IT IS THE LORD
…”The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord.” [Jn 21:7]
John is the first disciple to perceive Jesus on the shore. All we are told is that John says, “…it is the Lord”.
Does John physically see Jesus… is it his better eyesight… was it astute analysis that only Jesus could have filled the nets… does John perceive it was Jesus through the eyes of love?
Life does teach us that Love is attuned to love – Love is sensed; it is perceived; it can be discerned.
At the Last Supper, John lay his head against Jesus’ chest and heard His heartbeat.
Hearing our Lord’s heartbeat cannot help but change us. For John, it was branded on his own heart; it was seared onto his spirit. Love that full and deep, leaves a mark. Love that profound cannot help but transform the core of our being.
The heart of Jesus is pure love. It is what His words, His actions, His very life are about. It is engraved into the fabric of time by the ultimate demonstration of His fidelity to it on the Cross.
In their discouragement and confusion after Jesus’ death, the disciples… went fishing — not to kick-back and relax, but to earn a living. They went back to what they knew – they didn’t know what else to do.
John was with them, but he was already well on the way to absorbing the unquantifiable sense of it. A door had been opened. As our eyes adjust to a change in light, his senses were acclimatizing to the reality of what cannot be seen, yet cannot be denied.
John’s transition began before he placed his head on Jesus’ chest.
It began as John questioned the meaning of it all. It was nourished by seeing Jesus’ words brought to life through His actions and interactions.
It was nurtured by a dawning awareness that Jesus was pointing to something beyond this life, struggling to describe the reality of there being more to life than our physical existence.
John had come a long way from Mark 10:35-37…
“‘Master,’ [James and John] said to Him, ‘We want you to do us a favour.… Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.'”
It took time for John to feel the depth of Jesus’ statement that, “… the last will be first, and the first, last” [Mt 20:16]. It takes time for all of us – it takes a lifetime to grasp what the dawning of the Kingdom of Love is, and what it calls us to.
Through the transition from tangible rewards in a “Kingdom of Power”, to the acceptance of service in the “Kingdom of Love”, John absorbs Jesus’ desired gift. John realizes that the gift of love will not be withheld. John also struggles with what we all struggle with before we can accept and then consent to what it calls us to.
As John began to realize the truth, he came to see Jesus not as a dispenser of tangible rewards, but as “The Inviter” to the ultimate “reward” that love offers – that of not needing a tangible reward.
As John’s eyes adjusted to the Light that Jesus is, his perspective changed; he came to see life in a different Light. That is what allowed him to approach Jesus not only with respect for The Teacher and Master as the other disciples did, but to also see, absorb, and pass-on the affection and tenderness that Jesus lived.
It led John to place his head on Jesus’ chest; it led John to hear The Heartbeat.
The dawning awareness that John worked through, is hope for us.
Peter needed to be told what John perceived. When Peter heard John identify Jesus, he wasted no time in jumping into the water and running to Jesus.
But running in water is hard. It creates a huge disturbance – the harder we try, the greater the commotion. Splashing waves, water everywhere, we get wet. It is a slow process, and it demands a lot of effort to go a short distance.
Peter’s running in the water is a metaphor of transition for all of us – the slow and messy process of transformation. We emerge like Peter, finally, on shore, soaked, exhausted, relieved… and grateful.
Like Peter, we run to our Saviour and embrace Him. Like Peter, we hear the words that have always been offered unspoken – yet we need to hear them, and even more, we need to verbalize our response.
A word is not fully a “word” until it is spoken. A thought will always remain a thought until it is acted upon, even if that action is as simple as saying it out loud. Weightless soundwaves release a heavy burden of reality when they are spoken.
Jesus’ three-fold offer of forgiveness is for Peter, the equivalent of John’s laying his head on Jesus’ chest. Peter heard the heartbeat of love.
The dawning awareness that Peter worked through, is hope for us.
Jesus comes to each of us as we will receive Him. He whispers to each of us the words that can move only us, only when we need to hear them, in ways only we will hear them.
And then…He waits. The decision is always ours.
It is for us as it was for Paul when the scales from his eyes fell away – the beginning of clearer sight, not of what the sun light in the sky illuminates, but what the Son’s Light in our hearts illuminates.
Our spiritual journey is the journey of our lives. As God reveals Godself to us, we struggle to grasp it, to comprehend it, embrace it and finally to make it the reality of our lives.
We struggle to balance power and love, until we realize that love is the only power that matters.
It is only in the struggle that our lessons are learned.
A butterfly must struggle to free itself from its cocoon or its wings will not form. Unable to fly, it soon dies.
We too will only find the final shape of our heart’s wings, through our own struggle for meaning.