Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter 2011 Letter to Jesus... #2

(Note: Please see Easter 2011 Letter #1
for introduction to this series of posts.)

The tomb is empty! It IS true! I was here earlier this morning after the women brought me the news of Jesus' resurrection but I wanted to come back for a few moments by myself. You see, I am Peter, a close friend of Jesus. I have mixed emotions as I stand here this morning. I am thrilled that He is alive! This is more wonderful news than anything I could ever imagine, but, I also have a heaviness in my heart. I have not been a faithful friend - but let me explain what I mean in a letter I've written to Jesus. There are so many things I've always wanted to say to Him - perhaps you'll understand more clearly after you hear what I have written.

Dear Jesus, my friend;
Three years ago when my brother Andrew came to me with the news that he had found the Messiah, I followed him immediately to you. You asked us to leave our fishing career and follow you so that you could make us fishers of men. I had no idea at that time what was coming down the pike, but the commercial fishing business was getting pretty boring and following you seemed exciting and adventurous. I always liked excitement and adventure! And have things ever been exciting and adventurous since I decided to follow you?!

Do you remember that day when you were speaking to that house full of people and plaster started dropping on your head? We all looked up in amazement as a man on a pallet was lowered into the room at your feet. You seemed undaunted and proceeded to announce his sins forgiven, his body healed and command him to take up his bed and walk which he did. There was also that day when you sent the 12 of us out onto the Lake to cross to the other side. You stayed behind, I believe, to spend some time alone on the mountain in prayer. You later joined us by walking on the water!! I thought I was seeing a ghost so I asked you to make it possible for me to walk on the water also if it was truly you ... it was and you did! That was awesome - until my faith wavered in the midst of the roaring wind and waves I realized were whipping around me. I started to sink. Fortunately, you reached for me and took me safely into the boat. There were so many other things: demons cast out, blind men made to see, crippled people made to walk and even my mother-in-law was cured of her deathly illness. It was always invigorating for me to be with you for those thrilling moments. I felt so powerful as a part of such miraculous activity.

But I have to admit, there were many things you said which I just didn't understand and which seemed so hard to swallow. For example, you said we were blessed when we were insulted, persecuted, and lied about because of you. You didn't seem to understand that that kind of rejection would be so painful. I wondered how it could actually be a blessing. And you said we were to love our enemies, and not retaliate if we were slapped in the face but to turn the other cheek, and even to change and become like little children or we would never enter the kingdom of heaven. All of these things seemed so wimpy to me. I wanted power, prestige, prominence. I am beginning now, I think, to understand what you have been trying to teach me.

You tried to tell me that you would have to suffer and die, but I kept thinking there would be some other way. We were such a dynamic team. I just couldn't imagine that the time would ever come that you would be killed. I wanted the Roman government overthrown and your kingdom put into place. Last week before the crucifixion, I watched in disbelief as my world crumbled. I had given you some of the best years of my life. I couldn't believe all my energy advancing your kingdom had come to nothing.

And now I come to the really painful part - the part that has brought a heaviness into my heart. You remember how you asked several of us to watch and pray in the garden while you also prayed just last week? We were so tired we just couldn't seem to stay awake. And then you were betrayed by Judas and arrested and taken away. That was the lowest point of my life. My dreams were broken, my hope was gone. I felt deserted by my best friend and I felt there was no use in continuing my allegiance to a dying cause. Several people saw me warming my hands by a fire and called out that I was one of your followers. I bristled at the thought - how could I be so stupid as to follow a powerless leader who didn't even resist arrest? So I denied the accusation. I told them I never knew you. Oh, how sincerely I now regret those words. I allowed my moment of pain to crush my resolve and I failed you, my dearest friend. Can you ever forgive me? Please give me another chance? I lied - I do know you. I do love you. I do desire to serve you. As I watched you die on the cross, my heart broke to see your pain. And I began to think that everything I believed about you was false. But, today I know differently. Today I see the truth. Jesus, you are the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the son of the living God. You were the worthy, perfect sacrifice for my sin, you are now victor over sin and death. Please forgive my faithlessness. I do repent. I give you my allegiance and will always be,
Your loving friend and faithful follower,

I, too, have written a letter to Jesus....

Dear Jesus,
I can identify with the Apostle Peter. I feel so honored that you have chosen me as one of your friends. You have asked me to follow you and I have tried to faithfully live a life of gratitude for that privilege. How I have wanted to be perfect - to make you and others proud of what I accomplished. I have failed. Too often I have tried in my own strength as Peter did, to be more than you required me to be. I have neglected my family at times - I have given "doing for others" higher priority than being with you or them. That's why this Easter morning is so important to me. Because of your perfect sacrifice, I can be forgiven. Your love for me took You to the cross. Thank you for being the worthy sacrificial lamb by whom the Father forgives me and today gives me another chance to start afresh in my friendship with you. I give you my allegiance and with your help, I'll always be your loving friend and faithful follower.

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