Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows – light! Sunbursts of light!…Oh, they’re so glad in Your presence!”
Isaiah 9: 2, 3
The Message Bible
“People sitting out their lives in the dark saw a huge light; Sitting in that dark, dark country of death, they watched the sun come up.”
Matthew 4: 16
The Message Bible
“We would see Jesus; in the early morning
Still as of Old He calleth, ‘Follow Me’;
Let us arise, all meaner service scorning:
Lord, we are Thine, we give ourselves to Thee.”
John Edgar Park
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It’s the Master, our Lord!’ When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master he threw on some clothes for he had taken off his outer garment, and (he) dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish.”
John 21: 7, 8
The Message Bible
It Is The Lord
“Jesus cannot be our Saviour unless He is first our Lord.”
Hugh C. Burr
What made it possible for John to recognize that the individual standing on the shore was indeed Jesus?
Would I recognize Jesus if He appeared in my world today?
“By (our) reaction to Jesus Christ, (we) stand revealed.”
“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.”
C. S. Lewis
Many years ago, when my dad was still alive, his work and my work kept both of us “on the road” a great deal of the time. One particular week, he happened to tell me he would be in Phoenix, Arizona for meetings and much to my delight, when I checked my calendar, I had a client meeting with the Girl Scouts Council in Phoenix so my father suggested that he come pick me up when the meeting was over and we would go to lunch. I still remember that when the appointment was over, I went outside and began watching the street, hoping to see my dad coming for me. It didn’t take long for me to start waving at an unfamiliar car that carried a very familiar person. Even though my dad was in a rented vehicle, it was the outline of his face and even the way he had his hand on the steering wheel of the vehicle which made him so quick for me to recognize. The ability to know my dad was around wasn’t only a give-away by his facial features. He didn’t have to be in the same room with me for if I heard his happy whistling of some favorite tune or his joyful laughter that was so infectious, I knew he was close by. Although my “daddy-boy”, as I affectionately called him, had many familiar gestures, there were a number of ways that I could “peg” his presence. And it is the idea of being able to “know” someone which is at the heart of our study text for today.
I really enjoy Matthew Henry’s comments on this particular story in the Bible. In his opinion, the disciple John was what he calls “the most quick-sighted” disciple. One thing I’ll add to Henry’s assessment is that it is quite possible John was the youngest disciple so perhaps he had better eyesight than the others in the boat that day. However, what John tells us is that, “the disciple Jesus loved” was the first to share Jesus’ identity. Looking at Peter, the disciple who had rallied his pals for an all-night fishing expedition, John said, “It’s the Lord.”
I can’t begin to tell you how these words bring chills to me. Just imagine you and I had gone through a terribly discouraging night on a dark sea and as daylight broke, I grabbed you and started pointing at the shore saying, “It’s the Lord..” I’m afraid we would tip the boat right over with joy unexplainable!
And yet, as Matthew Henry notes, this beach visit should not have come as a surprise to the disciples. We find that in Matthew 28, on two different occasions, Jesus said that He would meet His disciples in Galilee. While the disciples were waiting for Jesus' appearance, they chose to go fishing. But what I find so inspiring is that Jesus appeared in Galilee, on the beach at the moment of the disciples greatest need. After a night of hard work and empty nets, they had given up and headed back to the shore. It was then that they saw a stranger standing on the beach. Someone they obviously didn't recognize at first. But in Henry's words, this is just like Jesus for as he states: "Christ is often better than His word, never worse. He anticipates and outdoes the believing expectations of His people, but never disappoints them." Jesus didn't just come to the beach and say, "Hello!" He filled the disciples empty nets and for the icing on top -- he made them breakfast, too. Don't you just love the lengths Jesus goes to when He blesses our lives.
It is in this experience where we come upon the fact that the disciple John, who often referred to himself as the disciple Jesus loved, seemed to have a closer relationship with Jesus than any of the other disciples. And this got me to asking myself, “Did Jesus play favorites? How was it that John recognized Jesus before any of the other disciples?”
I want to share again from Matthew Henry’s excellent commentary on John 21:
“For those whom Christ loves He will in a special manner manifest Himself…John had adhered more closely to his Master in His sufferings than any of the other disciples. Therefore he had a clearer eye and a more discerning judgment than any of them.”
Do you want John’s eyesight which recognizes the presence of Jesus in your life, even when the days are the darkest and the path is rocky and narrow? Those who choose to spend the most time with Jesus, in good times and bad, will without a doubt, when confronted by the supposed stranger on the beach, be able to say, “It is my Lord!” As J.R. Mac Duff so eloquently conveys in his book, Memories of Gennesaret, “Love discerns the divine Presence – the similarity of the present with a former occasion led the beloved John to scrutinize more closely the person of the Speaker. Catching up the sweet music of that well-known voice, John was the first to reveal the joyous secret – ‘It is the Lord!’” Praise His Name – Jesus our Savior is still recognized by His children who listen for His voice and are embraced in His love.
“I heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘I am this dark world’s light;
Look unto Me, thy morn shall rise,
And all thy day be bright:’
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my star, my sun,
And in that light of life I’ll walk.
Till traveling days are done.”
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
“O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
His Word shall not fail you He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.”
Helen H. Lemmel
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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