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Do You Love Me More Than The Fish?!

In the days after Jesus death and resurrection the disciples felt a whole host of emotions joy, doubt, loss, bewilderment and confusion. Something HUGE had just happened in their world and they had no idea what to think or how to deal with it at all!! 

Remind you of anything? As we begin the long slow ascent out of lockdown are you and/or those around you feeling lost, confused or bewildered? Maybe scared, anxious or weary? Just as the disciples were beginning to return to ‘normal’ (i.e. going fishing) Jesus showed up and made sure they knew they were  not abandoned!! First, he helped them land the catch of their life (153 fish to be precise!) Then he made them breakfast and talked with them. 

In a sermon given by Jeff Lucas at a church in San Diego he speaks on the passage in John 21 where these events are recorded. He looks particularly at Peter…and his reaction to the whole situation. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me more than these?” Peter replies every time with, “You know I love you, Lord!” People often think because the question was asked in the presence of other disciples that Jesus was asking Peter, “Do you love me more than these other disciples?”. Jeff Lucas suggests, what if Jesus is in fact asking something very different?! What if Jesus is asking Peter, “Do you love me more than these fish?” Seems like an odd question! 

Peter had simply gone back to normal. Fishing was second nature to him, and he had reverted back to what he knew before Jesus came and disrupted everything. As a fisherman Peter wouldn’t have had to worry about the Holy Spirit, or Church doctrine, or persecution and eventual martyrdom. He could just get up, go fishing, sell his catch, go home, go to bed and repeat. Is that sometimes what we want to do…just stick with our routine, the norm, nothing out of the ordinary? 

What if in asking Peter this question Jesus was reminding Peter that the catch of his life would never be enough to satisfy him because he had seen a glimpse of the kingdom of God. Normality simply isn’t an option anymore. Just surviving is not worthwhile. Jesus is demanding more of Peter. If he demands more of Peter do you not think he also demands more of you?

As we have the opportunity now to revert back to normal what if God is saying to you, “Do you love me more than your routines and your normality? Do you love me more than your 10:30 Sunday morning worship service? Do you love me more than your rotas? Do you love me more than your 15-minute sermon? Do you love me more than your end of service coffee and tea? Do you love me more than your favourite seat in just the right spot at church?” 

Soon after Jesus’ exchange with Peter, the day of Pentecost came. Who was the person who spoke out on that day? Peter. After our own experience of upheaval perhaps God is nudging us to not revert back to normal because He wants us to receive the fullness of the Spirit to work with Him to do more than we could ask or imagine!

You can listen/watch Jeff Lucas’ talk here:

Rachel is an Inspire Missioner and Prayer Coordinator for the Inspire Movement

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