Before you go any further with this post, you will need to watch this talk. It's about 20 minutes long, but totally worth every single second.
Then...Why are You Here?
I love how Elder Holland made this experience between Peter and the Lord come alive for me. I have read this experience in the book of John multiple times, but it has never hit me with such force until I heard Elder Holland give this talk. I put myself in Peter's shoes. What would I have done if I were Peter? Let's just recap the last few days of his life...
He was there as the Savior was betrayed into the hands of evil men who wanted to kill Him. Peter watched as these men bound the Savior and took Him away (Luke 22:47-53).
It had been a rough and exhausting few days, for the Savior (obviously), and for those who loved Him. As the Senior Apostle, Peter was the one the others looked to. Elder Holland offers a portrayal of the exchange between Peter and the other Apostles:
"Peter said to his associates: 'Brethren, it has been a glorious three years. None of us could have imagined such a few short months ago the miracles we have seen and the divinity we have enjoyed. We have talked with, prayed with, and labored with the very Son of God Himself. We have walked with Him and wept with Him, and on the night of that horrible ending, no one wept more bitterly than I. But that is over. He has finished His work, and He has risen from the tomb. He has worked out His salvation and ours. So you ask, 'What do we do now?' I don't know more to tell you than to return to your former life, rejoicing. I intend to 'go a fishing' (John 21:1-3).
I cannot blame Peter for making the choice to go back to what he was familiar with. He was only a human being after all. Even though he had experienced many great miracles and blessings with the Savior, he didn't yet understand or comprehend his responsibilities as an Apostle of the Lord, nor did he understand the magnitude of the Savior's divine mission and his own role in that mission. And so, the Savior needed to come and instruct him more time.
The Savior asks Peter three times...Peter, "lovest thou me more than these?" (John 21:15-17). Peter is almost beside himself by the third time. He's thinking, "Lord, what can I do more to tell you that I love you more than these fish?" I turn back to Elder Holland's portrayal of the exchange between Peter and the Lord.
Elder Holland continues:
"So, Peter, for the second and presumably last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me."
What Will You Take Away?
I hope that as you listened to the words of Elder Holland who, like Peter, is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, you were able to feel the love of the Savior. I hope you were able to feel in your heart and mind the things that you need to change in your own life in order to be a forever disciple. As Elder Holland testified, the Lord needs disciples who will "feed His sheep and save His lambs" and He needs them forever.
What will you do to show the Savior that you are His disciple forever? What will you give up to focus on feeding the Lord's sheep?
I am loving my second chance at life.
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