Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Sea of Tiberias--and me

It seems like so long since my last post, when it's really only been about 24 hours. Yesterday was forever ago. Ah, the joy of finals. I just hope that I can remember the content from my post from yesterady--that's about all that will get me through. :)

Today in New Testament we talked about John's account of when Jesus appeared to the disciples at Tiberias. I'm not going to post the entire scripture story, so if you want to read it you can go to www.lds.org, click on Gospel Library, then the Scriptures link (third from the bottom on the left side). It's pretty self-explanatory after that: click on New Testament, then John. It's chapter 21.

We talked about and/or I noticed a lot of little things about this story, especially with Peter. First, when Jesus comes, they don't realize it's him. He tells them to cast their net on the other side of the boat. After having not caught anything all night, they catch 153 fish! Surprisingly, the net doesn't break. When Jesus then reminds them to be fishers of men, it is like he's saying, "There is room for hundreds of people in my kingdom. The net will never break. Go out and find them." And it's true. Through Christ's Atonement, there is room for all in God's kingdom. No one is left out--His sacrifice is all-inclusive for everyone.

Next the Savior offers His disciples a meal. My professor, Dr. Holzapfel, pointed out that asking someone to eat a meal with you is like covenanting with them. The Savior is here giving the disciples another chance to renew their covenants. It is like another Sacrament. This caused me to think. Are we dining with Christ daily? Are we keeping our part of the bargain? When I, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, partake of the sacrament on Sunday, do I fully appreciate Jesus's Atonement for me, renew my deal with him to follow his commandments, and repent of my sins?

This leads to my last, and favorite, point: Peter's repentance. Christ asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Of course, Peter says yes. He is hurt by the fact that Jesus must keep asking him. But Petet denied Christ three times. This is the repentance process, and repentance hurts. The last time around Peter realizes that he must be as transparent as possible. The same is true with us in our lives. No matter how much it hurts, there is only room for humble clarity when we repent. There is no room for pride. When Peter answers "Lord, thou knowest all things," he means this on a few different levels. 1) Jesus knows that Peter loves Him and wants to repent and do his best to enter the kingdom. 2) Jesus was right about everything that would happen--including things that Peter was adamant would never happen, such as him denying Christ.

That second reason struck home to me. Around this time last year, there was something that I wanted almost more than anything. I prayed for it over and over again, getting a "not yet" answer. Finally, my insistent pesterings gave into an "Alright..." Looking back it reminds me of when Joseph Smith asked the Lord to let Martin Harris borrow the plates--he kept asking until the Lord gave up and said "Okay, but I warned you." Well, I got what I wanted, but the consequence, instead of the happiness I had expected, was a lot and a lot of heartache that took months to get over. In my haste for this thing (which would have been good at the right time), I, in my pride, ignored the Lord. I had to return to Him, pleading for forgiveness and respite from the hurt, saying, like Peter, "Lord, you knew this would happen. In my pride I forgot that. And Lord, you know I love you and want nothing more than to turn this around." Although I learned a lot in the end, repentance was a hard process, and it was painful for Peter to go through it was well. But that's how repentance is; it's hard, and takes a lot of work and humility, but in the end it's worth it.

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