John 21 Restoration

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In these same verses 15-17, I also surmise the job description for the pastors of our churches (and all the church members as well).  Here is the guide for those with the smaller flocks and even as parents of our own small flock.  And what is a healthy church based on these verses?

A healthy church must provide proper spiritual food, proper teaching for the young, and the immature in Christ.

A healthy church must take care of the broken, help the hurting and the troubled ones in the flock. Clearly this includes the widows, the abandoned ones, and ministry within the church to those broken by sin, by denial, for healing and growth.  And, that sometimes means my own person as well.  I too must accept help, even seek it, when I am in those places of brokenness.  And when I am not there, I must be ready to share what I can, when and where I can, as the Lord so leads me.  So I must take care of the broke, I must help the hurting and the troubled one’s that the Lord has put in my flock, whether my position is that of a leader, a pastor, a teacher, a parent or simply a neighbor or a customer.

A healthy church must feed its sheep, teach the mature ones as well.  No one has learned it all.  We must continue to grow and share. To love.

How am I doing in this? Am I an active part in my church in this process of love for Jesus’ sake?  We love, because He first loved us.   Peters restoration is our restoration that awaits us when we ask the one important question that overcomes our denial of Jesus.

    • Do you love Me?  (Do I love Jesus?)  
    • Then feed my lambs…take care of my sheep… feed my sheep
    • Lord, I love You.  Remind me this day to feed your lambs and care for your sheep and feed your sheep.  Let my eyes open to those You have placed me among that Your love will make my heart tender towards those You love.

 

 

John 21 Loving and Being Loved

NASB says tendshepherd…tend

GW says feed…take care…feed

It’s desert time for Peter!

IMG_1817He is traveling in the desert of restoration and challenge as he is forgiven and then commissioned for his life ahead.  I am struck by the significance of the underlying reason for all work that is to be done for Jesus. It is to be done because we love Jesus.  Because Peter loves Jesus, he is to tend to the lambs of the flock and feed the sheep.  The root is LOVE.

The question was the same each time.

  • Do you love me?
  • Love with reasoning, intentional love, spiritual devotion, as one loves the Father?
  • What was the opposite of loving Jesus?  Denying Him.

John 18:17-18, 25-27 Peter had been asked three questions as well.  You are not also one of this mans disciples, are you? The first question was asked by the gatekeeper who knew apparently who John was, and yet Peter denied. As Jesus confronts Peter, who is Peter now?  You know that I love You, he tells Jesus. And Peter is told to feed the babies in the flock, the children, and the immature that belong to The Lord.

Second time in John 18 and Peter is asked if he loves Jesus, as again he had denied Him. The same question, now asked by the officers of the high priest who stood around the same warming fire, you are not also one of His disciples, are you?  This time, in response,  Jesus tells Peter to shepherd, to take care of His sheep- the grown ups, the sheep, to lead them, to heal their wounds, to guide them.

The third restoration from denial came in contrast to the question from the slave cousin of the one whom Peter had cut off the ear of (which Jesus had healed on the spot during His arrest.)  Did I not see you in the garden with Him?   An eye witness?  Peter lies again and denies it and hears the cock crow just as Jesus had warned.  Now, this third time that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Peter’s heart was racing and he was humbled to the core, grieving over his own failure under the pressure at the time.  How can Jesus trust him so after such a failure?  Yet he loves Jesus more than the others, he is consumed with love and frustrated in pain over his own failure to live up to his own love.  Embarrassment central!  So he admits his struggle, he declares his love and then, joy upon joy,  Jesus again tells him to feed His sheep -to provide healthy food and water, and to teach.

Forgiveness happened at the cross, restoration happens face to face with Jesus.

