For Better Or For Worse

  1. Message: In John 21 the disciples have another surprise encounter with Jesus. After three years of following Jesus they returned to what they knew. Fishing. They didn’t catch anything and on the way in Jesus tells them to put the net on the other side and they will catch fish. They had no reason to believe this was Jesus telling them to do this so I’m not sure why they followed the stranger’s instructions other than What did they have to lose? When they caught an overloaded supply of fish they recognized that this stranger on the shore was in fact Jesus. Peter was so overcome with joy that he jumped out of the boat and swam to Jesus. Once again, I wonder how Jesus looked and sounded that they were unable to recognize him after three years of following him. They recognized his ways. Even when they came to shore and he cooked them breakfast this passage says they did not question whether or not it was him because they recognized his ways and not his physical appearance. This is interesting because in the rest of the passage he presses Peter and his love for him and then tells him that he will suffer and die for it. He really had to know this was the Lord speaking to hear that. Also important to note is that Peter asked him “what about John”? Jesus basically told him that it didn’t matter what the plan was for John (or anyone else)- he could choose to let him live a carefree life, but he was not to be concerned with that.
  2. Command: We were called to suffer with Jesus, and though we recognize him most in the blessing, we need to stay close when the trouble comes too.
  3. Promise: Whatever is ahead, if we spend time with Jesus we will recognize his hand at work.
  4. Warning: He is the God of miracles but we are also called to suffer with him.
  5. Application: What I really got out of this whole chapter is that I have to really know God intimately in order to recognize his ways when they look different and when they seem to have a scary outcome. Peter didn’t hesitate but to jump in the lake and swim to Jesus when He recognized his ways in a stranger. That same encounter brought some pretty hard news to Peter and he really had to trust that this was still Jesus telling him these things. I think it’s tempting to hear news like this and immediately say it’s either not of God or even blame the devil. Peter recognized that Jesus was in the miracle and he was also in the warning of hard times to come. His love and trust did not change by these circumstances. He just wanted to be with Jesus. This is real life and we can recognize the goodness of God when it happens in our lives but we also need to trust and recognize him when he appears to us with words of warning and suffering. They are both Jesus and the most important thing is to be with him. He will be with us through it all. Our relationship with Jesus has always been compared to a marriage. This is a great example of “For better or for worse”.

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