Our trip to Israel was so amazing that I am still processing all we saw, learned and did. A place called Tagbah is still the most meaningful for me.
Tagbah sits on the north-western shore of the Sea of Galilee at the foot of the Mount of the Beatitudes. This was a favorite fishing spot for the men from nearby Capernaum. There are several warm springs that enter the Lake here that attract numerous fish especially in winter.
There were two churches built at Tagbah; one that comemmorates Jesus feeding the 5000 – The Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. This is built over a 4th century church where Byzantine tile work can still been on the floor under the altar. The second church – The Church of Peter’s Primacy – is where Jesus made His third post-resurection appearance to the disciples. Jesus had been crucified. All of the disciples hopes and dreams seemed gone so the men went back to what they knew best – fishing.
3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was.5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied.6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore…….8 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. ….15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? ” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. John 21:1-17 (NLT)
This church sits by the shore and the rock incorporated into its floor is believed to be the place Jesus served breakfast. A communion table is set in a small garden nearby. We stood on the shore listening to these scriptures and we were challenged to think of Peter’s restoration and what God may be saying to our own hearts. Three times Peter denied Jesus and three times he was asked, “Do you love ME?” – with the command to “feed MY sheep”.
Peter, the first called, the one to always speak up, the one to jump ahead, one of the three closest friends of Jesus, had really blown it. In fear he had denied our Lord not once but three times. Jesus lovingly confronts and forgives him then restores and renews Peter’s mission. Friend, it does not matter where you come from or what you have done in the past. Jesus will confront us with our failures or selfishness so we can repent. There is nothing too big or bad that He cannot forgive. He loves you and has an incredible plan for your life. Search your heart and see if there is anything in the way of your relationship with Christ. He’s still asking “do you love ME”? then come follow Me……