As I prepare to teach this Sunday, I sit and think about all that we just celebrated yesterday as we remembered the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I was able to teach on the importance of the resurrection yesterday during children’s church. You can read it here if you would like.
The question is, now that Christ has risen and I believe, what comes next? During the month of April, we have been focusing on Christ. We began the month with learning that Christ loves little children and wants all people to have childlike faith in Him. After that lesson, we took a look at the Lord’s triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, an event which actually saddened Jesus because those same people who praised Him were calling for His crucifixion just a few days later. He was not the kind of Messiah that they wanted so that tried to do away with Him. Last week we covered the death, burial, and resurrection and now I want to examine what is next for us as His followers. The power of the resurrection sets us free from our slavery to sin. We now have the ability to obey the Lord because He now lives in us and our great enemy, our flesh, has been defeated. In order to see what Christ now expects from us, we need to take a look at His encounter with His disciples after His glorious resurrection. Let’s take a moment and read John 21:1-17.
I. I have a new calling in life because of Christ’s resurrection
The disciples were not sure what to do once Jesus had resurrected. They had not yet been given the command to go and make disciples of all the nations. They had seen the empty tomb and had a few encounters with the resurrected Christ. They had even been taught by Him through the Old Testament prophecies yet they were not sure what was to happen next. They were in limbo so to speak. Peter, the leader of the group decided they should go back to doing what they knew how to do. He decided to go fishing. His old way of life was no longer what it used to be. He had already tasted what it was like to serve in the ministry during the 3 or so years that he walked with Jesus, as all of the disciples were being discipled by Christ. His previous way of life was no longer satisfying like it used to be. Peter was about to receive that new calling directly from the Lord and then they would all receive their commission to go into all the world and make disciples. Are you satisfied with you role in this life? Do you long to do something that matters, that impacts the world around you in a positive manner? Can you stay content with “well, this is the way that it has always been.”? Do you realize that Christ has a calling for you and that calling is possible because of the resurrection of Christ? Are you ready to answer that call?
Peter was ready to answer the call. Immediately, when He recognized the Lord, he jumped out of the boat and swam to the shore to be with Him. Do you have a passion to spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you know how to do that tangibly? It is quite simple, spend time studying and meditating on His Word (letting Him talk to you) and spend time in prayer talking to Him. As you learn new things about yourself and about the Lord, apply them right away and watch how God will transform your life.
II. I want to love Christ
As Jesus spent time with the disciples on the sea shore, He specifically pulled Peter aside and asked him if he loved Him. I do not think that Jesus asked Peter this question 3 times by chance, knowing that Peter had denied Jesus 3 times on the night that He was betrayed. I find it interesting also, that Jesus did not ask Peter to serve Him. He asked Peter to love Him. The exchange is interesting because Jesus says, “do you love Me?” and Peter’s response the first 2 times is “yes, I like You.”. Only on the third time does Peter answer with “yes, I love You”. The question is, do you love Jesus enough to serve Him? Do you love Him more than anything else, more that your own life itself? Or, do you just like Him, similar to the way that you “like” ice cream? Do you just see Him as a part of your life or do you view Him as your life? Is there anything in your life, that if Jesus asked you to give it up to follow Him, would you not be able to do? Your service to Christ will flow out of your love for Him. If you love Him, you will want to serve Him and you actually will serve Him. It will be a joy to serve instead of a burden.
III. I want to serve Christ
Serving others does not come naturally to us. Instead, we like to be served. That is why we want to climb the ladder of success, so that we can have people under us who will serve us. Jesus, the King of the universe, came to this earth, not to be served but to serve His creation. Just imagine, a king who serves his people (replace king with politician to make it more relevant). This is why Jesus came, to set example of service. In order for Peter to demonstrate that his love for the Lord was the real deal, he was to prove it by serving the people around him. Jesus told Peter to tend and shepherd the people around him. In other words, Peter, the leader, was to be a servant to the people around him. Jesus was the perfect example of service. He had to teach His most faithful followers a lesson on service. We find this lesson in the Gospel of John 13. There are a few things I would like to point out from this lesson on service. To set the context, I would like to explain why things happened the way that they did. Since there were no cars during Jesus’ day, He and His disciples usually walked everywhere that they went. After a long day of walking in the dust while wearing sandals, their feet would need washing before entering the house. Usually the position of feet washer was reserved for the one who had the lowest rank in the group. Each disciple walked in and decided that the duty of feet washer belonged to someone of a lower rank. When Jesus picked up the water bowl and the towel, each disciple realized, “I should have been the one who picked up the towel and water bowl.” They all learned a lesson in humility and service (a lesson that they never forgot).
- Do not wait to be served.
- When you see a need, meet it.
- Put yourself in the lowest position (do not think more highly of yourself).
In essence, this is exactly what Jesus was telling Peter in John 21.
In conclusion, who are you living for, yourself and your plans or for the Lord Jesus Christ and His plans? Do you love Christ with all that you are, above all other things on this earth, even your own life? Do you serve Christ daily by serving the people around you? Do you seek to invest the Word of God in the lives of the people around you? Do you seek to serve or do you want to be served by others? May the Lord help us know our calling, love Jesus more than anything else, and seek to serve the Lord by serving others.