Skip to main content

Passionate Emotion--or Power?

Once there was a man named Peter. He was passionate and enthusiastic, and when Jesus asked his opinion on whom he was, Peter got the answer right. Peter was always quick to respond; with a heart ready to obey.

Sometimes, though, Peter’s good intentions went curiously wrong in the execution phase. For example, there had been those heady, gravity defying moments on the water that were followed quickly by panic and a terrifying sinking feeling.

I wonder if that is what lay behind Jesus’ searching questions in John chapter 21. There was never anything accidental in what he said, did, or asked.

“Do you love me?” he asked three times. Each time, Peter assured him, “Yes!” becoming gradually more emphatic, indignant and hurt, as he did.

Each time, Jesus responded with a directive to do the thing that he had called him to do—feed sheep. He meant spiritual food; to sheep of the human kind, of course.

Did Peter see any connection between the repeated question and the events between the Last Supper and the cross?

Had he forgotten that after passionately expressing devotion to Jesus--and swearing never to fail or forsake him--he did both within a few short hours?

It was no surprise to Jesus when Peter fell asleep instead of supporting him in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Or that Peter denied knowing him, under pressure.

No surprise. As Peter pointed out, he knew all things.

But, when the resurrected Jesus caught up with Peter on the beach, he pushed him for more—consistency of heart and action.

Did Peter grasp the challenge and run with it? Not exactly; his response was classically dysfunctional. He turned and looked at a fellow follower and said, “What about him?”

Jesus patiently pressed Peter, “What is that to you?”

If it sounds as if I’m being hard on Peter, trust me, it’s because I see myself in him. I too, am enthusiastic, passionate and know who Jesus is. I too, lack follow through on many of my good intentions.

I am “slightly disorganized,” according to a quiz I recently took; this in spite of an Excel schedule I tried to make work for me. I am easily distracted and sometimes prone to take the easy road. Like Peter, my courage sometimes fails. But none of these excuses hold water; they are all leaky vessels.

Jesus asks me the same searching question he asked Peter, “Do you love me?”

I answer, “Yes, Lord, with all my heart!”

And he says to me, “Then do what I have called you to.”

Peter, transformed at Pentecost, gives me hope. It wasn’t self effort, which is where I get stuck and fail. Peter must have hit rock bottom by the time he met Jesus on the beach, and I think that’s where God needs us in order to find us useful.

He uses people who know that they need more than passionate emotion; people who are desperate for his power; people who have hit bottom and cry, “Help! I give up; to God alone must go the glory.”

I’m there, in that good place; and I am waiting; waiting for God.


Susan said…
I am so glad that the real Belinda Burston - the one I really, really love - decided to stand up. Welcome back, dear friend. You've know idea how glad I am you're here!

Popular posts from this blog

Just Joy!

Our family has a standing date for Sunday dinner on the first Sunday of every month. Not that we don't see each other at any other time, but we all know that particular Sunday is pretty much for sure--and I look forward to it so much--the front door bursting open and our house being filled once more with the voices and vibrancy of six grandchildren and their parents. 

This week Spero, Brenda's new Australian Shepherd puppy came too, and met his extended family, leaving Molson at home to have a rest! He was duly adored by all of us.

He came with a dazzling array of toys and is proving a fast learner, already sitting on command and responding to Tori's training. I was so impressed at her technique of quickly rewarding a turnaround from any slight naughtiness with praise for "good sitting," or "good" any other desirable behaviour! 

Tippy had her hair cut stunningly and bravely short the day before; making a statement about who she is as a unique individual, o…

The Secret Adventures of Susan's Scottish Scarf

By Belinda (with a lot of help from Susan :))
I was saying goodnight to her at the front door this week when she told me. There was apparently more to the scarf around her neck than I knew. 
The scarf had been a gift from me for Susan's birthday on Tuesday December 18th. It had been her 60th; and that day I had treated her to lunch to celebrate. 
We met at a tiny restaurant, Port Soiree, in Schomberg,near her office. It was a restaurant neither of us had been to before and it turned out to be a gem, with artsy ambiance, amazing food, wonderful service and modest pricing. In other words, it was perfect!