Think On These Things ~ John 21

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 

Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 

Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 

He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 

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. 

The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 

So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 

Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 

This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 

He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 

Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 

(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 

When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 

Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 

So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Some Day

Some days I don’t know whether to apologize to my children for the kind of parent I am being or call my parents and apologize for the kind of child I was.

I should probably do both.

Some days, when the weather is so very gray and rainy like it was yesterday, I just want to read and cook or bake. And not necessarily anything good for you but leaning more on the indulgent side. I didn’t bake though. A Florida friend is coming to visit today and I will probably make a pound cake. Oddly enough what I am looking forward to the most is the smell. A freshly baked cake smells almost as good as bread coming out of the oven.

On Sunday Rob read a familiar passage from the last chapter of the book of John and I have been thinking about it the last couple of days. The disciples had been fishing all night but they had no fish to show for it. Jesus, whom they did not recognize at first, told them to put their net out on the right side of the boat and boy, did they score a mess of fish! And more importantly they recognized Christ. Peter was so excited he jumped into the water to get to Him as fast as he could. Once they arrived at the shore the Bible says this,

John 21:9

“When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.”

That’s what jumped out to me. Do you see it? Jesus already had fish but He invited the disciples to bring their fish to the table, so to speak, after instructing them on where to catch some.

God suffers no lack yet He graciously invites us to join Him in the work of restoring and renewing the world. Not only that, He provides all that we need and equips us to do so.

How humbling is that? We should approach our days with the trembling excitement of a child being invited into the kitchen to help create the most unbelievably delicious fare.

Someday we will see ever so clearly all the ways that God allowed us to be part of His redemptive work. I think we might be surprised at how He used our to-do lists.

Weak Desires Weak Prayers

I wrote the bulk of this post Saturday morning. That evening we went to dinner with some friends and the subject of prayer came up and man, it was like God went from a gentle nudge to a solid thump on my back. It was a conversation that brought about some startling awareness and conviction that I am still sorting out.  I hope you will be encouraged and challenged to consider your own prayer life.  Prayer is a deep and mysterious fountain of intimacy between God and his people but also a source of intimacy within our human relationships. I may not know exactly what God is doing right now with all the various parts and pieces of things in my life but I know he is doing something. Somehow, prayer is a big part of that.

In his book The Weight of Glory CS Lewis says, “It would seem, that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

That quote came to mind this week as I was reading the book of John as part of the Summer Bible Reading Challenge, specifically chapters fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen. In each chapter he specifically tells his disciples that whatever they ask for in his name he will do it. Three of the four times it is mentioned in the context of working, abiding, and bearing fruit. The fourth time he tells them that the Father will grant what they ask in his name so that their joy might be full.

It’s clear that Jesus isn’t giving them, or us, a blank check to ask for materials things necessarily, although those things aren’t out of the realm of possibility.  Rather we are to ask for anything that will bring honor and glory to the Father through us. We also know from James that often we don’t get what we ask for because we ask for the wrong things or for the wrong reasons.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I don’t think I know what I ought to pray for, not for myself or others. I read about people like George Mueller and Amy Carmichael and marvel at the faith they displayed in their prayer life.

I mean, I know what to pray for sometimes for myself and others. Sometimes it is just generic basic stuff. Other times there are specific needs so it’s easy to know what and how to pray.

But this week I am wondering if I am too easily satisfied with the quick prayer, with the first words, even Bible verses, that come to mind so readily. What do I really want to pray for in the lives of my husband and my children? My extended family and my friends? My church? Myself?

I guess I am wondering if my prayers have been half-hearted in a sense because I have failed to imagine what God can do, what he would do, beyond just the practical. I think that kind of prayer life, the one that is full and robust and hopeful, must also be one rooted in the Word. The prayer life that flourishes is one born out of abiding in Christ. It comes from a life that is bearing the fruit of righteousness that comes from him. It is a life that feeds on the Word and dares to pray big things because it is a life that knows God is infinitely bigger than whatever it can imagine.

May we not be too easily pleased, to easily satisfied, with basic prayers. May our prayers find us stepping into the vast ocean of promises God gives to his people, swimming in every spiritual blessing in heavenly places that he has given us.

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