When I ended Part Three, Jesus was telling Peter, as He tells each of us, that He wants all of us. He wants our total commitment.
There used to be this guy who would sit on the corner by this Chinese restaurant. All day every day he was handing out some kind of religious magazines. He never said anything to anyone. He just held these magazines. One of my staff, at the time, was an atheist and she’d regularly mock this guy after she’d come back from a meal of wings and what not. I asked her one day, “Ya, he seems like a goof but don’t you just for once in your life long to feel passionate about something; about some cause?”
Mmm, nope. She was into gliding as effortlessly through life as possible. How about you? Would you give your life literally for your most important beliefs?
Tender Jesus, the Jesus who was all about love, is all about a particular type of love. Agape love. The love of commitment. Whether it’s in regard to your faith or your marriage partner or your children, agape love does not give up. Agape love gives everything its got. This is the kind of love Jesus wanted Peter to possess. And, to be fair I think Peter wanted to be that kind of person. Peter wanted to give Jesus everything He had. Peter wanted to be committed to the cause. He wanted to become the kind of individual who could back up his words with action.
O how I long to be that kind of man; my face set like a flint toward my goal. My eyes focused. My attitude determined. Sadly, like Peter, I get distracted.
Jesus touched Peter’s shoulder and motioned for him to walk with Jesus a few steps away. Then, turning to Peter, Jesus looked him in the eye and said, softly, “Peter, when you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But you’ve signed on with Me, Peter. Because of that, I’m going to tell you right now, that the day is coming when you are going to be killed because of your commitment to Me. And then He said to Peter, “Follow Me.”
Tender Jesus. Tender Jesus. “I want you to follow Me. Become like Me. Do as I would do. And because of it, you will give up your life for Me and My cause, just as I gave up My life for you.
We know from extra Biblical accounts that after Jesus returned to heaven, Peter, with steady resolve endured years of hardship, torture and finally death for the Cause. At this point in time, however, Jesus’ sales pitch wasn’t quite working.
“Peter, turning around . . . said, “Lord (pointing toward John) what about him?”
Tender Jesus, the Jesus who was all about love said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me!”
Pretty tender huh? Pretty compassionate? Pretty loving?
Actually yes. Even in the face of death, there is no place on earth that is safer than smack dab in the centre of God’s will, even if you die for being there. There is no more exciting place on earth to be than following the path of your Creator. The place of greatest satisfaction, peace and fulfilment is following Jesus, being like Jesus, doing what Jesus would do if He was you, in your situation.
Is Jesus all about love? Of course. But love, as the world knows it is a fickle thing, a wispy thing. Love, as God understands it and as He has demonstrated it for us, that kind of love is a commitment that will go to any length to ensure that the relationship endures. It is a love like no other and best of all, it’s a love that you can know and experience and be able to give to others.
Good luck with your journey.