“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18-22, Lost Gospel Q, Q30, p.64).
It is no accident that when we look at the human spirit we all have a common need to know God. It is no accident that Jesus chose to come as a sheep to be slain, only to rise on the third day. I say it is not an accident because God chose to give us all free will, in doing so He knew we would sin, and fall away from Him but our God did it anyway. God is so magnificent, so perfect in all His works that He was so precise that He paid such close attention to detail in the creation of us that which He had already made room for our sins in His overall plan for humanity. It is no accident that our creator made us in His likeness took such delight in giving Adam his first breath of life, as He does for each and every one of us. God paid such close attention to detail that He recognized when Adam was lonely, thus He created Eve. The miracle is in the fact there is no difference to how closely God observes us, each one of us, and knows when we need Him, answers our prayers, and plays such an active role in our individual lives once we have accepted Him into our hearts, under that most perfect design called free will.
Simon Peter could have said no, as well could have Andrew. In fact each and every one of the twelve disciples could have said no. But because each one of us has that built in need to know God, they followed him, they made a choice. They walked away from their lively hood, their families, their worldly responsibilities, and made the choice to follow him. To their credit they listened to Jesus and followed him upon blind faith that they were making the right choice. The most compelling aspect to this was Jesus knew they would slip in their faith while following him, he knew they would argue, complain, have many doubts, even question him on topics they all struggled with, which we all still today struggle with. Jesus knew they would abandon him in the end, run away in fear, deny him, and even betray him. Jesus knew this just as his Father in heaven knew Adam and Eve would sin, but instead of fixing this one trait, our Lord and Savior used it to our greatest benefit, through his death on the cross. Perhaps the greatest of Jesus’s acts took place during the last super as found in John 13: 1-5, when he washed his disciple’s feet. The attention to detail was so perfectly executed that Jesus did not hesitate to wash the feet of Judas Iscariot, knowing that within moments of him doing so, Judas would betray him.
“2 The evening meal was being served and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (John 13: 2-5, Pg. 1656, NKJV).
How do you reconcile the example of doing for those who would do you ill? In truth I don’t know anyone who could have washed Judas’s feet if they had the forward knowledge that Judas was going to betray them. Moreover within hours from that moment such torture and pain was going to be unleashed upon him. But it took the unyielding, agape love of God to become the servant, to wash the feet of his betrayer. But yet we are all called to do this. In retrospect it is no different from when God gave Adam life, knowing Adam would eventually sin against him. In fact every human on Earth has sinned against God, but yet He still pays such close attention to detail as to love us anyway, to show us His grace anyway, and to choose to send His son Jesus to save all of us from eternal damnation anyway.
Jesus still chose out of free will, the twelve flawed, conflicted, non-patient men to be his disciples, and they accepted his invitation through free will and blind faith. Some of the most powerful words Jesus ever uttered in his ministry were his most simple of words, “Follow Me.”
Often times we get so wrapped up in our own lives we forget to do for others as Jesus so plainly gave the most perfect of examples. Some of us have such brilliant excuses as using the lack of time as the culprit in not obeying God. The simple miscalculation of this is found in the fact there is no one busier than God, but yet He so passionately spends personal one-on-one time with each and every one on planet Earth. There is no excuse for not showing others kindness, love, mercy, and forgiveness. Worse yet some of us openly betray God, in all their words and actions. They harm even those they love, and call this twisted pool of lies and rebellion love. But such is free will, we are free to think, feel, react, learn, and breath, as we choose. But we all have a choice, we all make our own destiny, we all have a loving forgiving father in heaven who is always there waiting, watching, hoping we will call upon Him, to ask for His forgiveness. Such is the very nature of God, as so expressed by John,
“8 He who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8, Pg. 1170, NKJV).
Furthermore John explains,
“16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:16-19, Pg. 1170, NKJV).
Because we are left with the unyielding love of God, we are never alone, never left without hope, never subject to fear. Within our faith we are made perfect in God, we are molded and shaped by God. He takes so much pleasure in each wrinkle, every scratch, every pour and cell in our bodies, for He alone pays such great attention to such details. Ironically this takes vast amounts of time, and this is what God does for us just like He did for Jesus’s twelve disciples. One of the greatest reliefs is that whenever there is a huge worry, a meeting, assignment, or task that is life changing and a bit scary to face, know God is in our life and that there is noting to fear. For if we know God in our heart, we know love, in that love cast out fear and we then have perfect confidence our task will be completed just as Jesus faced down death, only to rise on the third day with God’s perfect confidence and love.
Challenge question: Knowing we are commanded to love one another, to love our enemies, to wash clean their feet, to show mercy and forgiveness, then when we choose not to do so aren’t we really in rebellion? Aren’t we really telling God we know better? Then if this is the case aren’t we all very lucky to have such a forgiving God who has paid such attention as to give us the agape love we need to come to him once we realize our mistake, our sin?
If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life. May God keep you and bless you. Amen.