You Follow Me.

“Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” John 21:22 NKJV

There seem to be two general schools of Christians (with exceptions) when it comes to reading about the death of Christ – those who are overly sensitive (like me) and those who are under sensitive. Both lose the depth and meat when trying to articulate it to others. Both feels some sort of guilt over their response to it. The spiritual battle that still rages around the death is literally felt, still, today. The resurrection is glorious and all that comes after is exciting! But the death is something so spiritual, that you must be in the spirit to get the profound holiness of it. I wish I could say something profound – but only the Holy Spirit can do that in relation to Christ’s death.

Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and give us wisdom. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is from the book of Luke, chapter 24 and John, chapters 20-21 (embedded below the image below for your convenience).  

He is risen! Hallelujah! So many Easter Sunday / Resurrection Sunday messages begin where we begin today! It is so easy to jump right to it and avoid the spiritual struggle of the death. So try to bring in the death – but only God can speak to it. So like the men on their walk to Emmaus, Cleopas and Simon, our eyes are partially blinded to all that the death is. But we are humans, fragile and sinful – all in the spirit are not for us to have, yet. But God will give us some.

Jesus’s appearance to the women – Throughout the Bible, God and Jesus meet women where they are – at a well, doing chores, and coming to prepare the dead (as some examples). But the men, including Jesus had to get away and seek God.  It is worth noting. Especially since EVERY appearance of Jesus that was recorded after the resurrection was meaningful and pushed along a purposeful narrative. 

Then to the men on the way to Emmaus. Which made them run back to rejoin the others. If you get off the path – Jesus can find a way to get you back where He needs you – even if He, Himself, must show up!  So now He has them all in one place…

Then Jesus shows up for all his disciples. Except Thomas. I think this is intentional as Jesus knows how logical Thomas is. Poor Thomas may now, forever, be remembered as Doubting Thomas – But he stands as a living example of GRACE and the path to salvation for all who haven’t seen.  I have not seen the Lord Jesus in the flesh walking, talking, and dyeing on the cross and neither have you. We need the kind of grace where, 8 days later Jesus comes back for just us – to show us in a unique way – to meet us in the way our brains work and in the situation in which we are in. To speak to the one who is single differently than the one who is married. To speak to the one who learns with seeing differently than the one who learns by hearing, and differently than the one who learns by doing.

Then Jesus shows up when they went back to fishing – they did not seem to understand the assignment of being fishers of men, as Jesus originally said to Peter on the shore, where He now feeds Peter breakfast and asks Peter, if he loves Him.  Jesus changed the words from fishing to shepherding – Peter, then, understood the assignment.

I love how honestly Peter is always portrayed in the Bible: competitive, innocent, zealous, and quite a bit bubbling. So, Jesus shares with Peter, specifically the assignment, but also how Peter would die for Jesus.  Peter thought it was pretty neat and asked – what about John?! How is he going to die?
Peter, did you miss it was about your assignment and not about your death? Peter, did you miss this was a special prophecy just for you?!  Now a days, people line up at tent services of men and women who can seemingly prophecy (if they can or can’t is not my point) – and they DEMAND the prophecy over them. These people want to be called out and validated by man – and they do not want their brother of sister to have it – just them. “Today was MY word from God – you got one last week.” <- this kind of mentality. They seek man and not God. At least Peter wasn’t being greedy about it. 
Peter was being entertained. Meh, Jesus isn’t here to entertain you Peter.  But the rebuke did not specifically call Peter out on being entertained… it spoke to a bigger and deeper problem that still plagues the church!

“Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” John 21:22 NKJV

What does my walk with the Lord have to do with you? What does yours have to do with me?  Now, I do draw from my own walk and experiences when explaining my thoughts on the Bible – anyone who speaks on the Bible and their personal walk with the Lord speaks from personal experience and Jesus was NOT telling Peter that he couldn’t testify of his experiences. No.

