Saturday, June 30, 2012, 7:55 a.m.
– After I read my passage for today, the Lord put the song “He Gives Purpose”
in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read John 21
(quoting vv. 15-25 NIV 1984):
Summary Vv. 1-14
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
Jesus had just died (was crucified) on the cross for our sins, was buried in the tomb, and he then rose from the grave on the third day, conquering death, hell, Satan and sin so that we could go free from the ultimate penalty of sin (eternal damnation), and be free from the daily control of sin over our lives. After his resurrection, he appeared to his disciples on numerous occasions. The third time that he appeared to them was by the Sea of Tiberias.
Peter and some of the other disciples had gone out fishing at night, but they didn’t catch any fish. Then, early in the morning, Jesus appeared on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was him. “He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’” “No,” was their reply. So he said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” They did what he said, and they caught so many fish they were not able to haul their net in.
Then John said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” So, Peter jumped into the water while the other disciples followed by boat. When they arrived on shore, they saw a fire burning with some fish on it, and some bread. Jesus then spoke to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Peter hauled the net ashore. “It was full of large fish, 153.” Jesus asked them to join him for breakfast. Then Jesus gave them the bread and the fish to eat. Throw Your Net
When Jesus first called Peter and Andrew to be his disciples, he saw them casting a net into the lake, because they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew, in Matthew 4:18-20, recorded that they “At once left their nets and followed him.” What Jesus meant by “making them fishers of men” is that they would now search and seek out men (and women) to be followers (the fish) of Christ. Jesus has since called all his disciples (his followers) to be “fishers of men.” He said that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us – now when we receive Christ as Savior - that we will be his witnesses throughout the world. And, he said that we are to go and make disciples (fish) of all men (and women), baptizing them and teaching them to obey all of Christ’s commands.
So, when I read this story of Peter and the other disciples not catching any fish, Jesus telling them to throw their net on the other side where they will find some, and of them catching so many fish that their net was too heavy to haul the fish in, I always see this in light of us being “fishers of men.” Sometimes we are not catching fish (souls for Christ) because we are throwing our nets (the gospel; the word of truth) the wrong place, i.e. where it is being rejected and/or despised. So, Jesus comes alongside us and says, “Throw your net on the other side,” and when we do, we are then able to plant the seed of the gospel that will bear fruit in people’s lives. We will not always see the immediate results like the disciples did, but as long as we are obeying Jesus in sharing the gospel where he says to share it – where he tells us to throw our nets – then we can trust him to provide the fish. More Than These
Before Jesus Christ was arrested, tried and then given the sentence of death, Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray him, and that they would all leave him, though they all denied that they would do so. Peter exclaimed that he would go to the death with Jesus, but Jesus told him, fundamentally, that when “push came to shove,” Peter would deny Jesus Christ three times before the rooster crowed. And, that is exactly what happened. After Peter had denied Jesus three times, he heard the rooster crow, and then he remembered the words Jesus had spoken to him. When he did, he went outside and wept bitterly. He was remorseful over his sin of denial of the One he claimed to love to the point of death.
Now, having just finished eating breakfast together, Jesus asked Peter a very pointed question. He said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” The “these” is not explained, but he could have been speaking of his love for fishing or of his friendships with the other disciples. We don’t know for sure. But, clearly Peter had to make a choice.
The “these” in our own lives could be anything that might keep us from truly following Jesus Christ wherever he leads us and doing whatever he requires of us. Our “these” could be our reputations, acceptance of man, friendships, jobs, careers, entertainment choices, our time, energies, our ability to decide our own futures, or even our church ministries. If we had a choice between offending Christ, via disobedience, or offending man, which would we choose? Are we more concerned about what man thinks of us, or of what Jesus Christ thinks of us? Peter denied Christ three times out of fear of man. Do we fear (show honor and respect to) God more than we fear man? Who are we trying to please most with our lives? Whenever we choose man or anything else over Christ, and our love, allegiance and devotion to him and to his word, we are acting in denial of him. He must be first!
