The Challenging Job Interview

The Challenging Job Interview- John 21:15-25

Have you ever had an interview for a job? How did you go or did you make a hash of it? Here are some results of an interview that went south.

A woman was being interviewed for a clerical position. On her application, she checked "Yes" to a felony conviction and wrote, "Will explain during interview." She said she got mad at her now-ex-husband and hired someone to kill him. But at the last minute she called it off, and he is still alive. She stated she was now on medication and is "all right." She was a great interview up until that point.

A candidate was asked why she was leaving her current job. She proceeded to rake her boss over the coals for the next 10 minutes. Then she told me his name! The interviewer have been playing golf with this guy at his golf course for the last 12 years. The interviewer only knew him from golf, but he seemed like a very nice guy who treats everyone with respect. When the interviewer told her that he knew him, the blood drained from her face. It is a very small world. She was not hired.

Final example on a good note! We were conducting panel interviews for refinery operators. One young man came in and while he did well on the interview questions, appeared very nervous and kept glancing at his watch. At the end of the interview, we told him he needed to report to the medical department for a drug screen. He seemed somewhat distressed at this news, glanced at his watch yet again and asked if it would take very long.

Kind of annoyed at this point, the interviewer asked him if there was a problem. We were all floored by his response. He said, "No, it's just that my wife is in labour. I dropped her off at the hospital on the way to the interview." When asked why he didn't call and reschedule, he said, "Because I really need this job." He was hired, of course.

When we asked him how his wife felt, he said this was their second child and she told him that she would be fine and it was more important that he go to the interview.

Today’s gospel follows on from last week. After the miraculous catch, Jesus is now sitting down with a number of disciples who had gone fishing: Peter, Nathanuel, Thomas called Didymus, James and johyn and two others who are not named.

They were glad to see Jesus and they were chewing the fat over a breakfast of bread and barbeque fish. Once they had finished, Jesus began the Kingdom job interview for Peter which was not forseen by Peter. Don’t you love those type of interviews when you are not prepared and fly by the seat of your pants.

Jesus asks Peter 3 questions that would determine whether he would get the job of leading the disciples and the early church when Jesus had gone. What 3 questions would you ask Peter? How would you have answered them?

The first question was actually repeated three times. It was a question from left field. It was not about his gifts and abilities. Nor was it about his past experience of healing the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead.

Rather it was about Peter’s relationship with Jesus?  Do you love me more than these do?

Our Lord’s addition of the words, “more than these do,” really got to the heart of the matter. Our Lord’s prediction of Peter’s denials came in the midst of Peter’s confident boasting that even if all the others denied Jesus, he certainly would not. In other words, Peter was claiming a higher level of devotion than the rest. Jesus is simply asking him to re-evaluate his boastful claim. And this Peter did. Peter could truthfully affirm that he did love Jesus, but he would not go so far as to claim that his love was greater than that of his fellow-disciples. He also speaks of his love in terms of the Saviour’s assessment of it: “Yes, Lord, You know I love You.” To this our Lord replied, “Feed My lambs.”

How Peter wished that Jesus would leave it at that. But Jesus will ask the question two more times, so that this conversation is understood in relation to that occasion when Peter denied his Master three times. And so Jesus asks Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter replies with the identical words he spoke in answer to the first question, “Yes, Lord, You know I love You.” Jesus responded, “Shepherd My sheep.”

It was when Jesus asked the same question the third time that Peter was deeply grieved, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” It was not that Jesus changed from agapao to phileo that troubled Peter because Jesus spoke in Aramaic not Greek!

Peter was grieved because Jesus found it necessary to ask virtually the same question three times. I do not like to be asked the same question repeatedly. I conclude that either the person asking the question wasn’t paying attention (this could not be the case with Jesus), or that my answer was not acceptable or credible.

The three-fold repetition must have registered with Peter as being related to his three-fold denial. Peter was grieved because he realized that the bold and even arrogant claims he had made proved to be empty. Peter is not distressed with Jesus; he is grieved over his own sin. Jesus is not attempting to shame Peter; he is seeking to reaffirm his call to service. Did Jesus question Peter about his love for Him three times? Then note that three times Jesus instructed Peter to care for His sheep. Does Peter fear he has been cast aside as useless? Jesus tells him to return to His work, three times!

