April 28, 2013

Where the Lord's Word Goes, It Grows - Apr 28, 2013

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Each year in the United States, an average of about seven million acres of land are devastated by forest fires. That’s a swath of land roughly 100 miles by 100 miles.

A lot of money and effort goes into preventing and putting out forest fires. Firefighting agencies guard our national parks and other important resources. They seek to protect homes and fields that may be destroyed by unchecked burning.

It’s a sad thing to see a home gutted by a wildfire. But even so, it has been long recognized that wildfires do have some benefits. Wildfires clear out exhausted stands of timber and sweep away the clutter of dead wood that litters the forest floor. They allow sunlight to reach ground level plants which serve as a food source for many animals. Some animals even prefer freshly burned areas. Plants thrive on the nutrient rich soil left in the wake of a wildfire. Some trees even have cones that only open after intense heat has melted away the resin that seals them.

Just days after a blaze roars through an area, the green of new life can be seen peeking up through the charred remains of the forest.
The Word of the Lord is like a wildfire. When the Holy Spirit sweeps through a place with the Gospel, along His path is found a trail of new life which sprouts up to grow. We’ll see this in our sermon reading for today.

After Jesus rose from the dead on the first Easter, He sent out men and women to tell people what He had done. That He had suffered for their sins on the cross. That the punishment for their sins had now been erased. That through faith in Jesus, they were invited into the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of sinners forgiven through the work of God’s Son.

Paul and Barnabas were two men sent out with this message. In our reading for today we hear what happened when they took the word of the Lord to a city called Pisidian Antioch.

Acts 13:44-52 (ESV)

44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,
       “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ”
48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel of Christ is unlike any other religious message. Most religions outline what humans must do in order to work their way into God’s good favor. But the Gospel tells us what God has done FOR US to free us from the punishment that our sins deserve.

When Paul was introduced to the Gospel, at first he struggled against it. But when he was finally won over by Christ, he began to tell everyone He could about the source of forgiveness and peace he had come to know.

Outwardly speaking the Gospel didn’t get Paul much. Once greatly respected by his people, he was now disowned. Any hope of advancement and wealth was swept away. When he first started preaching in Damascus, they tried to kill him and he only escaped by being let down the city wall in a basket! Often when Paul preached the Gospel he was met with opposition, and even death threats. And this was odd since his message wasn’t about getting something from people, it was about what God had given them in Christ! Forgiveness, eternal life, and a new relationship with their Creator.

But even with the opposition and death threats, Paul was not dissuaded. In a letter to the Roman Christians Paul wrote…

“…I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (Romans 1:16 ESV).

It was this “power of God for salvation” that drew the crowds to Paul in the city of Pisidian Antioch. Paul wasn’t an eloquent speaker, it was the word of the Lord that intrigued these people.

The most important task that God has given to modern day Christians is to speak the word of the Lord. How comforting it is to know that it is the word of the Lord that convinces people to trust in  Jesus. It is God’s power which does this, not the polished presentation of the speaker. Our words may be stumbling and bumbling, but if we convey the Lord’s message, they will be effective—just like in Antioch. Be encouraged, dear Christians. In the Gospel of Christ there is power—speak  it!
Now, wherever a person succeeds, there are always others who are jealous. People who try to tear down where others are building up. Paul and Barnabas found this to be true in Antioch. While many heard of the grace of God and were filled with peace and joy, there were others who rejected the Gospel and violently opposed it.

Jesus had told His disciples that this would be the case. He told them to expect persecution. In Antioch Paul faced people who didn’t just argue against the Gospel, they also attacked the character of Paul. Our text says that the Jews of Antioch “reviled” him. That is, they attempted to damage his reputation by what they said.

When Paul turned away from the Jews and began to appeal to the non-Jews, their anger remained. They even went so far as to use the influential people of the city to have Paul and Barnabas expelled.

If you read on after our text, you’ll find that the Jews of Antioch followed Paul and Barnabas to the city of Iconium, and then to the cities of Lystra and Derbe. There they incited the crowds enough that Paul was stoned and left for dead outside the city gates. But by the Lord’s hand, Paul clung to life, and went on to preach the Gospel in other places.

You see, persecution can’t stop the Gospel. Even when persecution leads to the death of God’s messengers, there are always more to pick up the work and continue giving sinners hope through the cross of Christ.

Throughout the centuries, Christians have found it an honor to suffer, and even to die, in service to the Savior who purchased their souls from hell.

