Dr. Wayne Leaver told about visiting a carpet weaving house in Japuir, India. As he watched the weavers, he asked what happened if mistakes were made in the weaving process. The answer he received was that a good weaver would incorporate mistakes in the weaving process into the pattern of the carpet making the carpet unique and valuable.
Today’s scripture lesson from John 21:1-19 is the story of how the resurrected Jesus made Peter’s life unique and valuable by weaving the mistakes Peter’s life into a pattern of forgiveness and hope. The context for today’s lesson about the risen Christ greeting Peter is set in the story of Peter’s denials of Jesus in John 18:15-18:
Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.
It is by a charcoal fire in the courtyard of the high priest that Peter will twice more deny he is a disciple of Jesus. I find it interesting that a charcoal fire also provides the setting for the story of Peter’s forgiveness as Jesus weaves the mistakes of Peter’s life in John 18 into unique and valuable possibilities for Peter’s future. It is by the charcoal fire, found in John 21:9, that Jesus entrusts Peter, who had denied Jesus, with the responsibility of leading the other disciples. It was by the charcoal fire of the courtyard of the high priest that Peter denied Jesus. It is by the charcoal fire on the beach that Jesus asks Peter if Peter loves him. It is by the charcoal fire on the beach that Jesus entrusts Peter with the responsibility of feeding his lambs, tending his sheep, and feeding his sheep.
Weaving the story of Peter’s denial of Jesus with the story of Peter’s acceptance by Jesus, Peter’s life is defined by resurrected possibilities rather than denial. Weaving Peter’s life through resurrected possibilities, in John 21:19, Jesus issues a new call for Peter to follow him as the risen Lord.
In his book, Wishful Thinking, Frederick Buechner defines what it meant for Peter to live in resurrected possibilities as he confessed faith in the One whom he had denied. He reports that living in resurrected possibilities is not so much something you do as something that happens. “True repentance spends less time looking at the past and saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ than to the future and saying ‘wow.’”
Wishful Thinking, New York: Harper and Row, 1973, p. 79
Jesus shared forgiveness with Peter in the present by weaving resurrected possibilities for Peter for the future. What Jesus did for Peter, Jesus does for us. Our risen Savior is inviting us to a future where all we can say is “wow” as Jesus weaves resurrected possibilities into our lives.
Jesus was weaving Peter’s denial of Jesus in John 18 with Jesus’ call of Peter in John 21 into resurrected possibilities for Peter’s life. Weaving Peter’s past with Peter’s future, Jesus resurrected Peter from denying he was a disciple of Jesus into Peter being the leader of the disciples of Jesus. It was a “wow” moment for Peter, a call to live in resurrected possibilities.
How are you answering Jesus’ call to live in resurrected possibilities for your life?
by Pastor Marc Brown
May 1, 2022
Accompanying Scriptures: John 21:1-19
Fort Hill United Methodist Church
Order of Worship for May 1, 2021
Scripture Lesson John 21:1-19
The Good News “Resurrected Possibilities”
Music “Father I Adore You”
Closing Music “Crown Him with Many Crowns” by Larry Shackley