Have you ever taken time to sit with the Scriptures and contemplate what it would have been like to really be there, to hear it first hand? I had always tried to do that especially when unpacking Scripture with students. It helped in trying to connect with what Jesus was saying by trying to make it more real. I often tried to imagine what it would have looked like, sounded like, felt like to be in that moment.
This became more "fun" as I became older and had a better sense of what the world was like and what people were like in general. I tried to picture what Jesus would have physically been like based on people who live in the Middle East today. Now that I have been to the Holy Land, I have a better appreciation of the landscape of Israel and the challenges this presented in moving from one place to another. I see the Scripture in a whole new way.
Seeing Scripture in a whole new way has now challenged me a bit differently. Recently, I was meditating on the passage of John 21: 12-22, when Peter is depressed and sets out with two other disciples to fish in the Sea of Galilee post resurrection. They are having no luck. In the distance, they see a man on the shore. One of the men recognizes him as Jesus. Peter jumps into the water. He can't get to the shore fast enough. Jesus was preparing fish on an open fire. They sit to eat. Upon finishing eating, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. For every time Peter responds, Jesus tells him to "feed my lambs", "take care of my sheep", and "feed my sheep".
In the past, this passage didn't affect me much. I knew that it was a conversation between Peter and Jesus whereby Jesus is essentially forgiving Peter for denying him. It is also a commissioning of Peter
as the head of the newly founded Church. Now having been there, and stood upon the rock where this conversation took place along the Sea of Galilee, I am forever changed. Our retreat leader charged those present to think of this passage as the resume for all Christian leaders, for it identifies what is needed to be a leader: Love the Lord greatly, Obedience to the will of the Father, and Focus on what God has given you to do. Truth be told that on the pilgrimage, I struggled to meet this rock. It sits alongside and under the Church of the Primacy of Peter. I couldn't go in. I cried at the doorpost. I imagined what it had to have been like for Peter, for
the two that were with him fishing that day and catching nothing, only to find yourself having breakfast with Jesus on the shore. These men were no longer fishermen, they were fishers of men. They were transformed by Jesus. I truly asked if I have been transformed by Jesus on that day on pilgrimage. Am I willing to go where He is
leading me? Am I ready to be accountable to it? Are you ready to be accountable to where God is leading you?