The Gospel According to Squid Game
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” – John 21:15 (NRSV)
In one scene of the Netflix mega-hit Squid Game, the main character, Seong Gi-hun, is trying to convince one of his fellow “contestants” to team up with him. He first met the woman when she stole his wallet and left him to get beaten up. But now she’s the one who’s hesitant to put her confidence in him.
He tells her, “You don’t trust people because they’re trustworthy. It’s because you have nothing else to lean on.”
When the resurrected Jesus calls Peter over after breakfast and puts him in charge of the flock, it’s not because he’s trustworthy. The last time they were together, Peter denied even knowing him.
And his track record wasn’t stellar before that either. He shooed away the kids who came to see Jesus. He tried to walk on water and sank. He managed to get the Prince of Peace angry enough to call him Satan.
But in the end, Jesus trusts him. Or at least entrusts God’s work to him. Because, whatever has happened in the past, he wants Peter on his team. Because the only thing he or any of us have to lean on is the people around us.
And maybe because he knows: though you don’t trust people because they’re trustworthy, sometimes if you take a chance on trusting them, they become trustworthy in the process.
God, trust me, that I can become trustworthy. Make me into someone others can lean on.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.