A second century church father named Tertullian once said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Christian church”.

Earlier I said that the word of the Lord is like a wildfire. But persecution too is like a great fire. One that enemies of Christ think will burn the church to the ground. But in the ashes they find countless fine threads of new life springing up as people believe the message of Christ and are changed forever.

Dear Christians, we shouldn’t seek persecution in the way that we present the word of the Lord. But if through faithfully proclaiming the Gospel we find persecution, we aught not fear it. Persecution can only go on as far as God allows, and it can never stamp out or nullify the eternal Gospel of peace. If suffering for the message of Christ comes our way, we should count it a great honor like the apostles did.

Soon after Christ ascended back to the Father’s side in heaven, the apostles were rounded up by the religious authorities in Jerusalem. They were then beaten, and commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus anymore. Acts chapter five says…

41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” (Acts 5:41-42 ESV).

When the governmental authorities finally expelled Paul and Barnabas from Pisidian Antioch, they went on to preach the message in other places. But before they left, we’re told a curious detail, that they…

 “…shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium” (Acts 13:51 ESV).

This wasn’t a petty gesture by Paul and Barnabas. It wasn’t them saying, “We don’t even want the dirt of your city to continue with us”. This gesture was more serious than that, and more fitting for a messenger of the Gospel. The dust was left as a witness that the feet of men bearing the saving Gospel had been there. They had brought the message of God’s free gift of forgiveness HERE, and it had been rejected. (see Matthew 10:15, Mark 6:11, and Luke 10:11)

During His ministry, Jesus sent out large numbers of His disciples to bring the Gospel to the cities of Judea. He told them to do this same gesture of leaving the dust when a city rejected the message. And Jesus added this solemn warning,

“…it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city.” (Luke 10:12 NKJV).
But even with this stark gesture of God’s judgment, there were still those in Antioch who had received Jesus into their hearts through the message of the Gospel. The last line of our reading says…

“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52 ).

Paul and Barnabas moved on to new fields of labor. But where the word of the Lord had swept through, a trail of believers had sprung to life. Those chosen before the foundation of the world had heard the sweet message of the Gospel and found freedom from guilt and sin in Christ Jesus their Savior. And while the Holy Spirit went on with Paul and Barnabas, He also stayed with those in Antioch to preserve their trust in Christ.

This is how the infant church was born. Where the Lord’s word went, it grew. And today we can take home a few solid teaching points from this story.

First of all, the Gospel message is the power of God which leads people to trust in Christ. So, let’s be sure to watch for opportunities to speak that precious message.

Second, let’s expect persecution to arise when we faithfully speak the word of the Lord. But, let’s not be afraid of it. The Lord promises to work through persecution and to be with us even while we endure the heat of persecution.

Third, let’s remember that God is in control here. He sends His word out in our mouths, and promises that word will not fail. So, like those followers of Christ that were left in Antioch, let’s also be filled with joy, for we have been redeemed. The gift of full forgiveness has been handed to us in Christ. And let’s continue to help each other drink in the Holy Spirit by returning to His word together.
The Word of the Lord is like a wildfire. When the Holy Spirit sweeps through a place with the Gospel, along His path is found a trail of new life which sprouts up to grow. How long the Gospel will remain in this particular place, we can’t know. But as long as it is here, let’s continue to grow in Christ, tell of His deeds, and give others the gift of eternal life.


The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

April 21, 2013

Celebration to Come - Apr 21, 2013

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On the night before He was condemned and crucified, Jesus took part in one last meal with His followers. As they sat around the supper table this last time, Jesus gave them this word of comfort:

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV).

Jesus was talking about the troubles that these disciples would face because they were His followers. But this past week we’ve had many reminders that pain and anguish touch all people who inhabit this sin-broken world.

The bombs that erupted around the finish line of the Boston Marathon ended the lives of three young people. Krystle Cambell was just 29 years old. Lu Lingzi only 23. Martin Richard just 8 years old.

Besides the victims who lost their lives there were scores of others who lost legs or limbs. People who experienced excruciating pain, and now lay in hospital beds pondering how different the rest of their lives will now be.

The Boston bombing is a harsh reminder to us all of how quickly things can change for the worst, how temporary everything really is, and how fragile human life can be swept away in the blink of an eye.

This week we’ve been reminded that one day, sooner or later, we must all exit this world of tribulation, and stand before our Creator. When will our time end? How will our lives be snuffed out? And will we be ready to stand before the Holy God who gave us life in the first place?

