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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 7- Peter Offers to Lay Down His Life

John 13:31-38

10 11 When Judas had left, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. (If God is glorified in him,) God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once.  My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, 'Where I go you cannot come,' so now I say it to you. I give you a new commandment: 12 love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Simon Peter said to him, "Master, where are you going?" Jesus answered (him), "Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later." Peter said to him, "Master, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times."

In this passage, Peter offers his life for Jesus.  Peter is trying to be the model disciple by offering to do what Jesus tells him a true friend would do (Lay down his life for his friends).  But actions speak louder than words.  Although Peter's heart is in the right place, he offers to do this great thing before he really understands exactly what that entails.  And Jesus knows this.  Jesus also knows that Peter will learn from his mistakes and will eventually do what he says he will do which is lay down his life for the Church. 

The part of this passage that really speaks to me is where Jesus says that as his disciples, we should love one another as HE loves us.  Now that is a tall order.  Jesus died for us.  He gave us his very life.  Although, I am fairly sure I would sacrifice my own life to save the lives of my family members and close friends, I am not sure what I would do if I were asked to sacrifice my life to save someone whom I don't know. But I guess people do that everyday- soldiers, police officers, fire fighters, etc...  I guess people like these really know the true meaning of love.  And we are very blessed to have them in our lives.

So, what can I learn from Peter's mistakes?  I should probably seek first to understand rather than to be understood.  I should mean what I say and say what I mean.  I should always remember that I have a lot of learning left to do.  I should always be open to gaining knowledge and understanding.  And I should always pray for courage.

But, I can't end here and not point out the one thing that I really admire about Peter.  I admire his passion.  Although Peter made many mistakes along the way, he did so with a passionate heart.  I want that fire.

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