Dear friend in Christ,
God's Peace be unto you from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Those are the words of scripture that we left off with last week when we shared briefly of the resurrection appearance of Jesus to His disciples who were behind locked doors in fear as they grappled with the events of the last few days. We heard of how when He appeared before them of how He spoke the wonderful words of peace, of comfort and of assurance. He then, as the life giving Spirit, (1 Corinthians 15:45) said to them,
Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:20-23)
We know from looking backwards at the life of the Apostles that it was not until after the Day of Pentecost that they came to understand, to know and to experience the empowerment that comes to all believers at the infilling of the Holy Spirit. From that time on as faith melted together with reality, they began to fulfill those purposes that aligned with the purposes of God, namely in the great gathering of all people to the Table of the Lord. In speaking of the Table of the Lord, we are not speaking of the Lord's Table as much as we are of the Table of salvation to which all mankind has been called to and to which our God desires that all would heed the call to come.
As a reminder, Christ is the One who is Peace and through His death, resurrection and ascension, He has secured peace for all mankind.
Through repentance and faith, we receive His peace and are infilled with His Spirit, the Holy Spirit.
Because we possess the peace of God, within us wells a deep desire to pass this amazing peace of God to others around us. Therefore, with joy we call upon all to be loosed from their sin by hearing and believing the Word of the Gospel: “Believe you sins for given in the Name and through the Blood of Christ.”
In the 21st chapter of John's Gospel, we see a post resurrection, pre ascension appearance of Jesus, we hear Him invite 7 of His "gone fishing" followers to "Come and Dine." or "Come to the Table and Eat." After breakfast, Jesus speaks to Peter, (as well as all others there, including us here today) and in His gentle way asks Peter, three times as to whether he loves Him. Jesus then foretells Peter of his future and of how he is going to bear witness as HIs follower and in so doing, bring great glory to God. The last part of this chapter refers to a question that Peter asked Jesus about the future of his beloved brother John, the Apostle of love.
There are many many good commentaries that have been written on this chapter and it is good to spend time reading, meditating and applying that which is being revealed in this chapter. It is always a blessing to ourselves and to others around us when we apply ourselves to the hearing, the reading and the meditation in and over the Word of our Lord. So, having said that, it would be important to pick one main truth in this chapter which we could spend a little time on and a part that is foundational in understanding and knowing the heart of our Lord. So, we will not focus so much on Peter's experience, but on some of the actions of the Lord which he did in this post resurrection appearance. Here are the verses that we will consider:
John 21:12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
Why these verses about Jesus providing breakfast to the hungry fisherman? Well, look at the verbs in verses 12 n 13. Come, dine, come, take, and gave. What do we think about when we hear those words? They are certainly action words, and we understand that Jesus is the one doing the action and the disciples are the ones who are the recipients of the actions. So, you may be thinking, where is this going?
Who is the Actor in our salvation history? Jesus Christ is the One who came to bring us to His table of fellowship by taking His Body to the cross, giving it for the life of the world so that we might become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and through that gift escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust. Peter wrote those words in his second epistle, which were given by the Holy Spirit of course, but of which he surely came to realize through the knowledge of God, through faith and in his experience of the truth of those words he wrote.
The loving givingness of God in Christ is so foundational to understanding the heart and purposes of God, that if we miss that, we will miss grace and its implications for the world including ourselves. How so? Well, Jesus is the Good Shepherd , and as Peter writes, the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), we are sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100). He is the One that gave, Who gives and will continue giving to us of Himself so that we might not remain as sheep, but that we would become shepherds of others after the model of the Chief Shepherd. Can we not hear Peter's experience coming through the Holy Word of God when he wrote in this way?
KJV 1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Can we not realize that the better we understand Peter's journey (from the Gospels) in which he came to the end of himself and was grasped by the grace of God( and latched on to it),, the more his two epistles will speak to us the grace of God. It is noteworthy to point out that it is difficult to find places in his two epistles in which Peter looked back at his failures of the past and made a big deal of it, but rather he magnified and held up the great grace of God!!! Let us not miss that as we live our lives in the effects of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, both as forgiven and thankful sheep but also as those being motivated by the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts to serve others.
The question that has been coming to me as I have been thinking of our dear brother Peter and his journey of faith is: Am I motivated by the Gospel of love or by something other than that? Peter humbly spoke to the Lord after the third question as to whether He loved his Lord, by saying, Lord, you everything, you know that I love you!
After which our Lord told Peter, "Feed my sheep." Demonstrate your love for me by acting as I did and as I do.
Peter remained a needy sheep, but also became a shepherd, an under shepherd. Apostle John never calls himself by his name John, but referred to himself as the "one whom the Lord loves." He remained as a sheep, one who needed the constant and assuring love of God in Christ towards him and he became the Apostle of love, living in the power of the resurrection of our Lord all boldness but yet in humility.
Wow, there is a lot to think about and to apply, isn't there? Are we yet motivated by love in our serving of our Lord or is there need of His refreshing touch into our hearts and lives today? Yes, Lord, you know that we love you, but it is only because of your kindness, of your forgiveness and of your patience towards us. We only can love you because you first loved us and yet do love us. Speak to us today, Lord, through your Word and your Spirit. May your Words touch those places that have become more dear to us than they should whatever that might be..........
Lord, may we hear your voice today that speaks to us, "I love you, Follow thou me."
To Him be all glory, Amen.
Pastor Orval Wirkkals