Peter had denied Jesus Christ three times and now Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter truly loved Jesus. Peter answered Jesus three times in the affirmative, though Jesus asked, the first two times if Peter (agape) loved him, while Peter responded that he (phileo) loved him, so the third time Jesus asked if Peter (phileo) loved him. Agape love is a god-like love that is unconditional love (the way God loves us and demonstrated his love for us by dying for us while we were yet sinners). Phileo love is an affectionate and friendship kind of love. Jesus wanted Peter to love him unconditionally, i.e. in good times and in bad times.
This kind of love comes only from God within us living out his love through us. This is the kind of love that does not quit, and loves even when men revile us. It keeps on giving. Human love can fail, but God’s love never fails. Jesus knew that Peter would have to have agape love for Jesus if he was to be used of Christ, otherwise he had the potential of denying him again, because his human affection for Jesus, no matter how sincere, could fail when things got really bad, which they would. And, agape love is what we need to have for Jesus Christ, too, if we are to truly follow him in all things. Because, when we truly follow Christ, men will hate us, persecute us and say all manner of evil against us, and we have to not let what man thinks of us affect what we do for Christ. Agape love endures to the end. Feed My Sheep
Peter declared three times that he (phileo) loved Jesus. Jesus responded by telling him to: 1) “Feed my lambs,” 2) “Take care of my sheep,” and 3) “Feed my sheep.” Jesus’ sheep were his followers (his disciples; the caught “fish”). Peter was to feed them spiritually with the word of God (the word of truth; the gospel). He was to disciple those who chose to follow Christ as Lord and as Savior. He was being called of Jesus to pastor-shepherd the people of God, though we are all called to make disciples, so, in a sense, we are all called to feed Christ’s sheep. And, Jesus let him know, too, the kind of death Peter would die. And, then he said, “Follow me!”
When Jesus commands us to follow him, which is his command of all his disciples (believers in Jesus Christ), and when he commands us to feed his sheep (disciple them), which, too, is his command of all his disciples, these commands are not optional. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny himself (his own selfish ways) and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) Christ. We must die to our old lives of sin and selfishness (self-gratification) if we want to have eternal life with God, Jesus said. Paul said (in Eph. 4) that we come to know Christ by forsaking our former lives of sin, by being transformed in heart and mind (working of the Holy Spirit within us) and by putting on the new man created to like God in true righteousness and holiness.
So, when we come to Christ Jesus, our lives are no longer our own to do as we please, but we are now committed to pleasing our commanding officer and to doing what he says. We must go where he says, do what he tells us, and say whatever he commands us to say, and to whomever he instructs us to say it to (to throw our nets where he tells us). This may get us hated, rejected, despised, persecuted, ostracized, and booted out of many Christian circles, because loving with agape love means loving others like Jesus loves us, and he gave his life (reputation and literal lifeblood) for us so that we could be free from the control and penalty of sin. Are We?
Are we willing to give our lives to see others truly go free from sin? In other words, are we willing to catch “fish” for Jesus by throwing our nets wherever Jesus says to throw them? - Even if we face much opposition and persecution in the process? Are we willing to feed Jesus’ sheep, even if it takes time away from other things we enjoy? Will we answer “Yes” when Jesus asks us, “Do you (agape) love me?” In other words, will we love and serve Jesus no matter what? Or is our love for Jesus just a friendship kind of love that might give way if we ever are called upon to do something that might affect our reputations or what people think of us? Jesus is calling all of us to follow him, to obey him, to feed his sheep and to throw our nets (the gospel) where he shows us. Will we answer, “Here am I, send me!”? He Gives Purpose
/ An Original Work / June 9, 2012 “Listen to Me when I’m calling to you.
Obey freely My word.
Follow Me in all of My ways.
Do all that I say.
Hear Me gently whisper to you
My will for your life and future.
Give all of your life and heart to
Follow Me always.”
Repent of your sins and worship Jesus.
He’s your Lord and Master.
He died for your sins so you could
Live with Him today.
He has a plan for your life and
He gives purpose and direction.
He gives meaning to your life,
So follow Him today.
“I love you so much I gave My life for
You to walk in My ways,
Living for Me each day as you
Bow to Me and pray.
Witness for Me of your love for Me and
Of My grace and mercy,
How I died to save you of your
Sins now and always.” He Gives Purpose - YouTube