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Jesus Christ Life Size Sculpture Bust Shroud of Turin Gives inspiration to all http://www.ebay.com/usr/haveafriendinjesus?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
  • Who am I?
  • Do I love Jesus?
  • Am I also one of His disciples?
  • Have I been seen in the garden with Him?
  • Do I love Jesus?  Then am I feeding the lambs? Am I tending the sheep of His flock?
  • How do I love Jesus? By loving my fellow believers!
  • How was the early church known? By their love for one another.
  • Is my love for Jesus showing in my care for believers?  For lost sheep?  For neighboring sheep in His flock?
  • There are sheep in far away countries that struggle for food and water, safety and security, His flock, His persecuted.  How am I doing with my love for them?  Am I seeing to their food?
  • Do I love Jesus? Then I, if I follow the example set in Jesus command to Peter, am also charged with feeding the lamb and the sheep and tending to their needs.

Father, forgive me for my stingy choices and thank you for the reminder to love my sisters and brothers.  Guide me today to where and how I can share my time and share my resources with Your flock here in my neighborhood and around the world.

John 21 A Place at the Campfire

Jesus first asked Peter about comparative love.  He asked Peter to compare how much love he had for Him compared to the love the others had for him.  Imagine your dad or mom asking you if you loved him more than all your siblings.  Awkward! Peter had eagerly jumped from the boat to be the first to greet Jesus, leaving the others to deal with the work of that big fish haul. For Peter, it may have felt awkward at first.

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John’s first mention of Peter is when he is introduced to Jesus.  The first recorded thing John chooses to tell us about Peter is that Jesus changed his name from Simon to “Cephas”  translated to Peter.  The Aramaic word for stone, Peter being the Greek term.  Other translations add  Peter has a natural bent toward leadership. A strong leader often acts with confidence in his group to take care of the details.  In fact, per Luke’s version  (Chapter 5) of the first fishing instance with Jesus, Peter fell at Jesus’ feet proclaiming his utter sinfulness.  At this point in John, Peter’s love for Jesus is almost on autopilot.

Did he even think about anyone else when he got the message from John that that must be Jesus on shore? He did think about himself and facing Jesus!   Peter hurried to put on his tunic before he swam to face Jesus.  I guess he wanted to be fully covered before facing Jesus- and I wonder if he felt much the same way as he felt the first time, unworthy.  But this time, He had walked with Jesus and followed Him so He knew much more of His character.  So he prepared.  he covered himself then he dove in head first to meet him.

  • How well do I know Jesus?
  • What do I need to do to prepare before I rush to meet him?
  •  Is this even the message for me, how much like Peter am I?
  • Or am I to be one of the faithful followers, recognizing Peter’s need for one on one time with Jesus?
  • Recognizing the need to finish the job at hand and bring Jesus’ catch ashore? a
  • It is good to know, that whoever I am, Jesus has a place set for me too.
  • Is it enough to be eager?

Jesus had Peter go back and bring him the fish for their supper.  Peter was the one who picked the dinner fish out of the net he drew up on the land, he too had to finish the work.  Jesus asked Peter to compare. Do you love me more than these?


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Credit AP

Yes! Peter proclaimed with confidence, and promise. Peter had failed more than they and now he is determined to love more. So Jesus commands him to feed my lambs.   The word choice meant to provide food, to tend, the responsibility of a shepherd to lead the sheep to places where there is food and to meet their needs. Feed, tend, feed. Tend, shepherd, tend. Sounds like a mothering job to me.

Lord help me take my job seriously, as a work for You, no matter the size of my flock nor the location.

John 21 Manifested

lion fishAll through the meal, Peter had to have been on edge, waiting to be called out.  His remorse was powerful.  Was it this desperation that took him fishing? Why did the group of seven disciples leave Jerusalem? Why some and not all? That word manifested, …Jesus was manifested to the disciples…v14 means that Jesus showed Himself as if He is already there but that he somehow gathers himself together into his human form and reveals it, shows it, to them. Yes, we say He is always here, omnipresent God, God present in His creation as a reflection of His own character. He is present in each one who has received His Holy Spirit by faith. He is reflected in our actions of faith and ordeals of faith. He is present also in the face of humanity created in his image that seeks to do good and love each other, and as they seek truth, He reveals Himself.

