April 17, 2012

Revisiting Old Hurts

John 21:4-17

Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
—John 21:15


Can you smell the aroma of outdoor cooking as you read these verses? The mention of burning coals with fish on the fire is not a random detail. John 18:18 says that Peter warmed himself by a fire the night he denied his Lord three times. As the aroma wafted toward him, surely it brought back bitter memories of his past failure.

When Jesus asked for some fish, Peter quickly rushed off to supply it. Was he eager to get away briefly, or was he trying to show he could be helpful?

Jesus knows our past failures can seriously impede our future efforts and sap the daily joy from the lives of his followers. I think Jesus was intentionally recreating the scene in order to help Peter face his past and be renewed in his service.

I do not know what past failures may be harming your present pursuits or what unhealed hurts may be hindering you from following Jesus. Probing deeply into a badly infected wound can be very painful, but it’s the only way to begin the healing process.

Know this truth: being imperfect does not disqualify us from serving Jesus. That’s what his unfailing love for us is all about. Look at the scars in his hands. He understands our hurts and knows how to heal them. Run to him and say, “Thank you, Lord; I do love you.”

Gracious Lord, thank you for your unfailing love. Help us to confidently come to you in our weakness to find healing and renewal in you. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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