Saturday, April 22, 2017

Easter: Day 7

The eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them. When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted. 

 He said to them, “This is what I told you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me must be fulfilled.”

Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures. He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

“All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” 

“You are witnesses of these things. I send out the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.”

He led them as far as Bethany, and lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he blessed them, he withdrew from them, and was carried up into heaven. They worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.  

The Great Commission given by Jesus was to go and make disciples, carrying on the kingdom work he began until such a time as he returned in the consummation of history. Have you taken the Great Commission as a personal call to action or do you see this as something only for “professionals” who are called to be ministers and missionaries? What is your next step? 

Prayer: Thank you for the journey to which you have called me, Lord, and for being ready to lead me forward step by step.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Easter: Day 6

Jesus came and took the bread, and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This was the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after the resurrection.

When they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know I love you.”

He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?”

He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know I love you.”

He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?”

Peter was grieved because he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said to him, “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you, and carry you where you don’t want to go.”

Now he said this, signifying by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. After this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

Then Peter, turning around, saw John following, and said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”

Jesus said to him, “If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” This saying went out among the others that this disciple wouldn’t die. Yet Jesus didn’t say to him that he wouldn’t die, but, “If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies about these things, and wrote these things. Know that his witness is true. There are also many other things Jesus did, which if they would all be written, even the world itself wouldn’t have room enough for all of them.

Having denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion, Peter now was asked three times by Jesus if he loved him. This had to be excruciatingly difficult for Peter to experience, and yet it was filled with grace as well. Have you had a time of painful accountability in your life? Was grace extended to you in the midst of shame and guilt? Were you able to accept it? 

Prayer: When faced with the enormity of my failures, Lord, help me accept the forgiveness and grace you offer.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter: Day 5

A few days later, Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.”

They told him, “We’re also coming with you.” They went out on the sea of Tiberias in their boat, but that night they caught nothing. When day came and the boat returned, Jesus stood on the beach, though the disciples didn’t know it was him. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you anything to eat?”

They answered him, “No.”

He said, “Cast the net on the other side of the boat, and you will find some.”

They did so, and now they weren’t able to draw it in for the multitude of fish. John said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!”

When Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his cloak around him (for he had disrobed), and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat (for they were only about a hundred yards from shore), dragging the net full of fish. When they got out on the land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fish, one hundred fifty-three in all; even though there were so many, the net wasn’t torn.

Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” They knew it was Jesus, yet none of them dared ask, “Who are you?” 

Though Jesus had already appeared twice to the disciples to convince them of the reality of his resurrection, they didn’t know what to do next. Peter’s idea was to go back to what he had been before he met Jesus and the others agreed. The results were disappointing until Jesus guided them. What are the default behaviors in your life, the things you do when you don’t know what to do? How many of your habits are helpful? 

Prayer: Lead me to a new reality, Lord; break the habits that keep me going back to what I’ve always been.