It always gives me a giggle when people say something like, “Jesus was all about love.”
And I think, ‘What Jesus are you talking about?’ There is more talk about eternal punishment in the New Testament than there is in the Old. Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven. Yes, one of Jesus’ characteristics, perhaps even His main characteristic was love, but He was fantastically serious about fulfilling God’s plan for you and me. And come hell or high water, or the deaths of millions of people, that plan WILL be carried out to completion, and the dominion of hell will not be able to stand against it.
I’m going to do a bit of a series that entails one of my favourite passages of Scripture. John chapter 21.
Prior to this account, Jesus had been betrayed by Judas. Peter had promised Jesus that even if all the other disciples ran away he, Peter would never abandon Jesus. In fact, Peter announced, he was ready to die with and for Jesus and His cause. I don’t know what tone of voice Jesus used, but He told Peter, in effect, “Are you kidding me? Before the night is out, you will deny that you even know Me; and not just once but three times.” Well, Jesus was crucified, He was buried and He rose from the dead, just as He had told them would happen. Peter did denying knowing Jesus and he had gone into hiding. The news of the tomb being empty had brought the disciples out of hiding and appearances by Jesus had left the disciples in a quandary. Remember, based on Old Testament prophecy, the disciples were still thinking that Jesus was going to lead a revolt against Rome and establish Israel to its former glory. Ok, enough of the preamble.
As this account unfolds, Jesus and Peter are once more going to be centre stage. If you’ve ever disappointed a best friend, as well as yourself, you might understand a little bit of what Peter was going through. As John tells us, Peter and his friends were coming back from a night of fishing when they saw a person sitting on the shore. The guy had a fire going and He was cooking some fish. Eventually, as they got closer to shore, the people in the boat with Peter recognised the person as Jesus. Peter, forgetting his humiliating emotional, personal and spiritual defeat dived into the water and made his way to the Lord. As I stated, Jesus was cooking some fish and the disciples brought some of their catch to make a meal of it. They spent some time, their bellies full, lying on the beach by the fire. Life was good again. Any time now, or so they believed, Jesus would become their king. He’d drive out the Romans which would usher in the Messianic kingdom.
Then Jesus turned to Peter and, motioning with a sweep of His hand to indicate the boats and the crew and the friends lying on the sand, Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than all of these?”