Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; 1 June 2014; John 21:1-17

Scriptures: John 21:1-17

You can read these Scriptures here: NIV  //  The Message  //  NRSV

Hymns for Sunday:

UMH 362 –  “Nothing But the Blood”

UMH 367 – “He Touched Me”

Affirmation: UMH 883

 

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The Disciples left Jerusalem and went back to their old lives by the Sea of Galilee. They left the lives that they had built with Jesus back in Jerusalem. They went back to the lives that they knew before they met Jesus. At the Cross, their lives SEEMINGLY fell apart, and they had to go back to the comfort of something that felt safe and familiar.

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That is when they heard, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” (John 21:5). Isn’t that just like Jesus, to call on us when we have hit rock bottom? Isn’t it just like Jesus to call on us when we are trying to occupy our hands and bodies with mindless tasks when we don’t know what else to do? Isn’t it just like Jesus to call on us when there is no hope in our heart, when we don’t even know how to face the next day?

Just like that, Jesus was there. That morning the Disciples learned that it is possible to change your location, but it is not that easy to leave Jesus behind. It is possible to run, but it is not possible to hide from God.

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That is why the Disciples were so embarrassed when Jesus invited them to share a meal with them. That is why they did not dare to even lift their eyes to Jesus (John 21:12).

That is when this dialogue with Peter took place.

Peter, do you love me?

– Yes Jesus, I do love you…

Peter, since you are confessing your love for me, then feed my sheep…

That exchange happened three (3) times. In the interest of full disclosure, there is more in that exchange than meets the eye. To understand these intricacies we need to dig into the ancient Greek, which is a topic of a different sermon. All that I want to say today is that this exchange happened three (3) times. In essence, Jesus told Peter that he is a human being, that all humans make mistakes and that it is time to stop moping around and get busy about his Heavenly Father’s business.

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It is totally possible to hear this reading and say, “That’s it, I am going to spend all my time, money, and energy at the local soup kitchen.” After all, doesn’t Jesus call us to “feed” his sheep.

The reality is, however, that we cannot eradicate hunger on our own. The world that we live in is too big for us to be able to do that. What is even worse, we live in a fallen world and that means that when we get what we need and what we want, almost immediately every one of us realizes that we want something else. We will run out of resources before we satisfy the wants of everyone who demands things from us, and we will end up burned out and frustrated.

So what do we do?

Today we heard Jesus instructing Peter to “feed [his] sheep,” to be a leader among the followers of Jesus. We know how Peter put Jesus’ instructions to use. Let us consider this reading from Acts 3.

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Acts 3 NIV2010 Peter Heals a Lame Beggar

Acts 3: 1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.

What Peter basically said was, “Silver and gold I do not have, but I have Jesus and I bring Jesus to you.” In other words, one way we can help others is to help them to find a way to meet their own needs.

{Give a man a fish he will eat today, teach him to fish and he will never go hungry again.}

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“Feed my sheep” (John 21:17) became “I give you Jesus” (Acts 3:6).

We live in a troubled world. Who among us does not have their share of problems and frustrations? We see needs everywhere and it is not possible or even feasible for us to address all the needs that we encounter.

What is practical is to bring Jesus to the needs that we see. What is practical is to be God’s hands and feet in the world around us, doing what we can with what we have. What is practical is to allow the Holy Spirit to minister to the needs around us. What is practical is to help our friends and neighbors in time of their need to get through the rough patch of their lives.

So how do we do that?

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Every time that we reach out and let our neighbors know that God is welcomed and active in this community, we bring them Jesus. Every one of these encounters is a seed planted. Some seeds will sprout, some seeds will not. Some seeds will grow here in this community; some other seeds will decide to go somewhere else.

Our job is to bring Jesus with us to every encounter and to plant seeds of hope in the lives of our neighbors. Most of them already know Jesus. Our job is to find those who made a choice for whatever reason to not associate with any church and invite them to make a home here, to grow in faith with us.

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Today we celebrate the Holy Communion: the meal that Jesus invites us to share with him just like he invited the Disciples to share breakfast with him that morning (John 21:1-17).

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