Our Scripture reading for today’s meditation comes from the book of Revelation. It is a vision that was given to the apostle John, a vision of people who left this world trusting in Jesus as their Savior from sin. Through faith in Christ, these believers found themselves transported to glory before the very throne of God.

Death is never something to celebrate. But in this vision we see that for those who die in Christ, there is celebration to come.

Revelation 7:9-17 (ESV)

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15     “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16     They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17     For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
       and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
As the vision of this heavenly crowd appeared before the eyes of John, the first thing he noticed was that the crowd was huge. But then he noticed the individuals in the crowd. There were people there from every culture. We are reminded that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was made to take away the sins of the world. It was not merely for the Jews, or for the Germans, or for the Americans. The promise of forgiveness in Christ is offered to all people. And in every nation people have heard this message and received it with joy and faith.

The white robes on these people remind us that all who trust in Christ are given His sinless life to wear over their own sinful lives. They are covered from top to bottom.

In their hands they hold palm branches, symbols of victory and life. With these in hand they worship the source of their victory, God Almighty.

When they praised God for the salvation they have received from His hand, the angels that encircled the throne were overcome with awe. Seeing what God had done for these sinners, the angels fell down in reverent worship to God.
As John stood staring at this overwhelming vision, a figure approached him and told him who these people are. He says,

These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14 ESV).

The image is this. As the followers of Jesus leave this world through the door of death, they enter the presence of the Almighty God to stand with those who died in Christ before them.

The man who speaks to John wants to make sure John understands how these sinful people can stand before the Holy God. It is because they have been washed of their sins by the blood of the Lamb. Because He suffered hell in their place, they now stand holy before God the Father, cleansed and forgiven.

In the presence of God, things are now different for these people. No longer will they feel hunger, or thirst. No longer will they feel the scorching heat of the noonday sun. The gift of heavenly rest and peace has followed the give of forgiveness.

When Adam and Eve first sinned, God put them out of the Garden of Eden so that they would not eat from the Tree of Life and be sealed forever in their sinful state. But now, washed clean of their sins through His blood, the Lamb leads this crowd to the water of life so they will be sealed in perfection. Forever sinless. Forever at peace with God in a perfect communion.

All the sadness of the former world is now banished. Having wiped away every sin from their past, God now wipes every tear from their eyes.
I don’t know how many times this text has been used for a Christian funeral service. But it is certainly fitting for that purpose. In the light of this vision, the death of God’s people does not appear frightful at all. I guess this is why many Christians have taken to calling funerals “victory services” instead.

Like it says in 1 Corinthians 15,

            “…’Death is swallowed up in victory.’
                        55 ‘O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?’
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57 ESV).
But one phrase tugs us away from this vision of ecstasy. “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation”. We are reminded that while these happy individuals have come out of the great tribulation, we still remain in it.

In the Greek, the word for “tribulation” literally means, “a pressing”. It’s like being caught in a vise that has been turned tight and pushes in from all sides.

While we’re in this world we have fear and suffering. Sometimes this fear and suffering grips the masses tightly, like when the Trade Towers fell on September 11. Or when the bombs went off in Boston this week.

At other times the pressure is felt by individuals alone as problems weigh heavily on them in their own personal situations. The loss of a job. The diagnosis of cancer. The loss of a loved one. A bout of depression. Guilt over things done badly. Things said that can’t be unsaid. Responsibilities sadly neglected.

These are the physical manifestations of tribulation in this world.

For followers of Christ there is another set of tribulations that press in on us daily. Daily we struggle against our sinful nature. The apostle Paul writes,

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19 ESV).

Along with our own personal temptations we face doubt. Our sinful hearts try to convince us that God doesn’t really care. That He doesn’t really have the power to help us. That He won’t really forgive our sins unless we succeed in overcoming our daily struggle against sin.

It’s often when we’re experiencing outward, physical tribulations that the Devil pounces on the opportunity and lays doubt on our hearts. His purpose is clear. Just as he got Eve to doubt God’s words in the garden, the Devil wants to get us to doubt God in our lives. The Devil wants us to stop bringing our sins to God in repentance. The Devil wants us to stop trusting in God’s promise of forgiveness through Christ.

When we think of “great tribulation” we tend to think of physical problems. Things that cause us pain of body. But the more dangerous pressures in life are the ones that lead us to sin, and to stray away from God’s precious Word of grace.

