Thursday, October 22, 2009

Forget fishing!

Photo by lute1 www.sxc.huWrote this bible study recently on the last chapter of John's Gospel.

This final chapter of John is an epilogue after the formal close of the Gospel [20:30-31]. It focuses upon two key apostles in the first Church.

Peter is disgraced. He denied Jesus three times [18:15-18,25-27] and has returned to his old life: fishing. But even that no longer works for him [v.3]; he is a broken man. Jesus deliberately takes Peter back to the beginning: the miraculous catch of fish is very similar to Peter’s first encounter with Jesus [v.5-6, see Lk.5:1-11]. Then, Peter had cried out 'I am a sinful man!' Now, three years later, he is more aware of his sin than ever – but Jesus reaffirms his love for him and trust in him. Three times Jesus asks Peter the crucial question: 'Do you love Me?' Three times Peter answers, and three times Jesus recommissions him to leadership. Peter’s threefold denial is lovingly undone; he is given a new start and called again, as at the beginning: 'Follow Me' [v.19].

John is different; he followed Jesus to the Cross. He is even called 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' [v.7, 20]. Peter’s question ('Lord, what about this man?' [v. 21]) may well mean ‘Wouldn’t he be a better leader?’ But Jesus, while not denying that John will faithfully play his part, simply reaffirms His call to Peter. There are times when you must not compare yourself to others, but get on with God has called you to.

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