Loving our neighbors implies serving people very different from us, or even offensive to us. How is that possible?
The key is to focus on Christ.
We could see the apostle Peter’s focus shifting from himself to Christ via two fish-catching incidents. In both cases, Christ told him where to fish, leading to lots of fish.
The first time was when Peter first met Christ. Peter’s response to the spectacular experience was: “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:1-10). Peter’s focus was himself.
The second time was after Christ’s resurrection. As soon as Peter knew the person teaching them how to fish was Christ, Peter at once jumped into the water to swim to Him (John 21:7). Peter could have run away because Christ might punish Peter for denying Him three times. Instead, Peter swam to Christ at once. Peter’s focus had shifted from himself to Christ.
Peter changed because Christ let him in and never let him down. Christ let Peter in by opening up to him, making known to Peter everything He learned from the Heavenly Father (John 15:15). Christ never let him down. He even died for him to save him (John 15:13). Christ had become Peter’s greatest friend.
Not just his great friend, Christ also had filled Peter’s deepest needs. Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Peter didn’t have to yearn for others’ approval or material things on Earth. When Peter tried to compare himself with John, Christ told Peter to focus on his own path and story, and to focus on following Him (John 21:20-22).
Peter became an overflowing spring that fulfilled the needs of countless people. But he didn’t accomplish this by himself.
Peter also became a part of the body of Christ, which includes the Christian community. This community builds each other up, helps each other, and rejoices and mourns together.
May the almighty Christ be our greatest friend and our focus. May we let Him fill our deepest needs. May we be a part of the community of Christ so that we might love and serve our neighbors.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
彼得也成为基督身体的一部分。 这身体包括基督徒的群体, 而这个群体彼此建立, 互相帮助, 一起欢乐，一同悲伤。