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Jan24FriRemembering the significance of Peter's reinstatement. January 24, 2014 by Major Wanda Vincent
On the first day of our Holy Land tour, we visited the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias. One of the historic landmarks in Jesus ministry was on the beach near a church called the Primacy of Peter. The beach and the church both designate the spot where Jesus appeared to Peter after the Resurrection for his “reinstatement.” It was a moving moment to stand and feel the water of the sea on our feet and hands as we remembered this significant moment. Some also prayed at the church in light of God's call to love him supremely.
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- Opinion & Critical Thought
As we read again the Scripture where Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” (John 21:15), I remembered the truth that any relationship Jesus sought to have was always based on love. Everything Jesus taught about the law of God or about religious life always came back to whether or not we loved God—a radical shift from the premise of Old Testament law.
This teaching reflects how the nature of the Trinity embodies love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God loved and Jesus came. And then Jesus “so loved” just like the Father.
It is a natural progression, then, that Jesus' followers live similar expressions of love.
Jesus relationship with Peter was a particularly intimate one. He was one of the three that Christ invested in, part of the “inner circle.” He shared some of the most sacred moments with Jesus, like on the Mount of Transfiguration when the glory of Christ was visibly manifested (see Luke 9:28-36). Peter could have certainly been considered less than the prize disciple. Impulsive, promising never to leave Christ one moment and denying him the next, jumping out of boats on a whim (an illustration that was quite poignant for us to visualize as we stood by the Sea) …
However, we refrain from judging Peter because he actually reflects all of us at some point or another.
It isn't surprising that after the Resurrection, Jesus restores Peter to his vocation to preach the gospel and the foundation is, again, love.
Jesus only question of Peter on the beach that morning was, “Do you love me?”
It's a question he asks all of us, “Do you truly love me?”
If so, then live out an evidence-based love. Follow Christ's command to “feed my lambs” (John 21:15), both young and old. There is no better evidence of how much we love God than by making other disciples.
So let's take the agape love of God, make that the foundation of our lives and ministry and love those around us by feeding them the word of truth.
Major Wanda Vincent is the divisional director of women's ministries at the Ontario Great Lakes division. Last fall, she and several other Salvation Army officers participated in a tour of the Holy Land.