OK…So…How’s the “NY Resolutions” going? Oh… and it’s only just 55 days into 2020. Never mind, St Peter didn’t have much joy with his intended personal improvements either and an older friend of mine has just told me she did make a NYR, but now, as she can’t remember what it was, she reckons she can’t break it either!
Getting back to Peter though, he did manage to blow it in a rather big way because he didn’t then fully understand the “Kingdom of God”. (You can read of Peter’s experience in John 13:36-38 and John18:15-27.)
Like others of his time, Peter was looking for a physical kingdom when it was in reality spiritual. (This assumption is most likely why James and John thought they might get seats of prominence next to Jesus, and Nicodemus had such difficulty understanding “Being born again”).
Jesus made the nature of the Kingdom of God plain in his answer to a Pharisee’s question… “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20.
I take this to mean that the Kingdom of God, while spiritual, is also very personal and more like close, loving family relationships than like a legal contract signed and sealed with many rules that must be followed.
This view of the Kingdom of God is born out in the way Jesus dealt with Peter’s denial… “Peter, do you love me? Then feed my lambs!”
And, how do we feed his lambs? An encouraging hand on a shoulder, sharing a Scripture, a meal, a prayer, a care, a gift, a helping hand and a million other little ways we can encourage one another. (See another list in Romans 12:5-8.)
One Sunday we found this note on our windscreen. “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”. That was well over a year ago and the note is still on our fridge so I see it most days and it never fails to lift my eyes from the mediocre to the Hope that lies before us who believe.
Do you love Jesus? Then feed his lambs.
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