Luke 24:13-43; Mark 16:12-13; John 20:19-23; Mark 16:14; John 20:24-21:25; Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:44-49
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Matthew: The Great Commission at the end of Matthew chapter 28 in verses 18-20 is so important for us as followers of Jesus on Earth today: "Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."" I like that we see the Trinity in this commission - the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen! The NIV Study Bible commentary today says that Jesus' Great Commission has three steps: 1. Go 2. Baptize them. 3. Teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded. I know the Great Commission encourages many to go on mission trips, which is wonderful and makes sense. However, I believe that often times the mission field many of us are called to "go" into is in our own backyards. Our own towns. Our own cities. Maybe even our own homes. Let us go where the Lord calls us to go - near or afar. Will you go?
Johh: John 21 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible in so many ways! In some ways it is because of a beautiful modern day book written by the late Henri Nouwen titled "In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership", which is based on this chapter and Jesus asking Peter 3 times if he loves him. Has anyone else read this book by Nouwen? If so, please post up reviews in the Comments section below. I know I make a lot of book recommendations on this blog over the course of a year, but if there is just 1 book you read based on my recommendations (other than the One Year Bible of course :), "In the Name of Jesus" by Henri Nouwen would be the book. In this book Henri writes about the end of his life ministry where he is a spiritual director at a L'Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, working amongst mentally handicapped. It is so incredible to read about how Henri learns from what the world would see as "the least of these" and how Henri realizes in his Christian ministry throughout his life he's been fighting 3 temptations:
1. the temptation to be relevant.
2. the temptation to be spectacular.
3. the temptation to be powerful.
I could go on and on about this book, but the last thing I will say is that it is so beautiful how Henri ties his learnings in this book to Jesus and Peter's Q & A here in John 21. If you serve in any way, shape, or form in Christian ministry (or even if you don't :), please pick this book up. You will be blessed by it immensely!
Okay, back to the Bible. :) Below is an image of the risen Jesus from today's readings by the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias is the same Sea, just another name for it) by artist William Hole:
One of my absolute favorite red letter quotes from Jesus in the Gospels arrives today in John 21. Verse 12: ""Now come and have some breakfast!" Jesus said." There is something about the simplicity and beauty and every-day-ness of this command from Jesus to the 7 disciples that I just absolutely love! Can you image Jesus saying this to you? Can you imagine Jesus making breakfast for you on the beach? In the words of the famous Mercy Me song, "I can only imagine..."
Okay, now onto the big question probably for many of us from today's readings is why did Jesus ask Peter 3 times if he loved him? Many commentaries call these passages "the reinstatement of Peter" - meaning that he was reinstated as the rock / confessor of the foundation of Jesus' church based on Matthew 16:16. And that he needed this reinstatement after denying knowing the Lord 3 times before his crucifixion (and the then rooster crowing, as we know...). Interestingly, Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion has the following suggestions on the original Greek used when John wrote about this Q & A exchange between Jesus and Peter: "Two different Greek words are used for "love." The first two times the word agapo, which means devoted love, is used. When Peter refuses to use the same word, Jesus turns to the word phileo, which indicates the love of friendship. Peter accepts this word and admits that he loves Jesus in this way. Peter was humbler now than earlier in his life, and was making no claim to superior love (see John 13:36-37)." In verse 18 Jesus says to Peter: "The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go." The early church understood this as a prophecy of crucifixion. Peter would be a martyr and tradition suggests that he was crucified upside down. Below is a beautiful stained glass image of this exchange between Peter and Jesus in today's readings:
Okay, I realize this has been a long post today... but the last thing I want to point out is that I love Jesus' response to Peter when Peter asks about what will happen to John and Jesus says this is verse 22: "Jesus replied, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me." I think this is a great word from Jesus to both you and me today as well! How often do we worry about others and their relationship with the Lord? How often do we perhaps think that we are so saved, and "they" are so not...? Or how often do we wonder why someone seems like they are so blessed, and perhaps we think that we are not? Well, what does Jesus say to all of this to you and me today? I believe he would say the same words from verse 22: "What is that to you? You follow me." Indeed, let us not worry so very much about others. But let us worry instead about ourselves simply following Jesus!
Bible.org's commentary on today's John readings titled "What is this thing called Love?" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings in John about Thomas' doubts reminded me of the FFH song "Come Undone." Here's a great live version of this song:
Have you come undone? Click here and become undone!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you will be an active participant in Jesus' Great Commission this year. Pray that you will go and make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus has commanded us.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. Download our monthly Small Group study notes for our Chronological Bible readings at this link.
p.s. #2 - Download a schedule of our Chronological Bible readings for the year in PDF format at this link.
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