Lord, bring salvation to Your lost sheep.  There are so many made in Your image who are walking lost in the valley of the shadow of death and they do not see nor hear You there.  You have opened the way and You have sent those who have put their faith in You…and You call for more of us to go, and more of us to support those who have gone.  Father, forgive me my selfishness and thoughts for my own comfort over those of Your lost sheep.  Forgive my self idolatry. Let me trust in Your plans for my future, not my own.

John 21 Establishing a New Normal

img_0293.jpgBreakfast was over. Perhaps a good twenty minutes of eating together or perhaps longer.  Was there small talk at this meal or just joy and wonder and perhaps a giggle or two? It took time to cook all that fish also, so they had some good time at that cook out. Maybe these seven men spent an hour together. Just over half the group was there.  A party of eight.  Good size for a small group.  How normalizing this meal must have been as an experience for these men.  So many shocking changes over the past few weeks. And now a nice normal beach party. To dine with the Creator. To rest, refreshed and assured!  To rest content now knowing the depth of the love of my Creator and Savior has for us and which shows in the next conversation with Peter and Jesus.

Lord, remind me take time to cook with you, to eat with you, to establish my own new normal on this side of your resurrection.  Remind me daily that it is with You that I walk, eat, go about my work, go about my play and rest.  Take me to the beach with you Lord! Refresh my soul!

John 21 Jesus’s Joy is Us!

Peter rushed to Jesus.  Do I do that?

I don’t know what Jesus said to him when he pulled himself out of the water onto the beach after that 100-yard swim, but it is quite a picture in my mind.  I bet Jesus enjoyed watching that swim! It must bring God great pleasure to see his child run to Him, eager to be with Him especially when the child has been burdened with guilt and shame.  Jesus did yell out across the water to all the men on the boat and called them Children, you do not have any fish, do you?  Ha ha!  I bet He was grinning from ear to ear anticipating their reaction.  Were they so used to being called children, these adult men?

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John arrives and they are asked to get some fish.  It is Peter who draws the net ashore. Last time they did this, the first time they met the man Jesus, they were told they would become fishers of men.  This time, they meet the risen Jesus and they eat with Him. They share the catch, although Jesus already had his fish cooking. They caught their food with the help of Jesus, they wrestled the nets ashore and brought fish to Jesus and Jesus did the cooking, Jesus did the serving.

They eat with Jesus and Jesus again breaks bread with them. Jesus provided the bread to share with them.  Loaves and fishes.  It is their meal of the miraculous.  Jesus is the chef. Jesus is the host.

  • Jesus made Himself visible to them and why does part of me see this as scary and another part as glorious?
  • Do I also doubt that I am doing all I can and should for Him?
  • Yet, he rejoiced to welcome them all to his little cookout on the beach.
  • Lord I thank You for Your joyful spirit and I ask that I remember this beach when I break bread in remember of You.

John 21 Everywhere, He IS Alive!

John makes a point in verse 14 to let us learn that this is the third time.  Somehow three times is a significant message.  First to see, second to touch, and third to eat with Him. This  third time is in the north, another location further away.  You cannot run from His presence or travel away from where He can appear. Jesus is a touchable, providing, real person, a real being. He IS Lord of all humanity. He is not a ghost.

I wonder what lessons He may have taught after eating with them, or perhaps all His teaching time was finished and it was time for experiencing the new walk?  The meal conversation was apparently not the most important to what John chose to share. Simply to let us know it happened.  John wanted us to know that Jesus met his disciples, that Jesus himself, knowing they would be there, had prepared a meal for them, provided for them. Ate with them.IMG_1776

Lord help me focus on You and what is important in my daily life from Your perspective.  You HAVE risen, You ARE alive, touchable, a real person and yet You are Lord.  Help me treasure You this day, honor You, trust You, turn to You, live for You.

