29.5 John – John’s Big WHY

There are any number of business and self-help books and experts that discuss “knowing your why”. It is called many things. Defining your mission, vision and objectives. Setting goals and targets. Defining your motivation. Know your destination. Stay in your lane. Be the ball. (okay, maybe not be the ball, but I was on a roll).

But, like many of the things of scripture, John turns this whole notion on its head.

See, almost all of those other writings and talks and experts and consultants are focused on the WII-FM. “What is in it for me?” That is the motivator. What’s in it for you? What are you getting out of it? If you aren’t getting something out of it, why are you doing it?

But John closes the book of John with this. I am writing this not for me, but for you. Jesus did many other things, but I’m writing these down so that YOU MAY BELIEVE and that believing you too might be saved.

John is already saved at the time he is writing this. John is a follower of Jesus. John has already begun eternal life. John does not write the book for fame or fortune. He writes it for us. He didn’t write it as a WII-FM. He wrote it so that some person a couple of thousand years in the future in a land he didn’t even know existed might also become a brother or sister to Jesus Christ for all eternity.

It has challenged my thinking on why I write this blog. At first it was for me, to think in my writing and to shape my own thoughts. But, I also hope and pray that it may someday and somehow help one other person in their walk with our Lord. That is a “why” with eternal consequences.

My Answers:

12.

So that others may believe and in believing have life through Jesus – He is the way, the truth and the life.

 

13.

My faith has been deepened and filled.

 

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29.3 John – I am Peter

In these last chapters of John, over and over again I have found myself identifying with Peter. Sometimes I slow and other people race ahead of me. Sometimes, when I start on a path, I have a hard time stopping and rush into places that other people pause to investigate first. Sometimes I jump right into a new direction leaving others to finish the work at hand. Sometimes I have to be told something three times to get. Sometimes when I warned about something by those who love me the most I argue with them instead of listening. Sometimes I have doubts and feel like I’m starting to sink.

But, also, like Peter, I have seen our Lord reach out a hand and save me over and over again in these circumstances.

So, for all the other Peters out there, I think it is particularly important to pay attention to these directions from Jesus to Peter. Feed my little lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep. I don’t know if any of you have raised livestock, but, if you haven’t… they eat every day! That may not seem like a revelation to you, but, is it how we exercise this instruction? For most of us we look at shepherding others as a sometimes thing, not a daily thing. We go on a missions trip. We serve in VBS or Sunday School. We donate to good causes. There is nothing wrong with those things, but, if that is our definition of feeding the sheep, it is like dumping a truck load of feed and leaving the sheep untended for a couple of weeks.

That isn’t the example that Jesus set for us. Give us this day our monthly bread is not how the prayer goes.

But doing daily life with sheep is messy. Other people have just as many problems as we do and, well, sometimes they are stinky, too. But it is being there for others even during the messy times that really demonstrates the love of Christ to them.

Having said all of this, it is also important to note that Jesus did not give the sheep to Peter, he only gave him one single job to do, feed them. He didn’t say, “feed your sheep”. Peter is not the master of the sheep, Jesus is. Peter is not the Shepherd of the sheep, He is a helpful neighbor and friend to the Shepherd. Peter is not in charge of all of the other things that go along with selecting the sheep, raising the sheep, providing pastures, providing shelter, providing safety, shearing, etc, etc, etc. He just needs to keep an eye on them and fill the feed trough with the food that the master provides.

Sometimes we hesitate to take on a job of helping others because we don’t want to be “in charge” of them. Jesus makes this clear to Peter: do your job, I’m still in charge, they are my sheep.

My Answers:

In these last chapters of John, over and over again I have found myself identifying with Peter. Sometimes I slow and other people race ahead of me. Sometimes, when I start on a path, I have a hard time stopping and rush into places that other people pause to investigate first. Sometimes I jump right into a new direction leaving others to finish the work at hand. Sometimes I have to be told something three times to get. Sometimes when I warned about something by those who love me the most I argue with them instead of listening. Sometimes I have doubts and feel like I’m starting to sink.

But, also, like Peter, I have seen our Lord reach out a hand and save me over and over again in these circumstances.

So, for all the other Peters out there, I think it is particularly important to pay attention to these directions from Jesus to Peter. Feed my little lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep. I don’t know if any of you have raised livestock, but, if you haven’t… they eat every day! That may not seem like a revelation to you, but, is it how we exercise this instruction? For most of us we look at shepherding others as a sometimes thing, not a daily thing. We go on a missions trip. We serve in VBS or Sunday School. We donate to good causes. There is nothing wrong with those things, but, if that is our definition of feeding the sheep, it is like dumping a truck load of feed and leaving the sheep untended for a couple of weeks.

That isn’t the example that Jesus set for us. Give us this day our monthly bread is not how the prayer goes.

