10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. 12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead. 15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.—John 21:10-17 (NLT)
They had caught 153 fish in one haul, talk about an abundance! Jesus came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). This was the third time they had seen Jesus since the Resurrection, so they knew who He was. Now, Jesus asks Peter a simple question. “Do you love me more than these?” Peter answers “Yes, Lord, you know I love you”. Jesus then said to Peter “take care of my sheep”. It is as if Jesus is saying to Peter, do you love me enough to leave these other disciples to go and feed my sheep. The third time Jesus asks He uses a different word for love that is asking Peter how deeply do you love men? Jesus says for the third time, “Feed my sheep”. The question for us then is this: Do we love Jesus enough to leave family, friends and home to feed His sheep? We come to the same question that we must ask ourselves everyday. Are we willing to give up everyone and everything to follow Jesus? 23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.—Luke 9:23, 24 (NLT)
1 Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee.This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. 3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.–John 21:1-3 (NLT)
After some few days (at least 9, possibly more), the disciples decided to go fishing. They had seen Jesus and knew that He had risen from the grave, but the Holy Spirit had not yet come. For three years they had had a leader and a constant companion. Now, they were like sheep without a shepherd. As most of us do when we don’t know what else to do, we go back to doing what we used to do. Peter, having the strongest personality, seems to have become the temporary leader by default. They fished all night without success. “Busyness” for the sake of being busy is not usually very productive or satisfying.. They were most likely feeling very tired, alone and frustrated. When we have been with Jesus for a while and then we drift away, we have had that feeling. Kinda like you are lost at sea and just bobbing around on the waves. We may not know where we are or which direction to go, but Jesus knows exactly where we are and what we need. We have an advantage the disciples didn’t have at that time. We have God the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Unlike them, we are never alone. If you have these kind of feelings now or any time, just stop and let Jesus wrap you in His arms. He is waiting for us, just as the disciples will discover that He is waiting for them.
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. 9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” 11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”—John 19:7-11 (NLT)
Which of the laws had Jesus broken that He should be sentenced to death? Yes, it was against the law to blaspheme the name of God or to lie, but Jesus was, in fact, God and the Son of God just as He claimed, He had done neither. The crowd says that Jesus claimed to be the “King of the Jews” and, in fact, He was all that and more. This claim seemed to bother Pilate quite a bit. He had already said that he finds Jesus not guilty under the Roman law and Pilate has no concern about the Jewish laws. He is still looking for a way to release Jesus without upsetting the crowd. How many of us are guilty of wanting to serve Jesus as long as it is popular and doesn’t upset the crowds? We go to church and we feel safe in discussing our belief in Jesus Christ. But what happens when we are back out in the world again? If our other people’s opinions of us are more important than what Jesus knows about us, then we are guilty of idol worship. We have placed others above God in our lives. This is a sin and we need to repent. It is time that we believed that what Jesus said about Himself to Pilate is also true for us. “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above”. If we truly believe that nothing and no one has any power over us unless God allows them to have it then we should be mighty warriors for our Lord and Savior. If we truly believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God, then why don’t we love Him back with everything we are and have? God the Holy Spirit is God and God is Perfect Love and He dwells inside us. His desire is that we be fearless. 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.—1 John 4:18 (NLT)
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” 22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. 23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.–John 18:19-24 (NIV)
With His first answer to the high priest, Jesus receives a slap in the face from one of the temple officials. Thus begins the mockery that is called a trial. This type of questioning and cruel treatment would continue through the night. When the high priest Annas finished questioning Jesus, he bound Him and sent Him to Caiaphas the high priest.
(There were not really two high priests at this time. The Romans had removed Annas in AD 15, yet the Jews still respected him and considered him a high priest. Since his removal from office by the Romans, five of his sons had served as high priest and now, Caiaphas, his son-in-law was the actual high priest.)
Jesus never claimed to be anyone but who He was. He never wavered or changed His story. He understood and accepted the reason He was being mistreated. He is our example of how we should respond when we are mistreated for His name’s sake. No matter how we suffer, if we are called to suffer, Jesus has already been there and worse. He will be there to carry us through. We should remember what Paul wrote to Timothy: 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.–2 Timothy 1:11,12 (NIV)
We too are appointed as heralds and teachers of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
–2 Timothy 2:11,12 (NIV)
We must be ready to die for Him now, if we expect to reign with Him in heaven.
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.–John 17:20, 21 (NLT)
As we continue to listen in on this prayer, we find that all the things that Jesus asked our Father to do for the disciples, He asks Him to do for us as well. It is the very heart of Jesus that we be holy and that we full of peace and joy. Earlier, He had told us that He would send another to replace Himself. 26 “But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.—John 15:26 (NLT)
This Advocate, this Counselor, Comforter, Teacher, Encourager guides us into all truth. Jesus was God in the flesh and as such, He could not physically enter into us, but this Advocate is God in Spirit. He could, would, and does dwell inside each believer reminding us of what Jesus did and said. He is our internal guidance system, installation charges prepaid by our Big Brother, no monthly fees, no interruptions and worldwide coverage with no breaks. Maybe that is why we say those that don’t have it are lost. It is our duty to tell the lost about this free guidance service. And like any good plan, you get a reward when they allow it to be installed! You get a blessing here and now! But, wait, there’s more! You get a reward when you get to heaven!
