When you read this verse, how do you picture Jesus’ face? How do you imagine the tone of His voice? This week, Holy Spirit changed my take on these two questions. I believe He showed me the truth about them.
I used to read the story of Peter’s tentative, short-lived walk on the water differently. When I got to this line, I always thought Jesus sounded a little disappointed. (Don’t we often think Jesus is a little disappointed with us?)
However, this time, Holy Spirit let me perceive the real story. Jesus wasn’t disappointed. (How could someone who prophetically anticipates everything be disappointed?) Instead, His tone was full of warmth and reassurance.
His voice, His face, His body language, and His searching question were all earnestly communicating, “I’ve got you, Peter. I’m right here. How I love you! Do you see that I caught you the very instant you needed Me? Do you see that I didn’t let the storm take you? Feel the gentle strength in My touch. Feel the passion of My commitment to you as I hold your hand. You don’t need to doubt, beloved friend. Can you see it in My eyes? Can you see how much I cherish you? You really can trust Me. I will always be right here, Peter. I will always catch you. I will always empower you. I will always be what you need.”
Jesus can be both honest and exceedingly loving with us, at the same time. He speaks truth to us (that our faith still needs to grow), but that frank truth is drenched in grace. John the Beloved tells us that Jesus came to us “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). With our Savior, grace and truth are inextricably interwoven. His truth is powerful to set us free, exactly because it is saturated in His grace. Grace holds within it His perfect love for us, mixed with the provision of His power for our liberation.
Jesus revealed His heart to us this way: “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Close your eyes and listen to Him tell you those words, His voice full of love. “I am gentle, child.” “Dear one, I am humble towards you.” Whenever you read His words in the Bible, let them come through the filter of this heart knowledge. This knowledge of who He is.
Jesus is always gentle and humble. He is not disappointed in you – at all. If you need catching, He will catch you. If you need strengthening, He will strengthen you. He’s got you. He’s passionately, eternally committed to you. And He will always be what you need.
What happens when we speak truth without grace? Grace without truth?