Friday, October 23, 2009

An unforgettable meal

Christ’s appearances after the resurrection strengthen our faith and also help us understand His new role in the life of the Church. In John 21:1-14, Jesus appears to His disciples along the Sea of Galilee, performs a miracle, and then shares a meal with them. It’s a fascinating story that teaches us three things:

  1. A proof that Jesus is alive. This is the third time Jesus appears to His disciples after rising from the dead. Jesus did not appear once or twice, but many times, to many people, showing many convincing proofs that He was really, truly alive in the flesh (1 Cor. 15:3-8; Ac. 1:3; Ac. 10:40-41). The resurrection of Jesus is at the very core of the gospel and is what makes Christianity unique from all other religions. It is what gives us the hope that Mary Jo (a dear member of our church who just passed away) is now in heaven with the Lord, and that we will all one day rise up together with new bodies, free from sin and defect.
  2. A promise that Jesus will provide. As Jesus had done once before early in His ministry (Lk. 5:1-10), He once again causes a huge number of fish to swarm into the net. It was a vivid way for God to promise He would continue to provide for His disciples, even after Jesus ascended back into heaven! (cf. Phil. 4:19)
  3. A picture that Jesus is tender. Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances can seem pretty strange at first. He appears suddenly in a room with the disciples, but then is gone. He walks incognito with two disciples toward Emmaus, but then He vanishes. Revelation 1 describes His eyes like a flame of fire, and a voice like many waters. These accounts should not frighten us or lead us to think He has become distant or unreliable. Sharing breakfast with His disciples reminds us that Jesus is still full of love, tenderness, and meekness toward His disciples. He has a ‘holy tenderness.’ He cares for us as our Good Shepherd, and prays always for us as the Great High Priest (John 10:3, 14-15, 28; Heb. 7:25).

Questions for thought and discussion:

  • How can I know for sure Jesus is alive?
  • Why is the resurrection so foundational to our faith?
  • What is a fear or need I have right now?
  • How can this passage help me?
  • Do I need to re-evaluate some of the ‘needs’ in my life and admit they are actually just ‘wants’?
  • Am I exploring all the different ways God might be offering to meet my needs?
  • What does it mean that Jesus has a ‘holy tenderness’?
  • What should we expect Christ to be like in heaven? Does this make me excited to go there?

Sunday’s sermon will be uploaded soon to our podcast site for free download.

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