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Friday, March 09, 2012

Grace - "Breakfast instead of a Beatdown" - Mark - pages 328-337


As I was reading the account of Peter's denial today in Mark for my daily reading, I was again struck with the beautiful, scandalous, relentless grace of Jesus.  He is, as John Eldredge stated in his recent book, "The Beautiful Outlaw".

Many people believe that Peter was the source of authorship and that John Mark is simply communicating Peter's account of Christ's life.  That seems very possible, even probable.

I wanted to take a little journey into the story of Peter's denial and all that surrounded it ultimately trying to reach the story of his reinstatement into ministry and the juicy little details surrounding the context of that incredible snapshot in the life of Jesus and the life of Peter.  Mark tells a small little freeze frame of this story, but there are several frames in this reel that need expositing to get the whole story. In order to do that...let me move over from John Mark's to John's account.

Let's approach scripture with the curious mind of a child and pray that God allows us to see something “again for the first time” as it relates Jesus' graceful approach to “human beings who act like human beings”.

John 21:1-17 -  1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 
3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

3 years of Jesus’ investment and it took 3 days for them to go back to their old way of life.  It took 3 days to erase 3 years.

Doesn’t it feel like that sometime, like it takes 3 seconds to undo 3 minutes, or 3 minutes to undo 3 hours, or 3 hours to undo three days, or three days to undo 3 years, or 3 years to undo 3 decades? 

The Mathematics of this passage would indicate that it is 365x’s easier to fall away than it is to grow and stay.

John 21 -  4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”  “No,” they answered.

 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.

8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

Grace defined – “Instead of a Beatdown, you get Breakfast”

…but this was not the first time something like this happened…

Luke 5:4-11 - 4 When he [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
 6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

 8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

 10 Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Do you suppose that Peter’s expectation of Jesus’ reaction was all the more full of fear the second go around?  I do.

It’s one thing when someone does something to you or something horrible happens to you, but I feel so much more condemnation and guilt and shame when “I have no one to blame but myself”. 

“I did this to myself”. 
“I get myself into this mess.” 
“I deserve to be here.” 
“I don’t deserve mercy this time.”

I can’t tell you how many people don’t come back to church because they “have no one to blame but themselves” for the predicament they’re in. 

“Go away from me, Lord.  I am a failure!” is the cry of so many who live in a world of guilt, shame and self-condemnation.

But the Lord replies in the beginning with Peter with “Do not be afraid.” And His reply in the end with Peter is “Come and have breakfast.”

John 21 - 11 Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.

13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Why is it so difficult for us to trust in God’s love?  Why does he need to keep coming back for us showing up and showing us grace? (three times he showed himself to them)

John 21 - 15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
   He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
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Check out this list of 3's in this storyline of grace...

3 years of God’s love,
3 denials of that investment of love,
3 days to fall away and go back to old life,
3 encounters of relentless grace,
3 invitations to back to love.

Why do failure, weakness and falling end up being used powerfully by God in the aftermath to position a person for Kingdom-influence?

A man that is fully undone by this process of sanctification has these 6 powerful influential ingredients, better known as the “behavior of Heaven”.

1.           Humble
2.           Hungry
3.           Holy
4.           Humorous
5.           Human
6.           Humane

And this is the hope we hold out…that when we are expecting a beatdown He makes us breakfast.  And every time we experience this grace, it should increasingly take off the “scales” that cover us all so that we can touch other people with the same grace we’ve been touched with.

Thank you God for your grace.  Thanks for making us breakfast.




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