Jesus and Peter - 30 September 2021

By Ben Fourie

Simon Peter was the fisherman with the name meaning a rock, the “chief apostle”. It is the same man who, during a storm at sea, tried something that no other human being had ever considered doing. He got out of the boat and, against all principles of nature, started to walk on water. When others were still searching for answers, Peter was the one who said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Peter was a zealot, a member of a nationalistic group that wanted to free Israel from the yoke of the Roman Empire. That is why he was the only one with a sword in Gethsemane that night. Energetic and strong yet also afraid when confronted by the servant girl. In the end, the denial came when he was accused of being a follower of Jesus.

We started this month’s daily readings with the series of paintings by Father Claerhout and I want to end with the same. The last in the series of paintings about Jesus and the other person hit me like a physical blow. The painting was of a single figure staring straight ahead. In response to my question about what it meant, Father Claerhout, with his heavy Flemish accent, said, “Look at his big eyes. He is looking at you. It is now between you and him.”

That is what Peter must have felt that morning when Jesus asked him, “… do you love me more than these others do?” There was no hiding place any more, no excuses and the “others” did not really matter at that stage, only Jesus and Peter. The three years that he had spent with Jesus were not the deciding factor, even the denial did not count against him now. Everything stood illuminated by the bright light of the question, “Do YOU love me?” That is also true for you and me. In the end, it is not what others say or believe about Jesus, or even what one’s church teaches about Jesus or how one’s family, husband, wife or children think about Jesus, but only – do I love him?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you loved me so much that you died on the cross for me. Help me to love you above all. Amen