The Leaf in my Bible, part 3

Read Part 1 here. and part 2 here.
Jesus is dead.
Peter's world has stopped spinning, and he has no idea what to do. He and the other disciples hide in dark rooms, not sure how to proceed. Should they scatter? Pretend it never happened?
And Peter's mind is full of his betrayal. Could it have made a difference? Did Jesus die not knowing how much Peter really loved Him?
On the day after Sabbath, some of the female followers of Jesus go to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body for burial. But when they arrive, the stone has been rolled away! An ANGEL appears to them and says, "He is not here for HE IS RISEN, as He said. Go tell the disciples AND PETER that He is going before you into Galilee." (Mark 16:6-7)
The women run back and tell Peter and John, who in turn run to the tomb. They see the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, except for a folded head cloth.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? They still don't fully understand what has happened! They remain in hiding in upper rooms, not sure of what the authorites will do when they find out the report.
Then Jesus appears to them, through the locked door and says, "Peace be to you!" Then He tells them that as the Father sent Him, so He was going to send them out as well.
In John 21, there is a very interesting account. You would expect, after seeing Jesus alive and risen from the dead, the disciples would be ready to do anything, go anywhere...that they would have no more doubts. But in John 21 we read the Peter says to the other disciples, "I'm going fishing." And they go with him.
What is that all about? THEY HAVE SEEN THE RISEN LORD!
Why go fishing now? And why fishing?

Try to imagine being Peter right now. It was bad enough denying your Master three times when He was dead. But now, He's alive again. He knows that Peter denied Him, He had looked at him right after the fact. Big, loud-mouth Peter - only he and Jesus know that he totally blew it. But Jesus is the One that matters! So much for a top job in the kingdom! So much for being one of the closest three to the Master. So much for being the Peter, the Rock!
Peter looks at himself and sees his failure, and sees his usefulness to the Master as over.
And so he goes fishing. He's a fisherman. Fishing is something he's good at. He knows that even though he's a failure at being a disciple, he is not a failure at fishing.
But there's a problem. They weren't catching anything. Not a minnow. Now a bluegill. Not a sea monster. Nothing.
Peter is now at his absolute low-point. He can't do anything right. He's a failure. He's useless. He can't even FISH!
Then the disciples see a man on the shore of the lake, who calls to them and says, "Children, do you have any fish?"
They reply, "No."
"Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some."
They obey, and instantly their nets are full of fish. Then John says to Peter, "It is the Lord!"
Simon Peter puts on his outer garment and dives into the sea, headed for Jesus.
The Master had prepared a fire, and offered to them to eat a breakfast of fish and bread. They counted the fish and there were 153 large fish! I love that the Bible tells us that!
The Bible also tells us in John 21:12 that none of them asked Who He was, because they knew it was the Lord. Well,  I would hope so, after following Him for three years!
After they have finished eating, Jesus turns to Simon Peter and says,
"Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
Peter answers, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."  You know that, don't You, Lord?
"Feed my lambs."
Then He said to him again, "Simon, do you love me?"
"Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Can't you see my heart, Lord? You know that I love you, though in a moment of weakness I denied you. You know me, Lord! I love you!
"Tend my sheep."
Then He asked Peter a third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
And Peter was grieved that He had asked Him a third time. Can't you feel his grief? Three times he had denied that he even knew Jesus, but didn't he love Him? Did he love Him enough? I can picture him fighting the tears, and looking up into Jesus' face and seeing His kind, loving eyes. Or looking at his nail-pierced hands and seeing His love there.
"Lord, You know everything. You know that I love you." Despite what I said, despite my cowardice and fear, I love you! You know me better than I know myself--YOU KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU!
"Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young,you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go." (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) 
And after saying this he said to him, "Follow me."
Peter's worst nightmare was over. He had "passed." 

"Simon, Simon, behold Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again,strengthen your brothers." 
It would seem that Jesus' prayer didn't work, right? 
Actually, the word fail implies "fail utterly" or "fail permanently," so Jesus prayed that when Peter failed (since He knew that he would) that it wouldn't be permanent. Jesus showed confidence that Peter would turn, "WHEN you have turned, strengthen your brothers." 
Sounds alot like "tend my sheep," doesn't it?
Isn't it incredible that God used proud, foot-in-mouth Peter to boister the church all over, especially in Rome, to write two inspired epistles and to give his life as a martyr for his Lord? 

The apostle Peter is my hero:) He failed, but turned/repented and ended up doing great things despite, or, perhaps, because of his failure. Sometimes realizing how much of a failure we are helps us become better servants of the Lord because we know that WE aren't that great or wonderful, but our GOD is! 

The message of the leaf in my Bible is that we all have times of wandering from the Lord. It's part of our spiritual growth. Sometimes it's only a short time of wandering, i.e. a week or so where you are spiritually blind, but other times there are years of wandering, when we refuse to let go of our sin. 
Negin, the name of the girl on my leaf, was the example of this. She was walking away from the Lord. She had been active in church and made a profession of faith, then all of a sudden gave up. Just left and was gone. She cut off contact and would not explain why. 
I don't know her situation now. But whenever I see the leaf in my Bible, I pray for her. I pray that, if she is still wandering, she would turn back to God.  I also pray for myself, that the Lord would "let His goodness, like a fetter, bind my wand'ring heart to Thee." I also pray that when I wander, that He would do WHATEVER IT TAKES to draw my heart back to Him. "Whatever it takes" is a serious stake. But I know that if I am wandering, I will not be happy, or fulfilled, or at peace, until I am back in communion with God. 

When Miss Walker spoke on Simon Peter, she told us to each go out and get a leaf. This leaf should be placed in Luke 22.
When you look at a leaf, you see the main stem. Coming out from the stem, do you see the little shoots headed out to the side? 
These little off-shoots don't go far, and neither should we.
The reminder of the leaf in my Bible is "May your wanderings be short and may you always come back to the Main Stem! And when you return, strengthen your brothers! Encourage them to do the same!"
Jesus is the Only Source of True Joy, Peace, Happiness, Contentment, and every good thing! Don't wander from Him, but when you do...repent and see that the Lord is good!


Josiah (From the Accountability Forum) said...

Wow! That was really good! Thanks for sharing that, Sophie! I really liked it when we finally got to learn how the leaf applied to all of this! Now I want to go and find myself a leaf...

Thanks for sharing this!

Ems said...

I have a leaf in my Bible, and got it working at camp this past summer, but mine is in Isaiah 40:) I agree with Josiah...I like how we finally came back to the leaf! I kept sitting here wondering how Peter and a leaf went together...but the definitely do! At the end of reading this I was crying, because of how thankful I am that God cares enought to bring us back...to draw us when we don't want to be drawn! I have a friend from SC who was like a sister, and she did the same thing Negin did. She was just gone...no contact, no nothing. This reminder has renewed my desire to pray for her! Praise God!