Tag Archives: Tabgha

Resurrection, Redemption and Restoration

In today’s post, I’ll continue exploring the impact Tabgha had on me during our recent visit to Israel. My last post ended with these words:

The significance of Tabgha is much more profound than the Risen Lord preparing a ‘meal of love’ to encourage his disillusioned friends. Jesus is about to use a ‘meal of love’ as the prelude to delivering a profound pivotal spiritual lesson to the most discouraged of his disciples, Peter.

     Peter is the disciple with whom I relate most.

     Peter was impulsive.

     Peter was verbal and sometimes failed to recognize it’s better to remain silent than speak before thinking. Like me, Peter tended to lead with his mouth. I can only imagine, more than once, Peter berated himself with words similar to those I’ve uttered silently, “Good, grief, why in the world did you say THAT?!”

     Peter’s intentions were great, and he had a good heart. But, there were times when the rubber of this impetuous man’s faith met the road of reality, and the truth revealed his well-intentioned values were more aspirational than actual.

     In spite of Peter’s failures, he loved Jesus with fierce passion. Jesus also loved Peter, and never failed to lose sight of his friend’s potential and God-designed purpose.

     The connection between Jesus, Peter and Tabgha began long before the ‘last-breakfast’ encounter. Soon after Jesus began his earthly ministry, he invited a unique band of twelve men to be his primary disciples. It was at Tabgha, a premier fishing site, where Jesus called the first of these disciples: Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John.

     For three years Peter walked mile upon mile with Jesus. This Jewish fisherman boy’s faith tradition was stretched to the max by his rabbi’s teaching. He observed miraculous healings. He was privy to Jesus’ challenge of the religious leaders. Along the way, Peter became convinced Jesus was the Messiah about whom he’d heard since childhood. Ultimately, he pledged his undying allegiance to Jesus, and then…

     Peter betrayed Jesus. When the words the Teacher had told his disciples about his impending death became a reality,

     Peter denied knowing the most significant person in his life.

     Peter yielded to the terror.

     Peter hid.

     Oh, the shame Peter must have felt that morning while fishing off the shores of Tabgha!

     Shame is a terrible, tyrannical taskmaster. On the shores of Tabgha in the early dawn, Peter was about to learn the truth of words Christine Caine says in the preface to her book, Unashamed, “Shame hides in plain sight and can hold us back in ways we do not realize. But…God is…more powerful than anything you’ve done…”

     After Peter and the other disciples ate the breakfast Jesus prepared for them, Peter experienced

     the restoration that comes because of Jesus’ resurrection.

     the freedom that comes because of Jesus’ redemption.

     the rehabilitation that comes because of Jesus’ restoration.

     The man who’d walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus and learned from Jesus was about to become the leader of the soon-to-be-formed movement, which would be called Christianity,

     a movement that would change the world.

     a movement that would demand a high price.

     a movement that has remained real and relevant for over 2000 years.

     On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, I walked in contemplation on the beach of Tabgha. I considered my own shame and the times when I have so miserably missed the mark. But, as I walked, I remembered.

     The resurrection of Jesus assures me the price was paid for my failures—or the failures of others—that have caused me shame.

     When I’m willing to acknowledge my mistakes and missteps and then ask for and accept Divine forgiveness, the redemption of Jesus assures my freedom.

     Because God is always for me, doesn’t hold a grudge against me nor keep record of my forgiven wrongs, the same restoration Jesus gave Peter is mine. I can journey through life with security and significance.

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This beautiful bird seemed to mirror my contemplative mood on Tabgha.

     Peter never forgot the powerful lessons he learned on the beach of Tabgha, and I too shall never forget!

     I hope sincerely the truths I was reminded of will speak in some way to you. It would be nice if we could meet today and visit on some nice warm beach. (I’m becoming tired quickly of our freezing winter weather in Coeur d’Alene.) Since that’s not likely,

I pray each of us will feel the warmth of God’s love today….

Sue Reeve

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This Catholic church is located on the beach of Tabgha.

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This big tray of “Peter” fish, a type of tilapia found in the Sea of Galilee, was our lunchtime fare at a restaurant located near the Sea. I prefer a nicely boned filet of salmon, but won’t forget this culturally-relevant meal.

 

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A ‘Meal of Love’

     One of my favorite ministries falling under the umbrella of the Care Connect Ministries program I direct at Lake City Church is ‘Meals of Love.’ A team of volunteers—mostly women, but a couple of men as well—headed up by Jeannie, an efficient and passionate coordinator, prepare meals for individuals or families who need a helping hand during times of need.

     I often show love by preparing meals. One of my daughter roles to my elderly, widowed mom is preparing and keeping her freezer stocked with single-serve meals. I never get tired of or feel burdened by the task. There’s something very gratifying to me about this practical act of service.

     Perhaps, that’s why one of my very favorite Jesus stories is one found in Chapter 21 of the Gospel of John. This is an amazing chapter containing many layers of truth. It commences with Jesus cooking breakfast for his friends, but it’s about a whole lot more than cooking up a mess of fish for friends.

     Jesus’ disciples—discouraged, disappointed, deflated—following their rabbi’s cruel death on the cross had returned to what they understood—fishing. Even though they knew Jesus had risen from the grave and had conquered death, the full impact of what happened and how they now fit into this crazy puzzle was quite confusing.

     The scene never ceases to fill me with wonder.

     Bewildered fishermen had not only returned to what they thought they understood, it seemed they failed at even that when they weren’t able to catch a single fish.

     How often I’ve been in a similar situation. I thought I’d done what I was supposed to do. I felt certain I’d been faithful to the task God had called me. I was sure I’d climbed the final mountain and life was about to be ‘easier,’ only to find another mountain loomed menacingly. At that moment, the task feels too much to handle.

     But, such times have never been the end of my story. And, empty fishing nets weren’t the end of the disciples’ stories either, because…

     On the shore, is the resurrected Christ who would soon ascend into Heaven. The assignment of his incarnation—God becoming man and dwelling for a season with humankind—was almost over.

     A couple months ago, I had the privilege of walking on this very beach. The journal we were provided by our tour guides[1] says this of Tabgha, “Simply…this beach is different! This beach is a must see, but it is not enough just to see this beach; one must experience this beach!”

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Tabgah – a holy place – a beach one much experience.

     The account that unfolds on Tabgha reveals this story is about much more than an episode of a Gospel version of a cooking show. The significance of Tabgha is much more profound than the Risen Lord preparing a ‘meal of love’ to encourage his disillusioned friends. Jesus is about to use a ‘meal of love’ as the prelude to delivering a profound pivotal spiritual lesson to the most discouraged of his disciples, Peter.

     I hope you’ll join me next time when I unpack further some of my insights into this story. In the meantime, perhaps you’ll want to consider preparing a ‘meal of love’ for someone. You may never know the eternal implications of such a simple act.

     I’m praying you’ll be surprised by a God-blessing today…

Sue Reeve

Sue Reeve

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  1. Note: For more information about your own trip to Israel, we recommend highly Dan and Sharon Stolbarger, our group leaders. If this is a trip you’d love to make, check them out at http://holygroundexplorations.com/

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