After a period of Lenten reflection and solemnity, we are now in one of the most joyous seasons of the church year. We focus on our Risen Lord, and in a few weeks will celebrate Pentecost – the moment that the Holy Spirit came in power.
So how does this season relate to our quest for holiness. While Jesus walked this earth He told his disciples to be perfect as the Father is perfect. But they had the living example of perfection in their midst. How do we of the 21st century follow such a command?
The message that Jesus gave to his apostles was always: “Follow Me.” Those were among the first and last words He spoke to Peter.
At the end of the Gospel of John (Ch. 21), Jesus has a conversation with Peter where He asks three times if Peter loves Him. By the end, Peter is almost offended or hurt that Jesus continues to question His love and loyalty. Peter, who not so long ago, denied Christ three times. Peter, who just recently felt the sorrow of his own failure.
John's account of this event is insightful because at the end, Peter assures Jesus that He loves Him. Jesus gives a somewhat ominous warning that this love will take Peter to a place he doesn't want to go (his own death as a martyr). It gets interesting when Peter sees another apostle and essentially asks “What about him?”
I think the response Jesus gives Peter is the response He gives to us all, “Follow Me.” There's a bit more to it, Jesus basically tells Peter that it's not his concern what happens to anyone else. Peter's commission is to follow Jesus. Period.
Our commission, mine and yours, is the same. Follow Jesus.
It doesn't matter to you how He uses me, and it doesn't matter to me how He uses you. I pray, that for my friends, some of that will overlap and we can share in the joy of service to our Lord. But at the end of the day, at the end of my life, at the end of this world, what matters is: did I follow Him. Did I live a life that will cause Him to say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
That question is, or should be, the motivating force behind every action, every decision, every choice. Is it pleasing to my Savior?