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Jesus and Peter

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 21:15-19, NRSV)

In John, it is not a stretch to see the above and hear it as we hear it as English speakers. But you see in the original Greek, there are 4 words for love: agape. philos, eros, storge. Agape is unconditional love. Philos is brotherly love. Storge is natural affection or obligation, and Eros is erotic.

Now in our passage above, Jesus says Peter do you agape me? Peter replies Yes Lord you know I Philo you. And then again the same thing. Jesus says Peter do you agape me? Peter replies Yes Lord you know I Philo you. And then Jesus says, Peter, do you Philo me? Peter replies yes I Philo you. It really is splitting hairs on which love word is used. I mean can any human truly unconditionally love anyone? The closest we get is our children. When they do something that is wrong or hurtful to us, we still love them. Even when we may not like the choices they have made or what they are doing we love them, but really that is more Storge than it is agape. We as humans are sinful and when push comes to shove will look out for the unholy trinity of me, myself, and I. We will default to self-preservation which is nowhere near what agape is. Maybe Peter got this with his recent denial of Jesus. He knew his limitations. But let us all remember what Paul said in Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Yes on our own we can not agape anyone, but being commissioned by Jesus we can agape the world. Not us, but Him working through us.

So do you agape Jesus? Feed His sheep!

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Believe!

A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat.’ But his servant said, ‘How can I set this before a hundred people?’ So he repeated, ‘Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, “They shall eat and have some left.” ’ He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord. (2 Kings 4:42-44, NRSV)

God provides for us even when we do not understand how.

Here God feeds 100 people with 20 barley loaves and fresh ears of grain. We do not know how this meager amount of food will feed so many, but God is able to do far more than we can fathom.

Believe!

 

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Carry you

151207Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. (Isaiah 40:1-11, NRSV)

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of God will stand forever!

All of the promises will never cease to exist. His love, grace and mercy will always be there for you.

He will feed you with the finest foods, and the word that is His, and He will gather you in His arms and carry you in His bosom.

He will care for you forever! Just as a shepherd cares for His sheep, you will be the apple of His eye, the one He cares for!

 

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bring together

Bring togetherFor thus says the LORD:
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
“Save, O LORD, your people,
the remnant of Israel.”
See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
(Jeremiah 31:7-9, NRSV)

Shout with a loud voice because God is going to ransom His chosen people from the ends of the earth and bring them together!

He will be with them and will water what needs water and feed what needs fed!

He will make certain we do not stumble and He will be with us!

God will bring the remnants together and we will be His people!

 

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Feed me

I would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” (Psalm 81:16, NRSV)

God tells us He will feed us, with the finest of wheat and honey from a rock.

God will give us everything we need and supply for our hunger!

He will feed you!

 

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compassion

In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way—and some of them have come from a great distance.” His disciples replied, “How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?” He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” Then he ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. They had also a few small fish; and after blessing them, he ordered that these too should be distributed. They ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Now there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha. (Mark 8:1-10, NRSV)

As I read this story today, I was struck with the line, “I have compassion for the crowd…”

Jesus had compassion for them, because they had followed Him to listen to Him for 3 days and they had nothing to eat.

And then the disciples ask where the food is going to come from.

Do we not see that Jesus can do whatever He wants.

We get so hung up on what our reality is that we can not see things from God’s view.

All we really need is to see with His eyes, and have compassion on those around us and He will do marvelous things!

So live like Jesus and have compassion!

 

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what to do

rest areaThe apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:30-34, NRSV)

Jesus called the disciples to come with Him, to a place where no one was, so they could rest. So they could connect with God.

They had done many things, and Jesus wanted them to gather to rest and reflect.

So they entered the boat, but many saw them and beat them around the lake.

So the plan for rest was not going to happen.

So at that point what do we do?

Do we tell the people to go away, because we were trying to rest?

Or do we help them and tell them the story of love and grace our savior gave us?

Not to say that rest is not important, but if we follow Jesus’ example, we tend to the needs of those gathered, and show them grace and love.

Rest will come, and sometimes we have to seek it early or later than we thought. And rest is important, because Jesus sought His quite time with God.

But rest will come, and the people need to see the love of God.

God will provide your needs, allow Him to use you!

 

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