December 27 (John 21:17)
Feed my sheep.
This is one of the most wonderful sentences that Jesus ever spoke. On the night of his arrest, Peter had denied knowing Him, just as Jesus said he would do. This was not the kind of denial that some of us put forth when we remain silent about Jesus in conversation with friends. Peter actually swore and cursed. Imagine a man shouting, shaking his fists, and using profanity as he violently denied something. That is how Peter denied Jesus.
Now it is after the Resurrection. Jesus is fixing a breakfast of fish on the beach, and Peter and the others pull up in their boats. Peter is not cursing and loud now, but there is an awkwardness there. Peter knows what he has done, and he knows that Jesus knows, too. Jesus gives Peter a chance to make it right. He asks Peter three times whether he loves Him, once for each of Peter’s denials. When Peter has confessed that he loves his Lord more than anything, Jesus does not give him further hoops through which to jump. He does not lecture him. He does not put him on probation until he is good enough to join the disciples again. He puts him to work.
You did some good things in 2015. You did some bad. You may have even gotten more wrong than you got right. As you look to the new year, you can spend your time beating yourself for all your mistakes and making plans, purely human plans, for how you are going to improve. On the other hand, you can be faithful, accept the love and forgiveness of your Lord, and listen for what He wants you to do. One of these approaches has all the appearance of discipline and promises success. The other actually works.
Lord Jesus, thank You for this past year. Forgive me for the times when I have rejected You and picked up again my sinful nature. Like Peter, I truly do love You more than anything and accept the love that You have given me. What do you want me to do next? I wait, your humble servant, in patience. Amen.
Copyright © 2015 by Steven R. Perkins