Week 6 ” Holy Wild”
My devotion this morning is from John 21:
15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.’
This is a popular passage especially for those who are shepherding, it reminds us of our call and our mission in life. But this morning, this passage took on a very special if not timely message, it spoke to me what “mercy” is.
Last night our book study discussed the issue of “mercy”. It is vital to our faith and yet somehow it has turned into Christian jargon. We talk about it and ask for it, but do we really know and even value mercy?
So here is Jesus, face to face with Peter, the one who tends to put his foot in his mouth. At one time he confessed his undying love for the Master, only to betray Him not once but three times, just as Jesus said he would. That I think is a huge insult to his ego if anything else. This guy who have followed Jesus intimately for three years, witnessed all the miraculous deeds and heard the hard-core teaching first hand. A lot of people these days will love to be in his shoes. Yet, this guy betrayed His Lord, he has failed miserably. This is the amazing part: Jesus never said to him ” Well, Peter you really goofed up and to get back in my good book, you have to ask for forgiveness and prove to me that you are a changed man”. Come to think of it, this is what most of us expect from those who have offended us. We want justice served, we want to be convinced that the person is genuinely sorry for his wrong doings. Yet Jesus never demanded that, He just simply said “Feed my lambs !”, not once but three times. The same number of times Peter had denied Him.
To me that is mercy: You don’t have to wait for someone to deem himself worthy, but simply you take him in all his brokenness, reinstate him and restore the relationship. You love the person as he is just because……of mercy
Mercy is when Jesus wipes everything clean and starts us on a clean slate. It is when He sees beyond our failure, our mistakes and instead the potential in us. It is when He gives us another chance in something great…..and greater.
Did Peter get off easy? I don’t think so. I can imagine the pain, the shame and the guilt ……after all, when he realized what he had done he had cried bitterly. Then he experienced mercy.
It is only in our contrition that we truly understand the preciousness of it.
Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness, three things we are given freely each day.
But how come it is so hard for us to give it to others freely?
Really, we don’t deserve it either.
“……But I’d rather be punished by God, whose mercy is great, than fall into human hands.” 2 Samuel 24:14 ( The Message)