and Peter’s — I am in continual awe that Jesus has not thrown up his hands in frustration, shook his head in disappointment and walked away. But he doesn’t. Jesus did not remove his call or confidence in Peter. And neither will he remove his call or confidence in us.
So, whenever I fall back into my faults and sin, I pray that God will invite me out to breakfast. Yes please Lord! I ask that he’ll show up, sit with me, look me in the eyes and privately bring up the subject that is the giant elephant in the room. And I want so much for Him to talk to me with the same intensity and gentleness that was evident in his restorative conversation with Peter.
And Jesus, you can use the same script. It works! Ask the hard questions. Ask them three times or more if need be. Draw my attention back to the fact that I still love you more than anything else. Because you are worthy. Steady me in the truth that you still invite and desire and expect me to follow you. You have not given up on me. And please Jesus, readjust my vision so that I see in me what you see in me. Convince me that you still have a purpose and plan for my life that will draw upon all the greatest gifts in my core. May I lay those gifts in your healing hands so that you can continue to develop and transform them into something greater than I could ever imagine. Like Peter. To feed your sheep. Out of love for you. Out of obedience to you. For your glory. Amen.