But doing daily life with sheep is messy. Other people have just as many problems as we do and, well, sometimes they are stinky, too. But it is being there for others even during the messy times that really demonstrates the love of Christ to them.

Having said all of this, it is also important to note that Jesus did not give the sheep to Peter, he only gave him one single job to do, feed them. He didn’t say, “feed your sheep”. Peter is not the master of the sheep, Jesus is. Peter is not the Shepherd of the sheep, He is a helpful neighbor and friend to the Shepherd. Peter is not in charge of all of the other things that go along with selecting the sheep, raising the sheep, providing pastures, providing shelter, providing safety, shearing, etc, etc, etc. He just needs to keep an eye on them and fill the feed trough with the food that the master provides.

Sometimes we hesitate to take on a job of helping others because we don’t want to be “in charge” of them. Jesus makes this clear to Peter: do your job, I’m still in charge, they are my sheep.

My Answers:

6.

Redemption for Peter’s denial. Peter was a man of action, do you love me more than all this doing?

 

7.

He knows me as only an intimate Lord would and could. He provides and guides. He gives me meaningful work. He tests me but redeems me.

 

8.

All believers have failed. We all have someone we can care for, nourish, provide for. Life is too important to do it alone.

 

29.2 John – Work and Food

There are so many great lessons in the story of the fishing expedition found at the end of John and so many applications for life. I think this is one of those stories that every time you read it, as you continue your walk in faith, more is uncovered and revealed. I’m going to touch on just a few that were particularly meaningful to me.

To not be frustrated in the ministry field. If we are believers in Jesus Christ we are all also missionaries whether near or far. As missionaries, it is very easy to face times when, to use the analogy of our lesion, the fish just aren’t biting. We are praying earnestly for people, we are living among the people, we are talking and sharing and making community with them, and… they aren’t changing. I know missionaries in foreign lands who spend years and may not have a single person that they can point to who they have witnessed being saved. It is easy to say, this is a dry lake, there just aren’t any fish here. Maybe I should give up. Maybe I should just move on. But, from the lesson today we see it is not us, we aren’t doing anything wrong. It is not the lake. It is not the fish. It is not the location. It is not any of these things. The water on one side of the boat is not any different than the water on the other side of the boat in the middle of a lake. The fish will come when the fish come. The believers will be saved, when they will be saved. Think how it would have been if the fishermen on the boat said, “we’ve already fished in that spot over a hundred times, we’re tired and coming ashore.” Instead, they threw out the net one more time and the harvest was more abundant than they could have imagined, yet no wear and tear at all on the nets.

Don’t get so absorbed in work that you miss the Lord. When the nets filled, the men on the boat got to work. It is no easy or quick task to haul in the nets. Only John recognized that they friend on the shore was the Lord. How often do I go through my days focused on my to-do list and inbox? I get heads down, going from thing to thing, sometimes even praying in the midst of it as I bet the fisherman were, (thank you Lord for this abundance and please help us not tear the nets). But in the process of my business and busy-ness, I completely miss Jesus standing there talking to me and waiting for me.

The image of Jesus may not be what you expect. There is a part of this whole recognizing Jesus, but not wanting to ask Him if He was Jesus, part of the story that is a little bit strange and confusing, but I think there is also a message in it to me. The Lord and the people He may be sending to me and teach me and to have me feed may not look like what my expectation of them is. Who I am, where I live, what I do impacts my viewpoint of what Jesus is going to look like in my day. But, if we learn anything from the bible, our perspectives and God’s perspectives are not normally the same. Jesus to me this day may be a blind man, He may be a man from another country who does not speak my language. He may be a rich man. He may be a poor man. He may be a woman and not a man. Race, politics, power, wealth, privilege. Whatever the idea I may have in my head of how Jesus is going to show up today in my life to have communion and build the body of the church is probably dead wrong. So, what should I do? See everyone I encounter the way Jesus sees them.

Be feed then love then minister. The biggest insight for me was that Jesus was waiting, with a fire, with food, for the disciples at the side of the lake, but they had to come to Him. It makes me wonder how many mornings go by that Jesus us waiting for me, fire built, food ready for fellowship and to feed my soul, but I rush right past Him because of all of the “more important” things on my to-do list for the day.

My Answers:

3.

They disciples continued to hang out, Peter decided to go fishing and others followed. Fished all night but didn’t catch anything. Man calls from shore, they obey, John recognizes Jesus first, but Peter takes action first. Peter drags fish ashore (153). They eat together (still not really recognizing Jesus but having faith)

 

4.

Appeared, waited, called to them, guided, through His actions and words allowed himself to be recognized, prepared a fire and food, accepted their food, fed them

 

5.

Look for the Lord in my work, sit and eat with Him