John 21 Certainty

Am I so compulsive and would I be so overjoyed to be with Jesus that I would, like Peter, throw myself overboard to swim to him?

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Photo by Kirsti Ims

Peter dropped everything because His need was so great. Peter must have been very torn over his personal failure. Yet this failure is who is chosen by Jesus to build His church. The church was built on those who have failed. This repentant failure. Jesus chose the one who ran to Him for healing from his mistakes. He chose this impulsive, frightened fisherman, who became the great, strong, determined man who led the first church plant and died so humbly.

When we mess up and confess, finding God has taken us back, forgiven us our death deserving sin, we become completely certain of His love.

  • Can God love even me?
  • Have I identified myself so much with my sin that I don’t think God could love me?

How little I then think of God!  Yes, accept the truth, God IS bigger than my sin, no matter how wicked.  When we comprehend, as Peter did, that Jesus loves us this much, that God has taken us back in the same way Peter was forgiven (Peter was certain of his unworthiness and forgiven anyway) then we, like Peter,  become just as certain of being loved as we are certain of our unworthiness of that very love.

Lord, I trust You with who, when, and how You reveal Yourself to us. Teach me more. I cling to You. And yet, I can obey Your command to stop clinging and do as you ask of me. There is a time to cling and a time to let go and do!

John 20-21 Developing Comprehension

How could the disciple know if the appearance of Jesus in their midst was real or a ghost? Mary hugged Jesus but was given little time to hold on to Him.

The ten men and the women in the room were breathed on and commissioned through the breath of new life for the flesh, by the Holy Spirit.

The 11 men were yet in the room a week later and Thomas had physical touch with his fingers in the wounds of Jesus.

Seven men have traveled to the Sea of Tiberius in Galilee. So we see they have begun to travel.  Or do we see this is a return to their roots? Or have they left Jerusalem for safety as they had done with Jesus before.  Are they moving on in life for survival, and work?

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Photo credit: a friend

They are 100 yards away and do not recognize Jesus.  That’s the other side of a football field. His clothing had to be different.  I wonder about that too, did He create them? Speak them into existence?  There was no comment on His appearance.  Only the words He spoke, and the results of his spoken word, that brought recognition.

I depend too much on sight.

I need to develop my hearing.

I need to listen for the Lord’s words.

The power of the Word; note that the understanding that it was Jesus on shore came after listening to His voice. So seeing, understanding, comes after listening.  Lord, help me be a better listener that I may comprehend Your presence at all times.

John 21:1-14 Danger in Beholding Holiness

img_3703.jpgAt the end of John 29 we see John had to select which of the many signs and wonders of Jesus which the disciples had seen he was going to include in his Gospel narrative.    John also listed all the incidents of Jesus’s appearing after the resurrection.  Jesus “manifested Himself”.  ‘Manifest’  is to make known what was hidden by words of deeds. It is plainly recognized teaching and is understood.

What are these understanding? What teaching are they now plainly recognizing?  What was going on in the minds of the disciples?

  • First Jesus was seen by Mary at the garden and then to all in the locked room.
  • Second was the time He entered the same room when Thomas was with them.
  • Third is when seven of them are off fishing.  Why were they fishing?

Many times we long to understand. The Bible tells us so much about Jesus when He was in the flesh. How much am I even able to understand?  God is Holy! The Holiness of God was always and still is a dangerous sight. Who can stand in His presence?

  • Moses had to veil his face.
  • Abraham was hidden by a rock as God passed by so he could see His back.
  • When God Himself came to man, God took on the covering of sinful flesh.

The disciples were shielded from the pure Holiness of God by the flesh of the man Jesus. Now He has risen – indeed by action- how can they understand the full depth of the implications?

At this point they do not.

Did Jesus stay in the locked room very long? Maybe not.  It was so much for them to absorb and we struggle to comprehend today.

Lord, today remind me of Your Holiness which took on flesh for our sake, to win us back, to eventually release all of creation from the grip of the enemy that mankind’s sin had dropped us as slaves into.