Power Up! ZV7L0490No:34 From Religion to Reality

Read John 21:7-25

“…do you truly love me more than these?” John 21:15

How wonderful for the disciples to have Jesus show up to turn the whole thing around, after such a bad night. When John tells Peter it is the Lord, he in his usual impulsive manner jumps out of the boat to get to Jesus as quickly as possible. His denial of Jesus must have been weighing very heavily on his mind, but he had to wait until they had all finished breakfast before Jesus spoke directly to him.

In this beach scene, Jesus removed the cloud of Peter’s denial. Peter had denied Jesus three times. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter had given up a lot to follow Jesus and he thought he would have a leading position in the new Kingdom of God, Luke 9:46. Even after he had received the revelation of who Jesus was (Luke 9:20; Matthew 16:16) he had very little revelation of what was going to happen and the kind of Kingdom of which Jesus was head, Luke 9:33; Matthew 16:23. As he got to know Jesus, he loved Him more and more until his final spoken undying devotion to follow Jesus and defend Him whatever the consequences, Luke 22:33.

Then came the denial! Just when he thought he was so strong, he let Jesus down and the whole world has known about it ever since!! It is one thing to say we love Jesus, but the real test is our willingness to serve and obey Him, John 13:14-17. Peter had repented (turned) and now Jesus asked him to commit his entire life. Peter had been transformed – his occupation changed from fisherman to evangelist; his identity changed from impetuous to ‘rock’; and his relationship to Jesus changed from sinner to saint. He now fully understood the significance of Jesus’ words about His death and resurrection. He too was learning to die to himself.

Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. The first time Jesus said, “Do you love Me more than these?” (This love in the Greek is ‘agape’, signifying volitional, self-sacrificial love). The second time Jesus still used the Greek word ‘agape’, but the third time, Jesus used the Greek word ‘phileo’, (signifying affection, affinity, or brotherly love). Each time Peter responded with the Greek word ‘phileo’. Jesus doesn’t settle for quick, superficial answers. He has a way of getting to the heart of the matter. Peter had to face his true feelings and motives when confronted by Christ.

Jesus wanted Peter to understand that he was forgiven, but also that forgiveness has to be worked out in a changed life, with fresh direction showing the complete change of heart that has taken place. Jesus wants to hear Peter say that he loves Him, more than any other person but also more than the potential of his fishing business. Was Peter really willing to put Jesus first over and above wealth, success and position? Jesus’ questions really pointed out to Peter where the dangers of returning to fishing lay.

When Peter started to follow Jesus initially he had new goals and priorities, but he kept following, even though he didn’t always understand and often stumbled. He did not become a perfect person overnight, but this only encourages us as Jesus obviously recognised his potential. Jesus chooses people who will be changed by His amazing love, who can then be sent out to communicate that His acceptance is available to all, even those who keep stumbling. Now Jesus is asking him to keep following and obey His command to go to the Upper Room and wait for the Comforter, Acts 1:4. How would you respond if Jesus asked you “Do you agape me?” Do you really love Jesus?

Peter’s main problem was his self-image. He did not recognise how wonderful it was that Jesus had chosen him, that Jesus saw him as valuable, God’s work of art. He responded all the time by comparing himself to others, which is a killer to any good self-image but also shows his lack of confidence in himself or in Jesus’ love for him. If Peter had confidence in his calling he would not have had to worry about his position, (John 18:10) he could just rest in it and leave the problems to Jesus. Even after Jesus tells him the kind of death he would experience, he is still asking about John and what is going to happen to him. Jesus replied that Peter should not concern himself with that. We tend to compare our lives with others’, whether to rationalise our own level of devotion to Christ or to question God’s justice. Jesus responds to us as he did to Peter “What is that to you? You follow me!”

“…Feed My sheep.” John 21:17

Jesus appeared to the disciples on many occasions after His resurrection, proving that He is alive. The resurrection made such an amazing change in the disciples’ lives. At the time of Jesus death they were scattered, disillusioned and feared for their lives. After seeing the resurrected Christ, they were fearless and risked everything to spread the Good News about Him around the world. They faced imprisonment, beatings, rejection, and martyrdom and yet they never compromised their calling. They knew the resurrection was true and Jesus was really raised from the dead. They were all fired with Holy Spirit enthusiasm to go into the entire world and make disciples for Jesus Christ.

