Sunday, August 9, 2009

"When you are converted, feed my sheep."

Christ spoke these words to Peter. For a long time I have wondered about their precise and practical meaning. Peter was one of the chosen twelve disciples, but why would Christ single him out and admonish him; perhaps in front of the other eleven men.
From the writings of Peter's two books and his role of leadership in Jerusalem he evidently and obviously was converted. But I have questions: When did Peter's conversion take place and what was the event that brought it about.
I realized that this conversion must have taken place during or shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus.
Peter was distraught when Christ's words were fulfilled and he ended up denying Him three times, and threw in a few fisherman-kind of swear words just to underline his denial and get that young woman out of his face; the one who kept at him about his Galilean manner of speaking and having been seen with Jesus.
When the rooster finally crowed Peter fell apart and saw himself as he was; one who was, so to speak, in the church, had lots of (first-hand) knowledge about Jesus, His life, His teachings, etc. Knowledge, Peter had. Experimental, practical, knowledge and a sanctified love relationship with Jesus, he had not.
So what was it that pushed Peter over the edge from having knowledge, having information about Jesus, to knowing himself and knowing Jesus in the deep sense that typifies conversion?
I think I finally understand it. Peter saw the Son of God on the cross suffering a physical and mental agony for him. Peter realized that the Man he had identified as the Son of God was going through the mocking, scourging, and pain of separation from His Father for him. Peter took it personally and it broke him. Putting it another way, it converted him; it changed him from the inside out.
Ellen White says that it would be well if we were to contemplate the final hours of Christ's life. I now know that to see Jesus on the cross, and to take it personally , will work a daily conversion in our lives (in my life).
Our hard hearts need the softening influence of our Saviour every day. The powerful image of the cross and the suffering Christ changed Peter and I want it to change me.
Blessings. e.c.

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