Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cleaning-Up After Peter

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!”  When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore.  The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore.  When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.  John 21:7-9(NLT)
Peter has always struck me as impulsively brash, always charging ahead without thinking; especially never thinking about the wake he leaves behind his actions.  This is the wake others must navigate (and clean up) when Peter goes all reactionary!
In this post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples by the seashore, we read that it was Peter’s idea to go fishing in the first place.  But, like a puppy catching sight of something new, when Jesus is sighted, the big fisherman makes a beeline for the shore, leaving the others to lug the boat back with 153 large fish.  I can just imagine the look on Thomas and Nathanael’s faces – …there he goes again; first one at the breakfast line; he never hangs around to finish the job!  Why do WE always get to clean up HIS mess?
Of course this was not the first time Peter’s actions created a mess for someone else (or for the grumbling disciples to complain about maybe wanting a different leader).  Jesus wanted to know what the crowds were saying about him.  Then, after they talked about what the crowds were saying, Jesus wanted to know what his followers were thinking:
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Matthew 16:15-16(NLT)
That unguarded wild statement of Peter’s probably caused the wondering disciples, particularly Judas, no end of worry.  If Peter couldn’t keep his mouth shut, all the plans they had for Jesus were going to be hung on Roman swords or (shudder) crosses!
It was that way with Peter; you never knew what was coming next.
Frankly, though, it’s that way with Jesus, isn’t it?  Every time you think you’ve got a handle on things, God puts some wild idea in the way to mess it all up…
Ø Like putting your reputation on the line to feed a crowd of 10,000 with just a few sardines and Kaiser rolls…
Ø Like cutting open a fish to find your tax payment…
Ø Like rolling the stone away from a tomb because he wants to speak to the corpse
Ø Like bailing out that irresponsible nephew for the fifth time
Ø Like forgiving that kid who ran through the sanctuary and disturbed your quiet meditation…again!
Like Peter, Jesus is hard to figure out, and, if you’re the responsible type, there’s always lots of bumpy wake to navigate while you’re cleaning-up someone else’s messy details.
But I guess that’s what you get when you hang-out with God, or people like Peter, who love God so much they forget the details.  It’s hard being the responsible one who always does the real work, like Martha in the kitchen, or Judas figuring out how to pay all those bills, and Thomas, trying to make sense of it all.
It seems following Jesus just isn’t all that easy after-all, is it?  Especially if you have your eyes on Peter or James, or John, or any of the other disciples in your path that make it more confusing with the mess they leave for you to clean up.

For You Today

Problems, mess, and details; sometimes you just want to forget it all and go fishing.  But, then you remember about those messy details of YOUR life HE took to the cross.
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

 I Title image: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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