That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. (John 21:7 ESV)
I’ve read this story a few times over the last couple of days. Peter decided to go fishing and some other disciples decided to go with him. They didn’t catch anything until the man on the beach told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. John realizes the man is Jesus and before anyone could stop him, Peter jumped out of the boat rushing to get to Jesus.
I found Peter’s actions interesting not because it was out of character but because the last time we read of Peter, he denied knowing Jesus. John doesn’t record this but the other gospel writers share Peter’s denial noting Jesus looked right at Peter when asked a third time if he were one of Jesus’ followers. They all record the rooster’s crow followed by Peter’s weeping. I imagine this was one of Peter’s darkest moments. He had done the very thing he was sure he would never do.
I wonder what Peter was thinking when he jumped out of the boat. The last time we saw Peter jumping out of a boat, he wanted to walk on water like Jesus. But this time was different. I think he was rushing to Jesus to ask for forgiveness. Surely, he thought his life was useless. He was fishing again going back to the life he had before he was called. He soon realized, as did the others, there’s no going back.
Later in the chapter, Jesus takes a walk with Peter and asks three times if he loves Him. After the third time the scripture says Peter was hurt by Jesus question. Jesus was reinstating Peter. Three times he denied Him and three times He reaffirmed him. He was showing Peter that his sin would not define the rest of his life. Jesus had a purpose for him and his fall would not destroy the ministry Jesus had laid out for him.
The Lord doesn’t dismiss us because we sin. He doesn’t look at our history and find us incapable of doing His work. Instead, He uses it to build upon. He takes the very thing we consider shameful and builds a ministry around it. We don’t have to be perfect. We are not expected to be sinless. He knows we will fall. But He still uses us. That’s why we call Jesus our Redeemer. Nothing is worthless to Him. He redeems the worst in us for His glory.
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”(John 20:19 ESV)
Not much is recorded about the disciples after Jesus went to the cross. One can only imagine how scared they were. While Jesus was alive, they probably felt safe. They knew His power and had seen His miracles but without Him, they went into hiding. Fearful they would have the same fate as Jesus, they shut themselves up. The disciples didn’t know how to live without Him by their sides.
Jesus had come to each disciple and called them. He prayed with them, taught them and ministered with them. What they didn’t realize at the time was He was training them to carry on the work He started. Now with Jesus gone, they needed to find their new normal. But what would that be? Would they go back to their former lives? How could they? They knew they couldn’t go back but they didn’t know how to move forward either.
While reading through this passage this morning, I thought about how often we are presented with change. I thought about the events that completely change the paths of our lives. Some of these changes are good but they require adjustments. Other times devastating circumstances lead us through the dark places we never wanted to walk. We learn to live there until another change brings us into the light again. Our new normal is an ever changing experience.
The disciples’ lives had changed drastically. And although they had walked with Jesus Himself, they were now afraid. Fear of the unknown can be the most crippling. In their fear, Jesus came to them. He does the same for us. He comes to us and offers us peace. He sees when we are overcome with uncertainty. He understands when we are unsure. And He knows that sometimes our new normal is actually our worst nightmare. But He offers to walk with us and He gives us peace. It doesn’t change our circumstances, it just makes them bearable.
Are you afraid of the circumstances surrounding you today? Are you walking a road you’ve never traveled before? In your weakness He is strong. Where you doubt, He is sure. Your new normal is not a surprise to the Lord. I pray His peace to surround you today!
“Why do they call this Good Friday? I don’t get it,” were the words my son expressed this morning. Jonah’s been thinking a lot about Creation and the Theory of Evolution. We’ve had a few discussions over the last couple of days. I honestly love the fact that he has to dig deep to figure out what truth is. After his question this morning, I started to think and read and pray about it.
As I read through John 18 and 19 it occurred to me, Jesus went from being King to the most despised criminal. The death He suffered was reserved for the most heinous criminals. And the people who wanted Him dead were the religious leaders of the day. Pilate tried over and over to have Jesus released but they would not hear of it. They insisted on His crucifixion, but Jesus allowed it.
Jesus did this by choice. He decided to be crucified. He had the power to walk away, but He endured. That was how He lived when He was on Earth. He chose to be with the sick. He dined with sinners. He loved the cast-offs. Every single relationship He had, was intentional. And when He walked the road to Calvary, it was His decision.
So why do we call this day “Good Friday”? I don’t really know but for me it’s because on that day Jesus chose us. He sacrificed because He didn’t want to live without us. The King of kings and Lord of lords made the decision to do whatever was required in order to have a relationship with us. The path He had to walk was horrible, shameful and excruciating but I believe, if given the choice again, He would make the same decision. I believe that because Jesus would do anything to save His beloved.
Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. (John 18:4-5)
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:5 ESV)
Today marks my twentieth wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. Time flies when you’re living life. It’s been a wild ride and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. Over the years, I’ve learned a few lessons I’d like to share with you.
Whether you pray together or separately, always pray. I know some couples who pray together every day. Sometimes that happens for us, most times we pray separately. The point is, pray for each other. A heartfelt prayer is the greatest gift you can give your spouse.
- Use your words carefully.
I sadly remember our first fight. I used words as a weapon to hurt the one I claimed to love. I remember thinking, what if those were the last words he ever heard from me? Carefully chosen words can make a tremendous difference in a marriage.
