I really hope you have enjoyed this study we have done on Holy Week.  I know Ken and I have.  We also hope that you have been able to use some of this time we have been given to not just enjoy the videos but to engage the scriptures in a way that allows you and your family to grow.  This is what excited me the most, that this year for Easter we really had an opportunity to engage and focus on Jesus and the true depth of Easter.  In many ways, Easter joins a list of holidays that just bring a lot of busy activities and distractions that do not allow us to center fully on what we are to actually be celebrating which is all about Jesus, a blood stained cross, and the empty tomb.  Yesterday Ken walked us through Easter Sunday, which is such a big deal…Jesus the now risen and victorious King.

One of the things that we wanted you to do as we reflected and studied was to hold these three points close to your heart.

  1. Everything He goes through He goes through willingly
  2. Everything He goes through He goes through for you.
  3. His sacrifice changed everything for you and I.

And as we move into Easter Sunday that third point becomes reality…because of His sacrifice and victory everything is now changed for the good.  We now simply need to believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior to obtain the gift of eternal life.  We also now can walk in a personal and intimate relationship with God because of Jesus taking the sin barrier away…just awesome!

For so many of us when it comes to the Easter story, we may just kind of stop reading there.  We have heard of Palm Sunday.  We have heard of Maunday Thursday, and Good Friday, and Easter…but did you ever read on?  Today we are going to talk about some of the moments that we find in Scripture after the resurrection and tomorrow Ken will talk to us about the thing Jesus asked of His disciples before ascending into Heaven something we call the Great Commission.  Which is so important.

So after the Resurrection, Jesus spends time appearing and continuing to encourage and teach the disciples, even restoring Peter who you may remember denied Jesus 3 times and is just broken that he did so.  You can read of what all Jesus did after His resurrection in the Gospels.  In Matthew, Mark, and Luke we get a glimmer of what was going on, but in John we get two chapters of interactions with Jesus and His disciples which is pretty special and where we will focus our study today and we will kind of go back to Sunday where Mary Magdalene tells the disciples Jesus is alive and work out from there…

John 20:18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Ok so once again think about where these guys are at…do you remember how the disciples responded to Jesus arrest?  They ran in fear…one guy literally running away stark naked just terrified for their own lives.  Now Jesus has been killed, and they are all locked away in hiding just waiting for their turn to be killed by the Jews…after all, they were Christ’s followers.  Then suddenly, He is standing in the room with them!  So…wow!  Let’s go on, because next we learn why so many of us know Thomas as a doubter.

John 20:24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”  27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” NIV

So Jesus continues to teach and build into these men, here I see some real graciousness towards Thomas…and once again pushing in on us to have faith.  Then we get into an amazing interaction in Chapter 21

John 21:1 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. 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. NIV

I don’t know about you, but I can just visualize this scene.  First, we see the disciples back doing what they did before Jesus called them to follow Him, which was fishing.  Another thing, yes John writes about himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved…which…wow, but we will just let that one go!  I have to say what stands out to me more than the miraculous catch of fish, and this whole scene is Peter.  I love Peter’s reaction when He realizes it’s Jesus…just jumps in and swims for shore.  Peter is just all heart.  And just visualize this with me, they get to shore, Peter soaking wet, the disciples pulling this massive haul of fish behind their boat, they get to the shore and there is Jesus sitting by a fire with fish and bread.  The story continues.

John 21:10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 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. NIV

So the disciples eat breakfast with Jesus, and are now doing what they did so many times with Jesus…they are sitting around a fire talking and learning…this had to be an amazing feeling, but you know for Peter it was heavy too.  I didn’t have too much time to really hit on this in my Good Friday talk but remember Jesus had told Peter he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed…and by the morning of Jesus’ death, that is exactly what happened.  So even sitting there by the fire on that day, you know this was weighing on Peter.  It crushed him, that he had done that, and his heart had to be so heavy sitting there because of his love for Jesus.  Which makes this next moment so special.

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.”

I love this and I want you to see this.  How many times did Peter deny Jesus?  Three times…now sitting on the shore around this campfire what does Jesus do?  He asks Peter if He loves Him.  And while Peter doesn’t quite get it, I want you to…how many times does Jesus do this?  Three times…Peter denied him three times, and now Jesus lovingly restores Peter by having him state his love for him three times.  Jesus doesn’t end there with Peter…He continues and tells him the kind of death he would die as a disciple of Jesus, which leads to another classic Peter moment.  Jesus continues…

John 21:18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” 20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. NIV

Jesus was letting Peter know that he will die a difficult and painful death because he is a follower of Jesus which he does accept eventually being crucified himself (upside down as another way to honor Jesus) but in this moment he looks over his shoulder at John (who once again reminds us all that Jesus loved him.) and says well, what about him?  If I’m going to die, everyone should!  Which Jesus quickly shuts down, but is just another reason to love Peter, because he is all out there on display.  He speaks when he should be quiet and probably before he thinks things through, he messes up over and over again…he literally denies Jesus three times, and here once again saying ok if I’m dying make sure this kiss up John dies too!

I love Peter and I love this interaction and was so excited to talk to you about it today and if there is one thing to take away…which there are more than I can cover in just a 10-15 minute Youtube clip it’s this.  God loves you.  You and all your strengths, you an imperfect person who will make mistakes.  God is with you and will never give up on you.  That’s what I see here.  Jesus shows us that no matter how much Thomas doubted, no matter how many dumb things Peter does…Jesus is with them, investing and loving them through it all…and He will and is for you too.  Regardless of your imperfections, and weaknesses…you are loved, cared for, and God is always with you!

Scripture References to Study with the Family:

Jesus appears to the disciples – John 20-21

As you read and reflect with your family today and all week, remember and focus on these three points…

  1. Everything He goes through He goes through willingly
  2. Everything He goes through He goes through for you.
  3. His sacrifice changed everything for you and I.

Next up Ken will share with us Jesus’ challenge to His disciples as He ascended into Heaven.