Archive for September 18th, 2010

John 21

John 21 captures the interaction between Jesus and some of His disciples after the resurrection.  This chapter contains “the third time Jesus was revealed to the disciples after He was raised from the dead”.  Seven of the disciples were out fishing and had worked all night but “they caught nothing”.  They were ready to give up as day was breaking when Jesus, standing on the shore, called out to them “children, do you have any fish”?  They had come up empty after working all night, but listened to Jesus direction to “cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some”.  I can imagine what my response would have been.  Sure guy – you are not even out here in the water working – and you are telling me that by changing which side of the boat we lower the nets will make a difference.  If you are so smart why are you standing there rather that out here catching fish?  Isn’t that the attitude we get sometimes when we are directed by God to do things differently after failing on our own over and over.  Or maybe His direction is to do the exact same thing but do it in His power instead of on our own steam.  That is the difference maker my friends.  It isn’t what we do – it is upon whose authority and in whose power we do it.  The disciples were going to succeed because the power of God was behind Jesus command.  We need to learn a lesson from this – it is in obedience to His direction that we unleash the power of His hand.  Obedience is the key to opening the power of God in our lives.  We miss this over and over and wonder why things don’t go the way we want.  It is often because we insist on doing them our way on our timeline.  Obedience is the key.  The disciples experienced the difference as they caught “153 of them” – big fish they could hardly drag ashore.  But yet another miracle – “although there were so many, the net was not torn”.  That is how God does things.  When we listen and obey He handles the details and can make things happen that will not if we do them on our own.  The net would have torn without God’s intervention and power and even if they had managed to catch the fish they would have escaped.  It is all about being in step with God.  Why do we struggle so to understand this?

After they managed to drag the fish ashore, Jesus had a fire going and they ate breakfast together.  “They knew it was the Lord” now, but were still a bit afraid to interact or question Him.  Then Jesus asks Peter three questions that were basically the same question three times: “do you love me”?  Jesus gives Peter a slightly different command after each of his responses where Peter says “yes Lord”.  Check out what Jesus tells Peter to do:

–      “Feed my lambs

–      Tend my sheep

–      Feed my sheep

Are these different commands to Peter?  I think they show the reality that the task of caring for people continues.  Jesus starts with lambs and ends with sheep.  That is how growth happens in the sheep world.  Born a lamb and then grow to become a sheep.  Feed and tend are not exactly the same either.  One indicates more basic needs versus the other which shows a deeper connection.  Jesus is telling Peter to take care of the flock – to care for all no matter their place – and to be the leader he has been called to be.  But Jesus goes further and tells Peter twice to “follow me”.  So it isn’t just that Peter was to care for the flock in his own strength and power, but to lead and tend and feed doing it Jesus’ way.  If we are going to be a spiritual leader – we have to follow Jesus.  We need to lead like Jesus and do it in His power.  We have to be the kind of leader that Jesus was.  Are you taking care of the flock God has entrusted to you in your patch?  We are called to do so!

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