The temptation to place blame increases during difficult circumstances. Life is hard but remembering you are in this together makes you stronger. The enemy will tempt you to accuse but resist. He knows he is defeated when you stand together.
- Always ask for forgiveness.
I have always found it easier to forgive someone who asks for it. So, whether it was intentional or not, I ask for forgiveness. He deserves to know I’m sorry and I have to be humble enough to ask for it.
It’s hard to believe it’s been twenty years. These lessons seem easy and obvious but they were all things I’ve learned along the way. I’m sure over the next twenty years (Lord willing) I will have another set of lessons. The bottom line for me has been learning to put my husband before myself. I think that’s what Jesus was trying to teach his disciples by washing their feet. However, I learned to be a servant by my husband’s example.
Happy Anniversary Honey!!
“Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” (John 28-29 ESV)
This scene takes place after Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey a week before He was crucified. The crowd surrounding Him had seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead. Word spread of His miracle and many came to see Him. Jesus was preparing for the events to come explaining what it means to follow Him. He finishes with, “Father, glorify your name.” Then God the Father speaks.
I think the reaction of the crowd is interesting. They had never audibly heard God speak. Some believed it was God Himself while others said it was an angel. Either way, they were words from heaven.
I wonder why some of the people thought it was an angel. Was it too much for them to think God would actually speak aloud in their presence? Did their theology prevent them from recognizing God? Was their understanding of God so limited, they refused to believe it was Him? They were so caught up in who said it, they missed the actual words.
I think we all face the same quandary. We hear a voice and have to decide if it’s God. We have to make a choice to follow or stand still. Sometimes, we jump on the bandwagon with no questions asked running for the promise He has set before us. And yet, other times we stand there wondering. We question. We explain away the divine intervention. Sometimes, we are so preoccupied with who said it; we neglect to hear what was said.
Listen for God’s voice today. Ask Him to speak and He will. Seek Him with your whole heart and He will not deny you. And when He speaks, don’t question. Simply obey.
When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled yet he liked to listen to him. (Mark 6:20bNIV)
This morning I read about the beheading of John. Herod knew there was something different about John. He challenged Herod’s marriage but still Herod was intrigued. The scripture says, “…he liked to listen to him.” Why? What did John have to say that interested Herod? He was honest about his disapproval of Herod’s lifestyle and yet Herod liked listening to him.
Herod wanted to hear about the Lord. I think something about the way John spoke of the Savior pierced Herod’s heart. Perhaps, in the midst of a life of self-indulgence, Herod heard words of hope. He had power but I believe in his heart he was terribly insecure. The passage goes on to say, “The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.” (vs. 26) The only reason he agreed to murder John was to appease everyone around him.
Recently, an acquaintance told me a “God-story”. One morning she pushed the wrong buttons on her remote and found herself on a Christian television station. She was hoping to catch the news for a few minutes before leaving for work but instead found a speaker talking about personal Goliaths. The television preacher spoke about big things we think we cannot conquer. They cause worry and fear. The woman telling the story shared about her life at that time. She talked about how she wasn’t sleeping well and was terribly worried about different situations she had to handle. There was something about that message that resonated with her.
I found it interesting that my friend didn’t turn the television to the news when she realized she pushed the wrong buttons. She wanted to hear what God had to say. She believed God wanted her to hear that particular message. I don’t know her spiritual status. I know she believes in God and in that moment, she knew He had something for her. He wanted to calm her nerves and be fearless in facing her day. She went on to tell me she faced her Goliaths and it wasn’t nearly as horrible as she anticipated.
You never know when the Lord will use what you are saying to speak to someone’s heart. Imprisonment didn’t stop John from sharing Jesus. He still continued on his the mission set before him. The television preacher will never know the impact that was made on my friend but he will still preach on. Sometimes, the simplest little words mean the world to someone who wasn’t even looking for God at that moment. He comes to us when we least expect it.
And He was saying to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” (Luke 6:5 NASB)
The season of Lent has thrown me into the gospels. I have been reading them every day spending time looking intently at Jesus’ life. How did He act? Who did He spend His time with? I have intentionally been studying His ways and His words. I’ve come to see Jesus in a different light.
Reading over the words describing Jesus’ life has shown me His heart. He honestly cared for people. He dined with sinners, associated with prostitutes and spoke to outcasts. Each time He interacted with the “least of these” He offered them something. He gave health to the sick. He gave forgiveness to the sinner. He gave life to the dead. Over and over Jesus offered love and respect to those the Pharisees deemed useless. The thing that caught my attention was the fact that many of his miracles happened on the Sabbath.
Jesus didn’t let the laws of the day prevent Him from performing miracles. A part of me wondered if He was healing on the Sabbath just to irritate the Pharisees. I’m sure that wasn’t His motivation but it sure did make them look ridiculous. They used the law to imprison and judge people. Jesus came to set the captives free. The Pharisees took from the people while Jesus gave.
What do we see when we look at people? Do we only see their sin or someone needing love? Do we see things through our own hurts and destroyed expectations or through eyes of grace?
Jesus went against the socially accepted way of life. He continually associated with the needy. He went against the religious authority of the day and offered grace. His followers were numerous because He redeemed the imperfect. So the question is asked, “Was Jesus a rebel”? Yes, I believe He was.