Elder’s Insight – June 19th, 2017

Having just completed a study of the book of John, I perceived a challenge for us at FBC by two events involving Peter before and after Jesus’ resurrection recorded in chapter 21 verses 15 -19.  You know Peter, he’s the disciple who three times denied knowing Jesus while Jesus was being scourged and dying for him.  He’s also the disciple Jesus asked three times if he loved him.  Coincidence?  Did Jesus ask three times because Peter denied three times?  I don’t think so because of the three different levels of love that were expressed in Jesus’ questions.  Peter did have his weaknesses but he was truly committed to Jesus.  Remember when the disciples were crossing the sea and Jesus came to them walking on the water?  Peter jumped out of the boat and walked to meet Jesus.  He was filled with joy at the sight of Jesus and couldn’t wait for him to get to the boat.  After the resurrection, Peter and some of the other disciples had been out fishing all night and as they were approaching the shore they saw Jesus and again Peter jumped out to get to Jesus.  Only this time I suspect that shame and regret and what Jesus thought of him was probably overshadowing his joy but he was still committed and wanted to get to Jesus.  From my human perspective, I would have thought Jesus would have put Peter aside for his denials or at the least called him out as a weak example in front of the other disciples.  Instead when Jesus singled Peter out it was to encourage and challenge him.  Each time Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, Jesus followed up with a directive.  It is those directives I would like to comment on.  Jesus’ first directive was “Feed my lambs,” the second was “Tend my sheep” and the third was “Feed my sheep.”  Feeding lambs makes me think of new Christians who need the milk of the word.  Tending sheep makes me think of shepherding the flock to meet their needs other than food.  And feed my sheep makes me think of older more mature Christians who need the meat of the word. The challenge I mentioned is for us to apply these directives “in love” as we seek to accomplish the vision of FBC.  You know our vision, it’s on the front of every bulletin; “Seeking to develop fully devoted followers of Christ.”  I am confident this same Jesus who enabled Peter to accomplish great things in His name will also enable us. 

Vision is looking past the obstacles and embracing the possibilities.  Dean Peters