Are You Desperate to See?

Jesus didn't die so we could have a religion.

Monday, February 21, 2005

What's the Big Deal?

"We cant keep quiet about what we have seen and heard."

Do you ever feel that way when you run across a sensational story or something wonderful happening in your family? Somehow the topic just comes up in every conversation, even when getting groceries at the store or paying for dinner at the drive-thru. Some things in life are just too good to hold in and not share with everyone.

And of course, I am sure you can see where this is going. Because those words were uttered by John and Peter in the book of Acts.

Can we keep quiet about what we have seen and heard in Christ? Does it somehow just come up in a conversation or slip out when we don't mean for it to? Are we so rowdy about Jesus that we end up in jail before the judges and important men in our community who tell us we better shut up about this Jesus thing...or else. But Peter and John said, "I respect what you say but we can't keep quiet about what we've seen and heard." No way. No how. It was going to slip out somewhere to someone at some point- guaranteed!

And if we can find ourselves keeping quiet about Christ, WHY? Why aren't we so excited about the very person who snatched our souls out of the mouth of death and turned our lives around and continues to show us favor that we won't be quiet? Why aren't we excited? Did Jesus lose his excitement factor sometime between Peter and John and MTV? I doubt it.

So let's take a different tact. I am going to focus on Peter here. Peter gets picked on a lot because he is like us- prone to be fickle. So the question is, If I'm not so excited about Jesus that I can't sit still but Peter was that excited, what is the difference between me and Peter?

What impassioned Peter so much? What was the change? This is the same Peter who was too afraid to admit to even knowing Jesus and now he was in jail, on trial and couldn't hold his tongue. What was the change? Because there was a change. When he saw Jesus for the first time after denying him, he got so excited he jumped ship and swam to shore. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that the very man that died was the one on shore calling to him. No more, "If it's you Christ, show me."

So I am guesstimating that four days went between Peter's denial and reunion with Christ. I am sure he thought he completely blew it. Four days of mourning and back to the only thing he knew before Christ- Fishing. Life went back to the mundane and I am sure he was in depression. He wasn't out looking for Christ. He thought he was done, so he might as well go back to life as he knew it. Forget the miracles- put walking on water behind you. You have to eat somehow, Peter. Might as well get the show on the road, there's no sense looking back. I can see Peter's fishing buddies out on the boat saying, "Peter, why are you crying?" And him responding that salt water must've just gotten into his eyes.

The Christ who let Peter walk on water and participate in other miracles, the Life-Giver who would answer any questions that Peter asked, the Creator that died for him was the same person that Peter denied when under pressure. He blew it and he knew it. He despaired. He as grief stricken and horrified. He carried this burden of hopelessness on the boat with him.

But he got a second chance four days later. Peter was the face of relief and utter joy when he saw Jesus. He was out of his mind with joy and he never wanted to betray Christ again. Joy was restored, hope was renewed. He had a second chance at making things right.

And yet we would deny knowing Christ (by simply not admitting it) and not feel too bad for too long if it would mean that we could continue living in comfort the way we want. We want to live life on our terms and not be made too uncomfortable in this life by being too closely related to Christ. (I mean, then people will judge me and associate me with those homo-phobic bigots and make fun of me for believing in the Bible which is just a book in their mind and who knows what other insecurities I have with being associated with Jesus. So it is just easier if I am good even if no one ever knows why. Being good is enough of a witness.)

We may protest! But, I didn't live with Jesus for three years. I didn't get to experience those caliber miracles. I wasn't there when he died. Or maybe we figure that we've messed up so many times and Jesus is always there for us anyway so that forgiveness and grace have become mundane. We don't feel horrified at what we do wrong. We are okay and besides, Jesus knows we're just human so we never get to the place of remorse and repentance where Peter was. We are numb to Jesus. He is old news. He has been around for 23 of the 28 years of my life. What's the big deal?

From the point of floundering to shore and answering Jesus three times, "You know I love you, Lord." and on, Peter was sold out. Each time Peter confessed his love, Jesus said, "Good, then do this" it was followed by commands for acts of obedience. (This story is in John 21, btw.) Christ's love required Peter to do something, to change his life.

Sometimes after that incident, Peter could be wrong or presumptuous. But he still moved forward in serving Christ. He didn't get cold towards the things of God ever again. He didn't take Jesus' forgiveness for granted. By not taking the forgiveness for granted, he didn't take Christ's sacrifice of death for granted either. He followed Jesus through thick and thin to the point of death.

So what is the difference between me and Peter? Maybe I care too much about my security. Or maybe I am cold and indifferent to my sin and Christ's sacrifice which bought my forgiveness.

My life should be so marked by Christ's salvation and my heart so moved by Him that I am on the rooftops shouting. I should never leave a conversation to chance and not speak of Christ if I am prompted to do so. I should never deny Christ in a conversation when he is trying to enter. I should be quick to share the joy that is Jesus. I should be moved by compassion and tell of the restoration with God through Jesus. The world is hopeless. It despairs. People are walking dead. We have the life. Why aren't you excited? Where is the spark of fire? Death has no sting!

I don't feel that I finished this post well. What Christ has done and the excitement therein is almost inexplainable without just babbling on and on and on. And I think that is the point. The wonder of Christ is inexhaustible. It takes an eternity to praise him. Shouldn't it last at least a lifetime?


At 7:52 AM, Blogger Guinevere Meadow said...

All I can say is "wow." Awesome post. You hit it right on the head with that.


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