“A dead man walking
Till love came calling
Rise up (rise up)
Rise up (rise up)
Six feet under
I thought it was over
An answer to prayer
The voice of a Savior
Rise up (rise up)
Rise up (rise up)
All at once I came alive
This beating heart, these open eyes
The grave let go
The darkness should have known
You’re still rolling stones”
–Rolling Stones by Lauren Daigle
I don’t know what you think, but whenever I hear this song, I picture Jesus rolling the stone away for Lazarus. Imagine Lazarus’ cold, dead body in the tomb, then “all at once” his heart starts to beat, his eyes open, and he walks out of the grave. A man that was dead is now alive!
Are there parts of your heart, like Lazarus, entombed, cold, or dead?
The good news is that Jesus can roll the stone away from that part of your heart and bring a new woman to life within you!
If you open the front door of your house, you will discover a world of people wandering in the field hospital of life. To think that you are alone with a heart in need of some love is just what the enemy would like you to believe. We were made for community. We were made to bear each other’s burdens. Jesus does heal, especially in environments where the people support you and love you right where you are without any judgment. People who give you a soft place to land. We need that non-judgmental space so that we can say, “Hey, guess what? I’m a hot mess.” My BFF asked me to make sure when she’s canonized that she’s known for being the patron saint of Hot Messes.
When you receive healing, then you love others in their suffering.
Receiving healing is like being cured along the way. Sure, Christ can heal someone instantaneously, no problem. But my experience is that we are in the process of being healed. Being in healing ministry for years now, I witness the healing process of Jesus. God is very orderly! It amazes me that even though God can have such a personal, unique relationship with each you, He still goes through a process.
Rock bottom moments, maybe you’ve had one.
Peter, the “Rock” himself, had an epic rock-bottom moment the night Jesus left the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter’s transformation (conversion, healing) from that night to the shore of Galilee when the risen Lord appears to him is fascinating and enlightening.
I thought that maybe we could look at Peter and how he moved and worked and transformed here because it’s fascinating and enlightening.
Do you remember that after Peter denied our Lord three times, the cock crowed? “And he (Peter) went out and wept bitterly.” ( Mattew 26:75) He wept bitterly. Have you had a rock-bottom moment quite like that? Peter didn’t know that in the lowest moment of his life, he was being loved by Jesus.
Peter’s abyss of sorrow is when Jesus loves him the most.
In our humanness, we think that Peter was most loved by Jesus when he proclaims,
“Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” 37 Peter *said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” 38 Jesus *answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times. ” (John 13:36)
Peter, so confident in himself, wants to follow Jesus. Jesus said to Peter, “you can’t follow me now.” But you will follow me later. I imagine this was very confusing to Peter because he was well along the path of being an apostle and our Lord’s like, no, you can’t follow me now why is that? Have you ever asked yourself, why could that be?
Think about Peter for a minute. He walked away from his fishing nets three years prior, and he followed Jesus. Peter left “everything” behind to follow the Lord. Peter was a man of surrender, and you are a woman of surrender.
The First Disciples
“Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” (Luke 5: 1-10)
Faith- Peter even walked on water with Jesus!
28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Peter asks Jesus to call his name! In the spiritual sense, Jesus had been calling Peter all along. Peter gets out of the boat, and he walks on water. Peter walked on the water! But, Jesus told Peter, “you can’t follow me yet.” Why?
Peter had a profound spiritual insight, too. He was the one that said to Jesus, “You are [a]the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus complimented Peter, telling him that there’s no way you could’ve come up with that yourself. My Father is talking to you!
Peter was growing into being quite the apostle. If he were living in your city today, you would point to him and say, “Now that guy, he’s amazing. He left everything to follow our Lord with perfect obedience. He’s solid.” You could confidently say that about him by watching his behavior. You would be confused if Jesus then said, “No, he can’t follow me to where I’m going.” Why?
Because He needed to weep bitterly, he had to get to the end of himself. His self-reliance, wisdom, pride welled up to the point that he dared to say, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” (Matthew 16:22)
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Matthew 16:23)
Peter is illustrating the idea of an old self and a new “kingdom” self that is the true you. The old self relies on unredeemed qualities. Jesus said, “Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins.” (Matthew 9:17) Peter still had this old self that had yet to be converted. The stone had yet to be rolled away. The more healed you are, the more you possess of yourself. The more of you, you have to give. You can’t give what you don’t have. The Lord desires to give you to yourself. And then follow him more fully.
It’s our concupiscent nature that our Lord wants to heal in us.
So with all the self-confidence in the world, what does Peter say? “Oh, even though everyone’s going to go away, I’m not, and if I have to go to death and if I have to be in prison or whatever, I’m going to be with you until the end! I’m going to stick with you. I’m going to be with you!” I do believe he meant what he was saying. It’s just he didn’t know who he was. He had yet to enter into the humility and the truth about who he really was. He hadn’t had yet to hit rock bottom of himself. Hitting the rock-bottom of yourself will happen more than once in your lifetime. It’s here that you learn that you can’t do it on your own. Christ says to Peter, actually two different times, “deny yourself.”
