Tag Archives: Presence

Lord, Provider, Risen

John 21
1Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:
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!”
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. 

These verses seem very familiar.  Jesus is providing a meal of fish and bread, but the details are very different than the feeding of thousands. There is not a massive crowd involved in this scene.  The servants then, are the receivers now.  Now it’s a small group of tired and hungry men in a boat returning from a long night of fishing with only an empty net and a man on the shore cooking a breakfast of fish and bread.  

Maybe it was the unfamiliar circumstances or just the distance between them “but the disciples did not realize it was Jesus.”  These men had been “caught” and taught by Jesus but now there’s this “recognition” issue.  It’s easy to understand the physical presence of Jesus on that beach was unexpected but were they already losing their sense of intimacy with Him too?  I wonder about that.  “This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”

Most of these fishermen/disciples would have seen the Risen Jesus with their own eyes at least once before this moment.  But it took the filling of that empty net to trigger the memory of “the disciple whom Jesus loved” to recognize “It is the Lord!”  The most overlooked mystery of faith may well be that “None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord”  because of what they remembered.

That seems like an object lesson for why we set aside these 40 days of Lent.  We need to know and remember “WHO” Jesus is, not just that He IS, in order to have an intimate relationship with Him.  Intimacy with Jesus is the byproduct of remembering what He’s already done so even in the most the unexpected circumstances of life we’re able to recognize His presence.

New Year’s Questions

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I lay awake as an early morning thunderstorm crashed over us thinking and praying about the presence of God in all circumstances and choices without being anxious.  I found myself stumbling over my own words of prayer.  It was sort of the “digital” version of prayer where I had to keep backspacing and editing because it’s such a mysterious thing that the Sovereign God is always present in the thoughts, actions, emotions and choices of the believer. 

I swear I believe that but then I find myself asking for “something more.”  Some  “sign” that will be confirmation my heart, mind, emotions and choices are right because there aren’t enough details to guarantee that.  That insecurity belies what I swear.  I don’t really have a good track record with New Year’s Resolutions so here’s my alternative: Three New Year’s Questions to read and ponder throughout 2019.

• What if the presence of the Holy Spirit really does dwell within us as part of every thought, action, emotion and choice?
• What if it were possible to quit struggling to figure out all the details and be assured the relationship the Spirit has created between God and us through Jesus is enough for “every situation”?
• What if questions are a purposeful part of how God works to take captive our thoughts, actions, emotions and choices guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus to give us access to “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding…”?

“God is always speaking to us, but it requires spiritual discernment to hear God’s voice, see what God sees, and read the signs in daily life.”  Henri Nouwen from Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life