Sunday 23 April, 2017.
INSPITE OF OUR WEAKNESSES JESUS STILL LOVES US
“He called out to them, Friends, haven’t you any fish? “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish”, (John 21:5-6).
It was in the mind of Jesus that His disciples would feed His flock and tend His lambs. However, Simon Peter thought differently for he had said, “I am going a fishing.” And the others said, “we are going with you also.” The Bible says, “they went out and immediately got into the boat and that night they caught nothing”, (John 21:3). Notice, the work of preaching suffered a setback due to their abandonment of the assignment of Jesus to them.
We must admit that it is possible in Peter’s mind, one can always go back to his known profession when it seems the gospel does not make sense anymore. So, unknown to Peter, Jesus is what believers need for their lives to be meaningful. As Peter toiled with the rest of others in their fishing expedition that night they caught nothing. Interestingly, at this hour of disappointment, Jesus appeared in their midst and urged them thus: “friends, haven’t you any fish? (John 21:6).
Nevertheless, one should have been disappointed at the attitude of Peter and those who went with Him to fishing. Rather than pursuing and consolidating the work of preaching the gospel, they went out of their way for material resources. Their action was not only condemnable but disappointing as they abandoned the work entrusted to them. Naturally, one would have expected Jesus to over react but He chose to come to their level and says: “friends, haven’t you any fish? (John 21:6). What a compassionate leader! In spite of the disciples weaknesses, He still loves them and would want them to get things right. He was not harsh neither was He condemnatory nor too Judgmental. His choice of Words speak volumes of His kind hearted heart. Can we still see leaders in this mould?
Incidentally, in the conversation that ensued between Peter and Jesus, we saw Jesus asking Peter three times: ‘Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15). Peter’s response betrayed his emotions “Lord you know I love you”. This was as if to say to Jesus “you know my weaknesses and my strength”. Yes, Jesus must have understood him and therefore says “feed my sheep, tend my lambs”.
Understandably, in the Old Testament, David had the opportunity to waste the life of King Saul his antagonist but he did not do so. He says: “Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord”, (2 Samuel 24:6). He had the opportunity but he refused to exercise it. When opportunity like this comes our way, how do we respond or react? Remember, David’s action was in tandem with scriptural demands “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”, (Rom. 12:21). This should be the attitude of a child of God knowing someone’s weakness, yet, reaching out to him with love.
Therefore, as people of God, we need to re-evaluate our relationships and allow Jesus’ pattern of life to influence us who in spite of our weaknesses still loves us. Yes, Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly”, (John 10:10).
VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA,
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,