And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. KJV We downplay how Saul’s attitude before his conversion. He really wanted to murder all of the followers of the demigod, Jesus. Saul was the ISIS of his day.
His conversion was not from Judaism to Christianity, but from hater to lover.
Anger is not what we are called to do.
This commentary on the words of John in today’s Gospel reading give us insight into our mission. Why, having passed by the others, does he speak with Peter on these matters? He does so because he was the chosen one of the apostles, the mouthpiece of the disciples and the leader of the band. This is why Paul went up, at one time, to inquire of him rather than of the others. And at the same time he does this to show him that he must now be joyful since the denial was put behind him. And so, Jesus entrusts to him primacy over his brothers. He does not bring up the denial, nor does he reproach him for what had taken place. Rather, he says, If you love me, preside over your brothers, and now show them the warmth of love that you have always shown and in which you rejoiced. And the life that you said you would lay down for me, now give for my sheep. ACCS Chrysostom about 390 AD.
Notice that Jesus gave Simon Peter three chances to profess his love. It was not so he could earn his position; not so he could make up for his three denials; not so he could impress the other disciples. Yes, Jesus did it in small part to give Peter renewed confidence after his disgraceful performance after the rest, but more to stress the importance of the role of love in his future leadership.
We Americans are in love with power. We want to elect Presidents who will do what it takes to get the job done and keep the US number One. We love our military’s ability to attack any enemy and succeed against them.
Yet, that is not the way of the Lamb.
We who choose the Way must give up the blood lust, just as Saul had to do. We must tamp down our desire to be first and be willing to be last.
When we look ahead to the end of Revelation, we see that even in that final battle with the Evil One, the Worthy Lamb defeats him by speaking the Word of God.
We must live by that Word and no other.
Be righteous and do good.