Just like God meets women in their daily life and men climb mountains and get alone to meet him, and just like Thomas needed to see Jesus one way while for Simon and Cleopas it was enough to just break bread, and just like I was called to write this – and you were called to read it…. Our relationships with God and other is unique to ourselves. We were created fearfully and wonderfully (uniquely) with individual gifts and calling. Do not worry about the person to your left or right – you follow Jesus. Just you and Jesus.
Jesus has no favorites they say – I like to think we are all, each, individually, His favorite – because he made us each so different and special. With special purposes and talents – to work together as a body.
If the hand thinks highly of himself because he can carry so much – what happens to the hand the day he competes with the foot? The foot is obviously beneath him. But the foot carries the whole body, including the hand and whatever the hand is carrying.  Is it better then to be a foot?! Not if you are a hand. Hands are not made to be walked on.

What is it to you Hand, what Jesus does with the foot – You Hand, do what Jesus tells you.

Likewise – let us get some time alone with Jesus, doing chore and praying or getting into a quiet secluded place. Let’s make sure we are not getting caught up on other’s walks and what they do or do not do. Let’s not judge. Let’s not curse them for not following Christ the way you would. Let us not play our Cain and Able – getting jealous of the way others serve God. Or looking down on them for serving God. Do not accuse them of doing this to you, because that is exactly you doing it to them.

Like I have been saying for months now. Repent and get humble. Turn your eyes and your all to God and focus on that and nothing else. Work on your relationship with God, though Jesus, in the Spirit. Nothing else matters.

RELATIONSHIP:
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

MEMORY WORK: This month we have another powerful verse to pick up and swing when you need a sword in your hand! Knowing the Word is our Sword and Jesus is the Word! Jesus accomplishes what He set out to do. Quoting this verse is therefore the very act of walking in the victory!  

Isaiah 55:11

NKJV – “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
NAS – “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the purpose for which I sent it.”
ESV – “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
AMP – “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
NIV – “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus! 

BIBLE READING: Luke 24 & John 20-21 NKJV

Luke 24

He Is Risen

24 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, [a]and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were [b]greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”

And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like [c]idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths [d]lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.

The Road to Emmaus

13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was [e]seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.

17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you [f]walk and are sad?”

18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

19 And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He [g]expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

The Disciples’ Eyes Opened

28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He [h]indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was [i]known to them in the breaking of bread.

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

40 [j]When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish [k]and some honeycomb. 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

The Scriptures Opened

44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, [l]and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city [m]of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

The Ascension

50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple [n]praising and blessing God. [o]Amen.

Footnotes

  1. Luke 24:1 NU omits and certain other women with them
  2. Luke 24:4 NU omits greatly
  3. Luke 24:11 nonsense
  4. Luke 24:12 NU omits lying
  5. Luke 24:13 Lit. 60 stadia
  6. Luke 24:17 NU walk? And they stood still, looking sad.
  7. Luke 24:27 explained
  8. Luke 24:28 acted as if
  9. Luke 24:35 recognized
  10. Luke 24:40 Some printed New Testaments omit v. 40. It is found in nearly all Gr. mss.
  11. Luke 24:42 NU omits and some honeycomb
  12. Luke 24:46 NU that the Christ should suffer and rise
  13. Luke 24:49 NU omits of Jerusalem
  14. Luke 24:53 NU omits praising and
  15. Luke 24:53 NU omits Amen.

John 20-21

The Empty Tomb

20 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the [a]handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not [b]know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to [c]Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the [d]disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

The Apostles Commissioned

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were [e]assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Seeing and Believing

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said to him, [f]“Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

That You May Believe

30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Breakfast by the Sea

21 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and [g]immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”

They answered Him, “No.”

And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”

11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

Jesus Restores Peter

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of [h]Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [i]love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of [j]Jonah, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [k]love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of [l]Jonah, do you [m]love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

The Beloved Disciple and His Book

20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”

22 Jesus said to him, “If I [n]will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

Footnotes

  1. John 20:7 face cloth
  2. John 20:9 understand
  3. John 20:16 NU adds in Hebrew
  4. John 20:18 NU disciples, “I have seen the Lord,”
  5. John 20:19 NU omits assembled
  6. John 20:29 NU, M omit Thomas
  7. John 21:3 NU omits immediately
  8. John 21:15 NU John
  9. John 21:15 have affection for
  10. John 21:16 NU John
  11. John 21:16 have affection for
  12. John 21:17 NU John
  13. John 21:17 have affection for
  14. John 21:22 desire

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