Legacy of a Wedding Story

Re:Verse reading–John 2:1-22 (day six) 

Jesus was no party crasher. He knew better. The day was for the bride and groom; it wasn’t his time to take center stage. What he chose to do instead was subtle, quiet, but deliberate: he turned water into the best wine at the party, and no one was the wiser. Save Mary, his new gaggle of disciples, and a handful of servants (maybe even the bridegroom), they knew what he did, and they marveled. That was the point after all, to manifest his glory to the disciples so they would see and believe, while cleverly pointing to the day he would take center stage (the cross).

A thousand times they retold that wedding story, and others after them. And John wrote it down. Why? So we could see what he saw that day at the wedding, and believe.

Morning has broken

Re: Verse reading–John 21:1-25  (day seven)
“When the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.”–v 4. (NASV)

Today will be our last day in the book of John.  At least for a while.  Once again, we note John’s use of symbolic language.  The day was “just dawning” as the disciples encountered the risen Christ for the 7th time. (There are 10 resurrection appearances in the Bible).  John’s words are beautifully true.  A new day was breaking!  New realities and possibilities!  In this new day, the church will form, failures will be reconciled, and individual assignments will be embraced.  Are you living in this new day?  Are you aware and expectant for the possibilities of life in partnership with the Living Lord?  “Morning has broken like the first morning, Blackbird has spoken like the first bird, Praise for the singing, praise for the morning, Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.”

The Fish We Catch

Re: Verse reading–John 21:1-25  (day six)
“Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish you have just caught.’ “–v 10.

It is a small detail.  Easy to miss in the larger story.  Jesus used the fish his disciples caught to meet the needs of the morning.  Only speculation can tell us how the “first fish” got there.  Miracle?  Preplanning?  Whatever we conclude about the Lord’s provision, He didn’t do so much that the efforts of his disciples were extraneous.  The fish they caught were necessary, useful, valued.  None should think that God “needs” our efforts.  I do believe, however, that His love for us includes us in the work of His kingdom.  We are not passive observers.  We are “God’s fellow workers“–1 Corinthians 3:9.  We are servants of Christ and fishers of men.  Inspiring to consider.  Tomorrow at worship, the Lord may say to us, “bring some of the fish you have caught.  I will use your efforts to meet needs.”

Important Word

Re: Verse reading–John 21:1-25  (day five)

“Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”  There is uncertainty among scholars about the word “these”.  Did “these” refer to the other disciples?  Did “these” refer to the fish, boats, and nets? Maybe the more profound answer to the clear up this question is “YES”.   What if the most important word in the question was “MORE” ?  Then we filled in the blank “do you love Me more than ______________”.

Jesus challenges that our love and devotion to Him needs to be “more” than our earthly relationships, occupation, priorities, and security.  Is it fair or wise for Him to ask/demand that loyalty?  Again the answer is “YES”!  What Jesus knows, is that loving Him MORE than ___________________, results in us becoming better spouses, parents, workers, students, friends, disciples, and church family.  We gain a clearer understanding and have constant encounters of grace, forgiveness, patience, devotion, and sacrifice.

Obey God

Re: Verse reading–John 21:1-25  (day four) 

Do you love me?”  Jesus asked Peter three times and each time He asked, He gave Peter a command.  These were a test of his love.  Look back to John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  Obedience was always a fruit of love.  In John 14:21, Jesus gives the benefits of obedience…I mean love…no, I mean obedience…”He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”   You cannot love God and not obey Him.  It is impossible.  Love for God and obedience to Him are the same thing.   It was time for Peter to stop hiding behind closed doors and going fishing, and be about the work of the Savior.  Do you want to be loved by God, loved by Jesus, and to have Jesus disclose Himself to you?  Then, obey God…I mean love God…no, I mean obey God!


Re: Verse reading–John 21:1-25 (day three)

“Lord, what about him?” We’ll often pursue anything except the hard work of self-leadership.  Self-leadership understood in light of our apprenticeship to Jesus is the act of ruthless moral inventory, confession of sin, and training in righteousness.  In Psalm 139, we see the proper progression of thought towards self-leadership: “I hate those who hate you, Lord…I count them my enemies.”  And then, “Search me, God…know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me…” [Emphasis added]  This is a move from external observation to internal yielding.  Peter moves in the exact opposite direction.  After discussing the need to surrender his spirit to Jesus’s lordship, Peter moves to the far less painful topic of other people.  Jesus rebukes him, as he will all of us: You.  Follow.  Me.

Try the Other Side

Re: Verse reading–John 21:1-25 (day two)
“Throw you net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” vs. 6a

Sure, because these men, many of whom had been career fishermen didn’t think to check where the fish would be, or how best to catch them. They probably never considered “the other side”. Well, although that’s a pretty tongue-in-cheek view of the story, it does paint another picture of our perception of God and how we go about our lives at work, home, or in the world. How willing are we to listen to God’s gentle suggestions? Remember, they had been fishing all night and had no success. Their experience probably gave them some idea as to how to best catch fish. With that in mind how well received do you think the suggestion was received to just, “try the other side”? But they did, and it was abundantly more productive than they could have imagined. Are you stuck in a rut? In a place where you know how to do things, or how they should go, and yet they aren’t working? Will you forego your pride and listen to God and just….try the other side?

Not prisoners

Re: Verse reading–John 21:1-25 (day one) 
“We are all products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”–Rick Warren.

“A sunrise is God’s way of saying, ‘Let’s start again.’ “–Todd Stocker.

The Bible is a book about God.  His character, nature and promises.  It is also a book about people as they encounter God.  People who trust and follow.  People who (sometimes) make really foolish, really public mistakes.  People who find unexpected mercy.  Like Peter.  Please read John 21 this week.  Please watch with wonder the stubborn love that Jesus has for his friend, the divine determination that pursues and prods until Peter can process his failure and find forgiveness.  And when you see Christ-with-Peter will you think Christ-with-yourself?

“My SIN, O the bliss of this glorious thought, MY sin, not in part, but the WHOLE, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more.  Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”–Horatio Spafford.

The gospel according to “Sesame Street”

Re: Verse reading–John 20:10-31  (day seven)
“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!”–v 18.  Years ago, there was a character on Sesame Street named Mr. Hooper.  Remember?  He was on the show for 13 years before He died of an heart attack in 1982.  When it happened, the producers had a problem.  How to explain death to 10 million children who watched the show?  They decided not to dodge the subject.  One day,  Big Bird asked where Mr. Hooper was and was told that he had died.  “Oh yeah, I forgot.  Well, I will just see him when he comes back” said Big Bird.  With a sympathetic hug the cast member said, “Big Bird, when people die, they don’t come back.”  Really?  This morning, I pray for volunteers and parents and Pastors to tell a different, better story.  I pray for energy and joy to tell children of Christ and the vast power and  purposes of God.

Holding on

Re: Verse reading–John 20:10-31  (day six)
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not returned to the Father.  Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father ‘ “–v 17.  May I ask you a question?  Are you holding onto Christ?    Matthew 28:9 describes it as an act of worship.  Even so, it was not what Jesus wanted from Mary.  Maybe she was determined to “never let Him go”, to return things back to a former chapter by force of will.  Maybe she was reluctant and unaware of the new chapter that was beginning.  Maybe she didn’t realize that by holding on to Him she was ignoring and delaying His immediate order to “go tell”.  Later that night, the Lord would tell all the  disciples, “As the Father sent me, so send I you”–v 21.   Are you holding onto the Lord or venturing out into the new life He has for you?