Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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”Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said (v.12).
The disciples went fishing because they were hungry and, frankly, there wasn’t much else to do (John 21:3). Their lives had taken a dramatic turn for the third time in about as many weeks.
Jesus’ death had left them in despair, fearful, and filled with guilt. Despair, because their hopes had been ripped away. Fear, because with their leader gone, the disciples figured they would be next. Guilt, because they— especially Peter—had deserted Jesus when He needed them most. And so they huddled in secret, with the door locked. Their meeting was interrupted by women who announced that Jesus was alive, and soon He appeared to them.
The disciples’ fear and despair turned to jubilation. Their Lord was alive! But something had changed. The resurrected Jesus still hung out with them, but He wasn’t always with them. Jesus seemed to be preparing them for some new phase. And there was still Peter’s nagging guilt, which Jesus addressed during the disciples’ fishing trip.
Notice that Jesus couched his confrontation with hospitality. He didn’t call Peter into a boardroom for a reprimand but compassionately came to Peter’s home surf—the Sea of Galilee (vv.1-2). How differently would this conversation have gone in a sterile office or busy street! But here, on shore and with a full stomach, Peter was able to process the painful words of Jesus. “Simon, son of John, do you love me? . . . Then feed my sheep” (v.17).
In our zeal to be a devoted Mary rather than a harried Martha (Luke 10:38), we may neglect the disarming gift of hospitality. Do you need to have a serious chat with someone? Remember that Jesus’ most poignant encounter began with breakfast on the beach.
Read Genesis 18:1 to discover the importance of hospitality in spiritually significant moments.
What can you do to create a welcoming environment for the person you are mentoring or need to confront? Why is it important to be hospitable even as we speak the truth in love to others?
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