As we face the never ending problems of this life, we need to keep Jesus’ words firmly in our minds. Jesus said,

   28  “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
   29  “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
   30  “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
   31  “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
   32  “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
   33  “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:28-33 ESV).

If we push Christ away from us, than no power in this world can help us for long. No doctor, no counselor, no rich benefactor, no one.

But if we hold tightly to Christ, trusting in His promise of forgiveness and life to come, then no terrorist can really do us lasting harm. Neither can any job loss, cancer diagnosis, or anything else that afflicts us in this world of tribulation.

Like Jesus said,

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV).

And if we need proof of this, we need look no further than the empty tomb. For the Savior who was crucified for our sins, was raised back to life on the third day. That same Savior lives on to this very day, and promises that all who are united to Him by faith in this world, will remain so in the next. On the Last Day, we will experience a resurrection just like His. A resurrection to eternal life. A resurrection to glory at God’s side.
Earlier I posed a number of questions to ponder. When will our time end? How will our lives be snuffed out? And will we be ready to stand before the Holy God who gave us life in the first place? Only God knows the answers to the first two questions, when and how we will exit this world. But as for the last question, “Will we be ready to stand before the Holy God?” that we know the answer to. For all who trust in God’s Son for cleansing and life, are ready to stand before the throne of God. In this world of tribulation, may this ever be the foundation of our hope, and our shelter in times of great tribulation.

If we find ourselves in a crowd of confusion, fear, and suffering, like so many did this past week, lets remember the vision of glory which John saw. For the final crowd we will find ourselves in will not be one of bloody suffering, but one of painless joy and worship. There we will lift up our heads to see the salvation we’ve so longed for, the salvation purchased for us by the blood of the Lamb.


The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

April 7, 2013

Jesus, the Loving - Apr 7, 2013

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As the basis for our sermon today, we read the Holy Spirit’s Words as found in…

John 21:1-14 (NASB)

1After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. 2Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing."
They said to him, "We will also come with you." They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. 4But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5So Jesus said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish, do you?"
They answered Him, "No."
            6And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.
7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. 9So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have now caught."
11Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
12Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
Grace and Peace be to you from God our Father, and from our Risen and living Savior, Jesus Christ.

After you get done reading this account of how Jesus appeared on the beach of the Sea of Tiberias, you have to wonder, “Why?”. Why did Jesus appear to His disciples in this way?

On the first evening after His resurrection Jesus had appeared to His disciples in a locked room in Jerusalem. Only Thomas had been missing. A week later in that same room, Jesus had appeared again, this time showing Thomas the nail holes, and the gaping wound the Roman soldier’s spear had left in His side.

Jesus wanted His followers to have no doubt that He had truly risen from the dead. And so, even though they had already seen Him alive, and had even touched His nail pierced hands and feet, He came to them once again on the beach in the early morning.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, the disciples had seen Him do the miraculous. They had seen Him heal the blind with mud. They had seen Him cure leprosy with a touch. They had seen Him walk the waters of a raging storm and calm a squall by simply commanding it to be still. They had seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead. And Jesus had even filled Peter’s nets with fish once before on this same lake.

When Jesus filled their nets with fish this second time in the early morning gloom, it was almost in inside joke. It was not so subtle proof that this man on the beach was really their beloved master and friend. And it was a reminder that He was God’s own Son, humble in appearance, but powerful beyond expression.

I suppose we always need reminders that God is in control. That He is powerful. I suppose this was another reason why Jesus appeared to these disciples on the beach of Tiberias.

But there was another motivation here. Another reason why Jesus came to the disciples in this way.
If you re-read this account looking for acts of kindness, you find them everywhere. Jesus didn’t just appear to teach the disciples a lesson. Jesus came because He loved these fishermen. He didn’t come to teach them that He loved them. He came because He loved them.

Of course you could say that they already knew this. Just like they knew He had risen, and was powerful, they also knew He loved them. They had been His closest friends. But these men, who had deserted him in the garden of Gethsemane, needed a reminder of how deep His love really is. Peter, who had denied even knowing Jesus, needed a reminder that His cross cancels even the darkest of our sins. And so Jesus came to them this third time.

When we read about Jesus’ path to the cross, He shows us the terrible things that He was willing to suffer because of His love for us. He shows us what our own sins had earned, and then He takes that sentence as His own, erasing our punishment forever. On the cross Jesus shows us the greatest thing that His love moved Him to do.

