Destruction by benbenzhou

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									                                          Numbers!

                                       David J. Stratton

                                            4/2010

                                         Acts 9: 1-20
                                          Psalms 30
                                      Revelation 5: 11-14
                                        John 21: 1-19

Introduction:

Are you one of those people who love to study the meaning of numbers in an event or

story? The bible is full of stories that have certain numbers and some of them repeatedly

used. The number 7 is important in the bible as we recall God creating the universe in 7

days. God resting on the 7 th day and enjoying what was created is also part of the creation

process, so re-creation and recreation are to be a part of a healthy life style. The Jews

worshipped the Lord on the 7 th day. There are 7 churches in the book of Revelation.

Because Christ was raised on the first day of the week, Christians do not stress the

worship on the 7th day any longer except the 7 th Day Adventists.

The number 3 is also important in the bible. Jesus was in the tomb 3 days. Peter denies

Jesus 3 times. Jesus asks Peter if he loves him 3 times. Saul is blind for three days and in

that period is praying and fasting.

Today, we need to set the scene by remembering Jesus is not always with the disciples

after the Resurrection. This is the 3rd time Jesus has appeared to the disciples since the

resurrection. In our gospel lesson of the day, 7 of the now 11 disciples are with Peter,

who is back home with dad and the boats along the Galilean Sea.

The men seem to be sitting around restless and purposeless until Peter says, “I am going

fishing.”



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That makes a lot of sense when we realize they are depressed, discouraged and in

mourning over Jesus’ persecution and death. Of course, they know he has risen, but in a

transformed state, which we do not understand, and up to this point the disciples

obviously do not own the idea of being leaders in telling others about Jesus. They had

only been followers. Their leadership is gone. Their Love of their life has gone. Even

though he taught them all that neat stuff, there is too much numbness and grief to do

anything else.

Fishing! Now this something that is hard strenuous work! Any therapist will tell you,

when you are depressed working it out in physical activity that is hard will work

wonders.

So, the others agree and off they go. Their results are zero, zip, Nuthin!

This is nothing but more depression!

As they come toward the shore, a landlubber calls from shore and suggests the other side

of the boat. They try it! It worked.

Those of us who fish know such things happen all the time.

But, when the catch is so large at least one of the disciples figures out who the man on

shore really is.

So, we arrive at the moment when Peter, who had denied Jesus 3 times, while Jesus was

on trial, is now approached by Jesus. It is now time Peter is given a trial of his own. Jesus

asks, if he loves Jesus? Of course, comes the answer. Do you love me more than these?

It is not clear what the “these” are, but I picture Jesus pointing to all the fish.

It is like Jesus is asking, is this all you want to do with your life? Feed my sheep.

This is repeated 3 times.




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Most all of us recall that Jesus called his disciples to follow him, but here he is repeating

the call.

If I were in Peter’s shoes, I would still be feeling lots of guilt and shame that I had denied

Jesus. Jesus is trying to restore a broken relationship here. I can see Peter’s chin sagging

lower and lower each time Jesus asks, if Peter loves him.

Peter has been a real classic failure and Jesus’ questions are like salt in a wound. Peter is

hurt, but he had it coming, some people would say.

Conclusion

So, what do we do with this story?

We can begin by asking, who are we like in the story?

But, there are some other options for us to consider, too. Have we tried anything new

lately? The fishermen threw their nets on the other side of the boat. What is there in our

lives that could be comparable? What could you do that is new or different as you seek

to love and serve God? Who around you needs a friend or some help or a kind

encouraging word, when you may have been too wrapped up in your own world?

It might not be out of order to ask the question, if you have any confessing to make, when

Jesus asks you, if you love him?

One reason I like this story is it shows the humanity of the disciples. They really are like

us. They were called of God just like us. They blew it, and returned and tried again.

But, the very best news of all is last. Jesus did not give up on them or us.

Our God is a God of the second chance, and the third and fourth and whatever number.

Numbers may be important to us, but not to God. God returns! God calls again and again!

God loves us! Go this day finding new fresh ways to love God back!




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