Peter really did love Jesus. But Peter needed to understand that his love for the Saviour was not as great as he thought, just as his ability to catch fish was not as great as he seemed to think. In loving, and in landing fish, Jesus was supreme. Even in the thing Peter did best (fishing), he could not hold a candle to Jesus, who proved to be far better at fishing than he. Peter sought to prove his love for Jesus by boasting about it, by arguing with his fellow-disciples about it (see Luke 22:24), and by being the first to draw his sword and lop off an ear, or perhaps even by being the first man into the water and onto the shore. These were not the benchmarks our Lord had established for testing one’s love for Him. The proof of one’s love for God is sacrificial service—feeding and caring our Lord’s sheep.

Loving Jesus and being devoted to Jesus by obeying his commandments and offering sacrificial service to Him is the first mark of being a disciple of Jesus.

If you are seeking to know your purpose or mission in life, the first question that is asked of you and me is Do you love Jesus that you are willing to give your life for Him! Do you love Him so much that you are willing to serve Him unconditionally? Do you love Him so much that you would do anything for Him?

Many Christians looking for meaning and purpose in life never get past the first question!

The second question that Jesus asked Peter was Will you glorify me in your death?

I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.

Jesus was alluding to the manner in which Peter would die which would glorify God. The Bible doesn’t tell us how the apostle Peter died. The most commonly accepted church tradition is that Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome. Tradition says that, when Peter was put to death, he requested to be crucified on an inverted cross. The reason for his request was that, because he had denied his Lord, he did not consider himself worthy to die as Jesus had (see Matthew 26:33–35, 69–75). Again, this is only a tradition, and the Bible doesn’t confirm or deny the story.

This is another challenging question. Jesus is saying to Peter, if you want to serve me, you will die and the death you will have will not be pleasant to say the least. You saw what happened to me. This is going to happen to you.

If you knew that you would die like Jesus did, would you put up your hand and say yes or would you say thanks but no thanks!.

According to tradition all but John were killed for their belief in Jesus. Some were stabbed or speared others were crucified. Since that time many Christians, famous or not, have been martyred for their faith.  Last year over 90,000 Christians have been killed for their faith in Jesus and many of those deaths have not been easy ones.

Knowing the death that you will have is not easy. Most of his do not want to think about it nor face it. Most of us would want to change the subject. Few of us have looked death in the eye and have embraced it in a way that gives glory to God.

Many of us, including me, are on the wrong side of life. Most of our years have passed us. This has been brought home to me more and more as I hear of people of my age, some known to me, who have died.

In my more solemn moments, I have pondered about how I might die and what sort of witness would I be in my death. Would I be filled with fear/ Would I accept the final verdict? Would I fight for my life wanting another few more years? In facing my death, what sort of person would I become and what sort of person would I be to live with? Will I bring peace and joy to those around me or will I be a pain in the neck where everyone would hope that I would hurry up and die! They would not say the latter but they would certainly think it!

Would I glorify God in my death? That is the question that Jesus asks you and me to ponder on.

Do you love me? Will you glorify me in your death? Finally

Will you follow me knowing all this about your final chapters of your life on this earth?

Jesus seems to get up from the fire and says to Peter, Follow me ie lets go for a walk. Peter does this but turns and sees John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, come to.

Peter turns and sees Him and asks What about him? Jesus basically says that it is none of your business.

What about him? For many Christians this is the most dangerous question to ask. When we are challenged about our own walk with Jesus and what we do or don’t do, we look to another and say What about him?

What about Joe?  Look at his life. He doesn’t go to church every Sunday and he smokes and drinks. I saw him at the café the other day when I walked past?

What about Mary? Look at her life. She is supposed to be a follower but I see her going into the pub to play the pokies. She spends much of her money on the one armed bandits.

What about Hijm id the most dangerous question because it takes your eyes off your life, wants to compare it to others and thus justify what you do or don’t do as a Christian. If Joe and Mary live like that, why are you asking me to be better than they are.

What about him thwarts your ability to follow Jesus; to achieve your mission in life.

The mission of God’s Kingdom was dependent upon Peter passing the job interview by making the right calls; by giving the right answers. These were not easy interview questions and God’s future work depended upon it.

This is true still today. God’s mission depends upon ordinary people taking up the challenge of Jesus. Do you love me more than these? Will you glorify me in your death? Will you follow me and not ask What about him?

Thankfully Peter passed the interview and was given the job? We would not have been here if he didn’t.

But what about you and me? Would we have answered in the same way as Peter?

The trouble is that if we don’t, there will be no more Christians.

The Summons

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?

Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?

Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,

will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

 

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?

Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?

Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare?

Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

 

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?

Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same?

Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen,

and admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

 

Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?

Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?

Will you use the faith you've found to reshape the world around,

through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

 

Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.

Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.

In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show.

Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

 

 

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