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.—John 17:13-19 (NLT)
We have the privilege of listening into a personal conversation between Jesus and our Father. As we read through the prayer that Jesus is praying for His disciples, we get a little glimpse of His love and compassion for them. Jesus is not asking God to remove all the bumps, He is asking Him to keep them safe as they travel the rocky road. He is also asking our Father to teach them the truth. Jesus, as the oldest of all God’s children, is taking the responsibility of being sure that the family is being taken care of while He is separated from them. Of course, He knows that our Father is going to take good care of the disciples, but His compassion demands that He set the example for them to ask. Not only that, but He is paying in advance for their care by giving His life on the cross. Jesus is the perfect example of a servant, a brother, a friend and a Redeemer.
9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.—John 17:9-12 (NLT)
Even though, we call the prayer in Matthew 6 the Lord’s prayer, it is really an example of how we should pray. This prayer in John 17 is the Lord’s priestly intercessory prayer for all of God’s children. The ones that God had given Jesus to accompany Him on His earthly journey and all the others from then on including you and me. God had given them and us to Jesus because of His obedience. They would now bring glory to Jesus and to God. Jesus protected them by using the name of the Father and now that He is leaving, He is putting them and us in the hands of God to protect us by the power of His name. Once we accept Jesus and become the children of God, we are in His hands for safekeeping. There is nothing or no one that is more powerful than our God, There is no way we can be taken from His hands. Paul tells us “there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love”.
We have God living in us, we have God praying for us and we have God keeping us. What more could we possibly need? Knowing this should cause us to be faithful and fearless in our witnessing for Jesus.
6 “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, 8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me. 9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.–John 17:6-9 (NLT)
From verse one of this chapter, Jesus has been talking to the Father. He has been rehearsing to the Father all that He had done in obedience to the Father. Of course, God already knew all of this. But Jesus was specifically pointing out to His Father that the disciples had now accepted the truth of His words and the truth of who He really was. Jesus was leading up to His intercessory prayer for not only His disciples but for every person that would believe in Him from then until the end of this world. Starting tomorrow, we will be looking at THE most beautiful, powerful intercessory prayer that has ever been spoken by a human. And what makes it even more meaningful is the fact that it is only an example to show us what Jesus is doing in heaven right now. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.—Hebrews 7:24, 25 (NLT)
Just think about that for a minute, Jesus, Himself, is praying for us right now!
“What have we to dread, what have we to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms”?*** The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’ —Deuteronomy 33:27 (NLT)
***Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” words written by Elisha Hoffman, music by Anthony Showalter
31 When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man receives his glory, and God receives glory through him. 32 If God receives glory through him, then God will give glory to the Son through himself. And God will give him glory quickly.” 33 Jesus said, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and what I told the Jews, I tell you now: Where I am going you cannot come. 34 “I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. 35 All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” —John 13:31-35 (NCV)
Knowing the coming events, Jesus was starting to prepare His disciples for HIs departure from them. Jesus tells them that He won’t be with them much longer and they cannot follow Him where He is going. Jesus stresses to them the importance of showing love for each other. We are told by the experts that boys join gangs because they feel like a part of the “family”. We have something much better to offer them. So, why are they attracted to the gangs and not to the Church? The important questions for us to consider are these::
Do we show enough love for each other to attract the attention of the lost? When they look at us do they see anything that would make them want to be a part of our group? If not, why not? What about ourselves or the church as a group do we need to change to attract them to Jesus?
4 So during the meal Jesus stood up and took off his outer clothing. Taking a towel, he wrapped it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 Jesus came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later.” 8 Peter said, “No, you will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “If I don’t wash your feet, you are not one of my people.” 9 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but wash my hands and my head, too!”—John 13:4-9 (NCV)
Jesus showed us example after example of His humbleness. From the time He laid aside His glory in heaven to come to earth clothed in the flesh of a lowly human. Jesus was the perfect example of supreme power under control. He could have lashed out at any time and wiped out village after village. But He chose to be a servant to the people. Serving them by teaching and healing every disease. Now, Jesus was preparing to perform an act that in that time and place was performed only by servants. To wash another person’s feet showed complete meekness and humbleness. The disciples knew that and that is why Peter said “No, you will never wash my feet”. Peter could not imagine Jesus, His Lord and Master, stooping so low as to do that. But when Jesus explained to Peter that He could not be one of His disciples if Peter didn’t allow Him to wash his feet, Peter said “”Lord, then wash not only my feet, but wash my hands and my head, too!” Peter would later understand that Jesus was doing this as an example of how humble we, as Christians, must be. Maybe we all need to participate in a good old fashioned foot washing ceremony. Would we be willing to do that for our brothers and sisters?