Here on shores of the Sea of Tiberias Jesus shows us the little things that His love moves Him to do.
Imagine Jesus watching His disciples from shore. He knows how they’ve spent the whole night: Casting the nets. Dragging them back in. Moving the boat. Casting the nets. Dragging them back in. Moving the boat. And with nothing to show for it. They hadn’t caught a single fish. They were tired and frustrated.

And it is at this point Jesus chooses to reveal Himself to them again. As the sun breaks on the land Jesus comes into view. And His words to them are kind, almost playful.

He calls them “Children”. Like fathers do when they call their fully grown sons, “Boys”. And He says to them, “you don’t have any fish, do you?”

They wished they had fish. They must have been hungry. They had worked all night, but had caught nothing to eat. Their simple answer was, “No.”

And then that mysterious figure on the shore spoke up again. But He didn’t say, “Better luck next time.” Or, “Well, can’t win ‘em all!”

No, the stranger on the shore said, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.”

Jesus knew that no fisherman likes to get skunked. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the scenery is. No fisherman likes to return home without having seen a single fish. And so Jesus’ first little gift of love on this morning is a big catch of fish.

And then they began to realize  this was no stranger at all. And this was Jesus’ second little gift of love. They were frustrated and tired, but now, everything is all right because the Master is Here. He who was dead. Here He is again.

Peter jumped ship to reach Jesus quicker while the others pulled the full net to shore.

Then Jesus gave them another little gift of love. With that many large fish that net should have broken. It should have at least tore a couple holes and lost a few fish, but it didn’t. It held as they drug it in to shore.

And there on the beach was another gift of love waiting for them. A fire of coals. Fish. Bread. Breakfast was waiting for them.
And the little kindnesses don’t stop here either. Jesus doesn’t say, “Dig in boys”. Instead He serves them. With a snap of His finger He could crush whole solar systems or extinguish the sun, and yet He served fish and toast to these sinful Galilean fishermen.
And when breakfast was finished there were still fish to be gathered and taken home. Parting gifts you could say. One more token of Jesus’ love.
These things were not things Jesus needed to do. He didn’t need to make them breakfast to show that He had risen from the dead. He didn’t need to give them a large catch of fish to reveal His power.

Perhaps that’s what Jesus wants us to see in this account. Yes, He is alive. Yes, He is powerful. Yes, He is God. Yes, He loved you enough to suffer and die to forgive you all your sins. And He also loves you enough to make you breakfast. He loves you enough to wait on you, giving you even the simplest of gifts from the goodness of His heart.
There is a child’s table prayer that says,

“Thank you Jesus for this food, and our friends and our family.”

It’s a simple prayer, but one that reminds us where our blessings come from. Yes, even the little ones come to us through Jesus. And when we forget to thank Him, these blessings still keep coming. More evidence of Christ’s love.
There’s a place in Ephesians 3 where the Apostle Paul says that He wants his fellow Christians to be able to grasp how much love Christ has for them. He says,

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17b-19 NIV)

 Paul wanted Christians to really understand “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” In the account of Jesus on the beach of Tiberias, Jesus shows us the volume of His love.

We know how high His love reached. All the way up to the cross where He died in our place. And we know how deep His love took Him. Below the guilt of all our sins. Deeper than the punishment that we deserved from God. Nothing was beyond Jesus’ love for us. He would pay any price to make us His own. And He did.

Nothing is unimportant to the Savior when it comes to serving those He loves. At the Last Supper, Jesus hadn’t been to proud to wash His disciples feet. And here on the beach of Tiberias Jesus showed them that He wasn’t to proud serve them breakfast.

No task is to great for Jesus to do. And nothing to small that He would refuse. He’s there when you’re tired and frustrated. Listen for His voice. Do what He says. Don’t cast the net on the right side of the boat,

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Don’t depend on yourself.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
          And lean not on your own understanding;
6         In all your ways acknowledge Him,
          And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5 NKJV)

Jesus has already done the hard work. The work you couldn’t do. He has taken your sins away. So now listen to His voice. Dear children, do what He says. And reap the blessings that come from His directing your paths.
I encourage you Christians, cast your minds into the sea of God’s Word all week long. For when you do, your will be blessed with much. There you will find rest. Peace. Wisdom. Direction. And among these gifts of love you will also be continually reminded of the forgiveness that has been given to you through God’s Son.

God’s Son who is alive, powerful, and most importantly, who loves you.


The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.