Sisters, it’s one or the other. You either deny yourself, or you’re denying Christ.
Peter almost brings me to tears when I think about the moment that Peter denied his best friend. “The Lord turned and looked at Peter.” (Luke 22:61) I mean, you just want to burst into tears because Peter’s heart must have been shattered. You can’t even imagine Peter, who’s given everything humanly to Jesus. He really thought he could stick in there. That one look of Jesus toward Peter. How do you think that look felt? What was Jesus trying to convey to Peter in his facial expressions? We know that the look evoked true humility because he went and wept bitterly. At that moment, he knew who he was, and he had hit the bottom of himself. The most profound look of love evoked an acceptance of Peter’s old self and invitation for the new.
The terrible sin that Peter committed, that failure, the depth which he had fallen, suddenly opened up before him. Peter went out and wept bitterly. Who can know what that moment of repentance would have been like during those long, dark hours, as he watched from afar to witness Christ’s crucifixion and burial? The hopelessness, despair, and shame could have eaten him alive. You can just hear him say, “My Lord’s gone. My hope has gone. I’ve denied him after all the love that he poured out on me…after everything I’ve seen.”
Right Where You Are
When the apostles began to go back to their old lives, where did Jesus show up? Right where they were, didn’t he? They’re out there fishing, back to their old lives, old selves. Jesus shows up on the shore, right smack dab in their former life!
Do you know why?
Because Our Lord finishes what he starts.
Our Lord isn’t half baked. He doesn’t go around doing things halfway. Jesus is going to finish what he started in Peter. He will finish what he started in your soul, too!
But in the case of Peter, it was a long period that our Lord was working and working and working in Peter’s heart to the point where he hit rock bottom. Peter made an experience of God that was undeniable, and he learned who he was- for real. Jesus greeted him in his “almost” new self. One of my most favorite parts of scripture ever happens at this moment. The guys are out fishing, out in their old lives, struggling with their former selves. They’re emotionally exhausted. The mundane act of fishing allowed them to ruminate over the past three years. “I should have done this…I could have said that…”. They likely didn’t speak a word to each other. They were still probably in so much pain.
Then, they see a man who calls out to them from the shore of the Sea of Galilee, using the word “children”. “So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” ( John 21:5)
Children. That’s the truth, right? That’s the truth! We are his children. Our most real self is as His child! Jesus can see through the old person and speak to the redeemed child of God. And here’s my favorite part. John was the first to recognize it was Jesus saying, “It’s the Lord!” (John 21:7) All the disciples were super excited, probably cheering from the inside the boat. But Peter doesn’t just jump in the water immediately. He takes his time to tuck in his clothes. The hesitation is significant. Maybe Peter’s heart is in his stomach. The shame that enveloped him caused him to pause, to think about what he’s going to say to his best friend. He’s stalling.
Who else do you know that puts on a garment when they’re full of shame? Adam and Eve, right? Peter fiddling with his garment, gives you insight into how much shame he was feeling.
With tremendous courage, Peter jumps into the water and wades to Jesus. When he emerges out of the water, he’s a new man. He was like going through the waters of Baptism, the water of forgiveness that washed the sin away, and he’s ready to meet Our Lord.
Do You Love Me
After breakfast, Jesus turns to Peter and asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15) It’s almost as if Jesus is saying, “Do you love me more than THIS?” as he gestures toward the fishing boat. “Do you love me more than your old life? Your old self?”
A question comes right when he is on the brink of despair. “Do you love me more than more than the pain you’re experiencing.” Do you love me more?
Do you remember Peter’s response?
“Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” (John 21:17)
Peter is acknowledging that Jesus knows about his denial and the weeping, Jesus knows how his heart feels, everything that Peter’s been feeling the entire time. “Lord, you know all things.” You know how I feel right now, and what’s our Lord say to him? Or he says, of course, you know how I love now, from my new self!
What does Jesus say to Peter? The very last part.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” (John 21: 18)
Now Peter is ready! “Now, you are ready to follow me.”
Is that fascinating? Now you can follow me. We were privileged to witness the most incredible conversion of any man. From that moment of “follow me” to Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came and filled him to the brink with the Holy Spirit, Peter was utterly transformed.
To close, what a solemn truth for us all. We do pray to become women of God and Kingdom builders with the knowledge that we still have places in our hearts that need healing and restoration.
We have to be careful that the enemy doesn’t trick us into saying, “I’m doing this Christian thing great! Just look at everyone else- I’m better off than them.” Peter may have thought the same thing before the Garden of Gethsemane. But God has much more in store for us- more grace, more blessing, more love to pour out!
The best part about the healing process is that our Lord does it. Our Lord does it. All he needs is our humility, our yes, and our honesty. He’ll exchange your heart for His. Just say yes to Him and surrounding yourself with people who can support you and love you.