A Simple Love Story — 不朽的傳說
Taking a little Sunday afternoon nap, and angels gently recount yet another love story in my dream. This time it was the timeless classic of the turning point of a simple fisherman approximately two-thousand years ago.
They’ve only given me the summary and the crucial point that changed the character–his name is the familiar Simon Peter.
After three and a half years of discipleship, many would be tempted to taunt Jesus’ style of relationship with His followers. Or they could doubt the power of prayer. The very one who betrayed Jesus come right from the chosen Twelve, of which Jesus spent all night praying before He appointed them (Luke 6:12-16). Now it’s Simon who fell. He was not only among the Twelve, but he was in the inner circle of the three closest to Jesus (the other two being John and James). Not only was he one of the trio, he was actually the leader of the Twelve (Acts 1:15; 2:14)! He boldly claimed to go with Jesus until the end, but then denied Jesus thrice, to the point of cursing himself, and the last time right at Jesus’ face (Luke 22:60-61). It was the time when Jesus needed support the most.
After Jesus was crucified before the resurrection, it looked like a complete failure, both Him and Peter, and those whom He loved and brought up–their leader being a coward of cowards.
But the angels shown through a series of very heart-warming scenes of how Peter became the unquestionable leader in the Early Church, used amazingly by God as recorded in the Book of Acts and many other unrecorded accounts unknown to man. It was like seeing the flashback scenes of a J-drama close to the end of the story.
What made the difference and why is it that Peter fell so drastically but rose up even more dramatic? (When one really think about it, it’s as dramatic, if not more, as those storylines in the romance dramas).
It was because Jesus already knew of Peter’s coming fall and He prayed for Peter dearly (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus was never taken by surprise. Those who know their future are never taken by surprise.
Peter remembered this is what Jesus told him after his fiasco:
"And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So he went out and wept bitterly." (Matt 26:75).
It was all very simple. Would you have loved someone so unreservedly and completely if you knew he/she was going to be unfaithful to you and ditch you to the point of even denying to have known you at the point where you needed him/her the most?
Jesus knew it all the way, yet His love for Peter never changed one bit. And He also knew Peter’s love for him was still there (John 21).
What truly changed people has always been very simple. So simple and pure that it is out of this world.
When Peter was imprisoned for preaching Jesus in Acts 12, this time he finally kept his word, followed Jesus until to prison and to death (Luke 22:33).
I wonder what went through his head the last night before his highly-possible execution (for James had just been executed earlier – Acts 12:2)?
Perhaps God has shown him that his time is not yet. But what if it were the last night of his days on earth? At least we know that when an angel rescued him from prison, he was taken by surprise, implying he wasn’t fully aware of what was going to happen in detail.
I guess, he would think that it would be a life lived: ok.
More than "ok"..
"Ok" may be a word that carries too much emotion.
Much, much, much, more.
Maybe that’s why he didn’t need to know all the detail of his possible death, because it doesn’t matter anymore. He was a coward who once denied Jesus three times and now he is being martyred as the leader of the early Christian Church.
He was supernaturally rescued that time, but we know from history what happened to him at the end:
"Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, "Lord, whither dost Thou go?" To whom He answered and said, ‘I am come again to be crucified.’ By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was." (Fox’s Book of Martyrs chapter 1) — which was prophesied by Jesus in John 21:19.
Nobody will think he is a coward anymore. He was a hero of love, the champion that His Master has always loved and believed him to be. Peter was the failure-turned-champion by a simple love.
I woke up. An ordinary Sunday afternoon nap, where the natural world still looks the same. I heard the angels whispering love into my heart and mind. Two-thousand years have passed, Peter still speaks, for love transcends time and space, and will always speaks. There is no reincarnation, but people who love will last forever(1 Cor 13:8).
"And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’" (Luke 22:31-32)
"He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’" (John 21:17)Much, much, much, more...
"Ok." Peter said that with a most natural and satisfying smile on his face, and he needed not to open his eyes to see, or think what may happen tomorrow when he wakes up.
It was the most beautiful and moving "ok" the angels have heard, echoing in the corridors of eternity without an end.
林宥嘉 & 劉力揚 －傳說
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