Time Will Tell …

“This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.” (John 21:14)

The scene of these recorded conversations unfolds on the familiar shore of the Sea of Galilee. The timeline teaches us that after the events of Calvary to His death, burial, and resurrection … His Apostles were still confused, bewildered, and just did not know what to do next. So, they returned to a place of familiarity … being fishermen.

Make no mistake about it … these men had not lost one ounce of their love … and to reassure those He loved so dearly … He came to them!

As we picture this serious and beautiful moment when Jesus calls Peter aside and begins to talk with him, Peter finds himself in both a touching and self-examining, sobering conversation.

Where they were to go … what they were to do … was going to be revealed to them and only ‘time would tell’ what that would entail and mean for each of them.

Defined: “Time Will Tell” is an idiom that means the truth or correctness of something will be clear sometime in the future, not now, whether it is good, bad, successful, a mistake, etc.

Many of us grew up hearing these words from adults when we came up with a plan of some sort … sometimes spoken in a reassuring way, other times in an ‘I’m not so sure about that’ tone of voice.

In John 21:15-17 Scripture reveals that Jesus grieved Peter by questioning the extent of his love. Three times Jesus asked Peter “do you love Me?”  Three times Peter replied. And three times Jesus responded to Peter’s reply … “Feed My lambs”“Feed My sheep”“Feed My sheep.”

That makes an impression on this heart!

There is no doubt when Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, it is a rhetorical question. Jesus knows full well that Peter loves Him (as Peter also knows), but He asks for the benefit of Peter. There is also a unique meaning in each time Jesus asks if Peter “loves” Him.

All across this country and perhaps in other countries around the world shepherds have sent their sheep out to find other pastures during a time which for many years, if not all their lives, had been reserved for Sunday evening worship and hearing a prepared message from God’s Word. Whether that will serve to strengthen or weaken the body of Christ time will tell!

For me personally, it has been heartbreaking. For many years I saw the fruits produced by that time being spent beginning and ending the day the Lord set aside for Himself in worship to Him.

Some who know me might even be heard to say, ‘Well you weren’t there most of the time.’ It is true that illness stopped my full-time preaching and my physical wellbeing has suffered greatly for a very long time. Many mornings or evenings and often both, I have been too ill to leave my house. I am not alone in infirmity. How very thankful each of us are when the opportunity to worship can be taken advantage of.

Jesting about a situation any Christian may find themselves in is nothing new. Years ago, a joke went around about souls awaiting their final judgment rejoicing to learn that ‘Wednesday nights don’t count.’  But they still reflect the value of spending time together as God’s people in study, meditation, and reflection on the things of God!

Our Savior while awaiting His crucifixion endured, among other times, Pilate’s derision of “What is truth?” when He stated that “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37-38)

It is my prayer that shepherds will closely examine each individual sheep in their care and come to learn what pastures have replaced the evening worship service … how and what are the sheep being fed … are all of the young lambs maturing or is their spiritual growth being stunted by the replacement of the ‘good pasture’ for one of the many the world offers that are full of weeds, pleasures, entertainment, and a life that has little room for the Lord!

 Time Will Tell

 Bill Fairchild, Jr.

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