John 21:7-8 (the message)
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!”
When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish.
John caught my attention this morning as I was flipping over toward the book of Acts. There are a few things that intrigue me about this chapter of the Bible, but today my heart is catching on the verses above.
At this point resurrected Jesus is revealing Himself for the third time to His disciples. Peter and a few others had been fishing all night and not caught a thing. As day breaks they see a man on shore who suggests they cast their net over the right side of the boat. Of course the catch is huge, 153 large fish, and John realizes it is Jesus on the beach.
I imagine Peter hauling in the big catch, not really paying attention to the man on the shore, until John tells him it’s the Master. I picture him dropping the net and yanking on his clothes only to dive in without a backward glance. The boat was only a hundred or so yards from shore, but Peter’s response was can’t-wait.
I just don’t think Peter could endure the distance between himself and Jesus.
It’s this need in Peter that draws my attention. This responsive action from a bursting heart.
Peter’s diving-in made me stop this morning. Look into the blue sky and tell Jesus that I love Him the best I can…the best I’m able.
But I want to love You more and I need Your help.
I want to know Jesus more than I do right now. I’m learning the more I know Him, the more I love Him.
Here’s my thing. I don’t want to appreciate the idea of Jesus. I don’t want to suffer some form of spiritual infatuation…admiring only the most showy aspects of religion…wanting a taste of someone I’m not willing to court.
I don’t want to patiently endure the six days between Sundays.
For my entire life, nearing thirty-seven years, I’ve said I loved The Lord. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was a child. I experienced a deeper understanding lying in my bed alone one night at thirteen. In my twenties, kneeling on my then Pastor’s office floor, I spoke words of repentance and need. But my need had barely shown itself.
This glorious, strenuously avoided, need for Jesus.
All parts of my journey. All ways I was learning to trust Him.
The Bible says if we believe with our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is the Son of God, we will be saved. It doesn’t say if you love Him the most or understand how to be a Christian the most. Receiving Him as Savior hinges on believing He is who He claims and confessing it…embracing the conviction we are in fact sinners in need of rescue and Jesus is the One.
I offer up a discomforting idea this morning. Being a Christian doesn’t automatically mean we love Him. Being a Christian means we believe Him.
Most weeks I did not miss Jesus. I knew Him enough to embrace my family’s faith, to believe, but not enough to miss Him in between Sundays.
I smile because even wanting Jesus isn’t something we conjure up on our own much less take credit for. We can only choose to be still and wait…give Him the chance to speak…learn the feel of His touch and the sound of His voice. Grow increasingly needy in the best of ways.
Then dive into the six days because it’s too much distance to endure.