Eight days later
245. Jesus appears to Thomas: Mark 16:14, John 20:24-31
Thomas is often called "Doubting Thomas" because he had to see to believe. When he saw, he acknowledged Jesus' deity by exclaiming, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said that we are blessed if we can believe without having to see.
The purpose of the book of John is stated in John 20:31:
These things I have written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Again, we see the key word "believe" in the book of John.
Two weeks later
246. Jesus appears to seven disciples: John 21:1-14
Jesus manifested Himself for the seventh time since His resurrection to seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee. This is the third appearance to the apostles. The angel had promised they would see Him in Galilee in Matthew 28:7. They did not recognize Him until the miracle of the 153 fish. Again, Peter did something impulsive.
They all ate a breakfast of fish (giving credence to the bodily resurrection). In Acts 10:41, Peter speaks of eating and drinking with Him after He arose from the dead.
247. Jesus challenges Peter:John 21:15-25
This is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. Peter denied Jesus three times beside a fire (John 18:18, 25-27). Again, by a fire, Jesus reinstates him three times!
In response to the question, "Do you love Me more than these?" in which Peter responds with a "Yes" every time, Jesus says, "Tend My lambs" (John 21:15), "Shepherd My sheep" (21:16), and "Tend My sheep" (21:17).
In 21:15-16, Jesus uses the Greek word, agape, for the highest kind of love; unselfish and sacrificing that is divine in nature; but Peter responds saying He loves Jesus with phileo love, which is love and fondness for a friend. In 21:17, Jesus uses phileo and can be translated, "Are you even my friend, Peter?"
Jesus had said in the Upper Room: "He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father; and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him" (all of these uses of love are agape, John 14:21). Jesus was to shepherd the sheep of Jesus into believing, loving, and obeying Him.
Jesus said to Peter, "Follow Me!" Love for Jesus means following His commandments in obedience-based discipleship, not because we have to but because we love (agape) Him. Moving to unselfish love like this can only be wrought by the Holy Spirit working inside of us. What blessings follow for those who do too!
Peter would give his life in love for the LORD. Jesus predicted that Peter would have his hands stretched out, and later in life, Peter died on a cross with outstretched hands (1 Clement 5:4; 6:1; Eusebius The Ecclesiastical History 2. 25).
Peter wondered about John's future, but Jesus did not want Peter to be distracted by other people's journey's but to simply follow Jesus. That is a good word for all of us! By the way, John lived the longest of all the disciples and witnessed the Lord's return in the visions that he recorded in the Book of Revelation!
John's gospel ends affirming that the testimony is true (even though it may have been added later by someone other than John) and that there were many other miracles that could have been recorded.
John had accomplished his stated goal:
These have been written so that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and
that believing you may have life in His name.
Thank you, John!
Here are the events that happened between the ending of John and the beginning of Acts:
248. Jesus gives the great commission: Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18
249. Jesus appears to the disciples in Jerusalem: Luke 24:44-49
250. Jesus ascends into heaven: Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:9-12
251. Pentecost: Acts 2
Read about it in Acts 2 of the Bible Book Club, and join me for the rest of the New Testament!
Once I got serious about following Jesus, I was surrounded by people who took seriously the command of Jesus to follow Him in obedience-based discipleship (John 14:21; 21:19, 22). It all has to be based on love for the Lord and love for the lambs that He gives us to shepherd.
So, I have a two part application for you today.
Do you really love Jesus? Are you really His friend?
I want to recommend something that may help You with that love relationship with the Lord, encouraging you to walk with Him day by day, 24/7/365, loving Him, listening to Him, and obeying Him. I know it sounds simple, but that is it.
More Than Ordinary: Enjoying Life with God by Doug Sherman (turns out I know the man that discipled him!).
The principles in this book are super simple. You might think they are too elementary; but if every believer followed them, lives would be transformed! Sadly, most of us do not.
The second part of this whole thing is about those lambs that God may give you to feed out of that love relationship You want the whole world to experience! It cannot be withheld. It has to be shared and reproduced in your life. It is not a chore. It is a delight and you only benefit from giving your life away (John 12:24). I think it an important part of everyone's growth to shepherd others in their relationship with God.
These simple studies can help you with seeking non-believers, new believers, and believers who need to take the next step in helping others grow. Do you know anyone in one of those three categories?
The goal is simply helping others (and yourself) to follow Him in obedience-based discipleship. They are not time consuming, and you do not need a Bible degree for them.
These are the three studies I recommend:
Discovering God - Outlines the processes of Scripture used to help communities of lost people discover God through His Word while embedding the DNA of church into the group.
Discovering Obedience - Covers the process of discipling communities of new believers as they discover and obey the commands of Christ.
Discovering Leadership - Guides believers to discover and obey principles of leadership modeled by Jesus in the book of Matthew.
How to lead these simple studies and Scripture lists for the above studies can be found here:
Discovery Bible Study
Help us to grow in agape and phileo love for You and for the sheep around us. Show us the sheep you want us to invest in. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.