Peter proves the amazing change in his life when he gives the first Church’s first sermon (Acts 2:17). An ordinary uneducated fisherman stood before a large crowd and was able to recite Old Testament scriptures from memory to prove to the people that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. He pointed out that they were responsible for His death, but it was all part of God’s plan. God indeed has raised Him from the dead and given the Holy Spirit. Peter’s words produce the results that Jesus predicted (John 16:8-11) and the same crowd who had been shouting ‘Crucify Him!’ 50 days before were now cut to the core with guilt and repentance and asked the most important question any man can ask “…what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

Bold, anointed Peter told them “…Repent, and be baptised…” (Acts 2:38). Peter went on to show the great change in him from wimp to warrior, after the baptism of fire at Pentecost. He was used by God to bring about the first miracle of healing in the Church (Acts 3:6-7) and he and John were the first people persecuted for speaking about Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 4:3). Peter stands before the authorities and gives a very bold presentation of the gospel and clearly points out that they crucified their only chance of salvation (Acts 4:12). The warning they receive to no longer talk about Jesus, only serves to make them bolder (Acts 4:31).

Tradition indicates that Peter was crucified for his faith – upside down, because he did not feel worthy of dying as his Lord did. John, after spending several years as an exile on the island of Patmos, returned to Ephesus, where he died as an old man near the end of the century.

John’s stated purpose for writing his Gospel was to show that Jesus was the Son of God (John 20:31). He clearly and systematically presented the evidence for Jesus’ claim. When evidence is presented in the courtroom, those who hear it must make a choice. Those who hear or read the Gospel of John must also make a choice – is Jesus the Son of God, or isn’t he? You are the jury.

When we are born again, we have been made joint heirs with Jesus. He went to the Cross to give us what He already possessed. He rose again so that we could be recreated in His image. We are the victory of Almighty God! We are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. You are everything to the Father that Jesus is. “I in them and you in Me… and have loved them even as you have loved Me.” John 17:23. God loves us as much as He loves Jesus!! Once we dare to accept that fact, our life will be changed forever. We’ll no longer be satisfied to just sit around wishing things were different. We want to step up to the position of authority that Jesus has given us, to take our rightful place beside Him and learn to operate the way He does. As His people, we are everything to God that Jesus is. If we’ll receive that message, if we’ll dare to believe it, if we dare to put it into action, it will radically alter our life. It will take us from religion to reality!

The evidence has been clearly presented and there is no sitting on the fence. You must decide. Read John’s Gospel and believe!

 

 

Power Up No:34 Challenge Questions

1.  Read the notes ‘From Religion to Reality’. Ask yourself the same question that Jesus asked Peter “….do you truly love Me more than these?” Stop and consider and make any adjustments.

 

2.  Describe in your own words where Peter had come from and how he must have felt.

 

3.   Read the notes “…Feed My sheep.”

a) Do you think Peter took this request seriously.

b) From your knowledge of the Word can you prove your answer?

 

4.  Do you believe that you are as loved by God as Jesus is? Take the Word John 17:23 and meditate on it until it rises in your spirit as Truth.

 

Review all past notes

5.  See if there are any  ChallengeQuestions that you have not finished and do them now.

 

 

6.  Review lessons 1 to 5.

a) Which verse or verses really mean a lot to you?

b) Why?

 

7.   a) What changes have you made since then?

 

b) What challenges did you have at the time that you have not followed through?

c) What are you going to do immediately?

 

8.  Review lessons 6 to 10.

a) Which verse or verses really mean a lot to you?

b) Why?

 

9.  Have you been able to share any Truth in this section to help someone else?

 

 

10. Review lessons 11 to 15.

a) Which verse or verses really mean a lot to you?

b) Why?

 

11. Are streams of living water flowing out of your mouth?

 

 

12. Review lessons 16 to 20.

a) Which verse or verses really mean a lot to you?

b) Why?

 

13. Have you seen any miracles as you have put God first in your life?

 

 

14. Review lessons 21 to 26.

a) Which verse or verses really mean a lot to you?

b) Why?

 

15. Review your memory verses and keep them in front of your eyes.

 

 

16. Review lessons 27 to 29.

a) Which verse or verses really mean a lot to you?

b) Why?

 

17. How is your prayer life? What answers have you seen?

 

 

18. Review lessons 30 to 34

a) Which verse or verses really mean a lot to you?

b) Why?

 

Sum up in two sentences the greatest lesson you have learned from ‘Power Up’.