We are at the end of our 21 day study of John. Scrawled in my Bible at the end of chapter 21 are the words, “I want to know you more Jesus, sweetly, intimately, personally. June 1, 2017”. This has been my prayer for us as we have studied together the past 21 days. That we come away with a sweeter picture and more intimate knowledge of our Savior.
As I read this last chapter over again I pictured myself on the beach early in the morning as Jesus builds the fire. I imagine myself snuggled next to him as the fish cook, like a Father and child. I am safe. I am cherished. I am loved – you are too.
This is the message of John, the picture we have received. A God who loves us so much that he wants to draw us deeper into who he is. Deeper into his plan for our lives, the plan that changes us from the inside out into the people he had in mind when he first formed us. Deeper people. Filled with compassion, motivated by love for God and love for others, unafraid to follow into the hard places. Ready to walk the unknown roads. My faith has been stretched these past 21 days as I have had more opportunities to trust and follow in deeper places, places where you see the impossible happen. Places where you see the light begin to shine in the darkness. Places where you know Jesus would walk, where he would love. Places where the things that truly matter lie.
Yesterday I was thinking about wrapping up this study and I pray that we are a community who allows God’s grace upon grace to fuel us to do the hard things that Christ has laid out for us. The hard things that show we love people and more importantly show Christ’s love for them. The hard work of walking by faith carrying our candle into a dark space and knowing Christ will magnify and multiply the tiny flame that we have to offer up. To trust that he takes our small offerings and uses them for his big plan, purpose and glory. To know in the midst of life that it always for our best and that the true treasure and blessing is the great privilege of knowing Christ more every day.
John ends a bit like it started, we see the disciples back at what they were doing before Christ entered and changed everything. Fishing. In chapter 20 they had been told by Jesus that they were being sent but maybe they didn’t yet fully understand that either, so they went back to what they knew – and were unsuccessful.
Failure. It is a tough pill for me to swallow and an elusive idea that seems to follow me. As I follow Jesus into uncharted waters of faith, I often feel I am failing at the basic things I thought I used to do well. But even in these things we need the reminder of John 15; nothing is done a part from Christ. The disciples needed his direction and touch in their ordinary and we do too. With Jesus direction their fruitless night of fishing changed to one of abundance.
My heart twinges as I think of my own life, and yours too. It aches with a cry : Follow. It would be so easy for us to forget what it was like to meet Jesus in the pages of John this past month but I pray and ask that we allow the things we have taken from God’s word to truly change us from the inside out. I pray we will take the steps of faith every day that are laid out before us. That we exchange the easy for the hard, the comfortable for the uncomfortable and the seemingly safe for the unknown. Armed with the knowledge that we are never alone, fully loved, fully provided for, full able to trust.
Grace upon grace. Undeserved favor. So desperately needed and so freely given. This grace is meant for so much more than to cover our sins. This grace is shame lifting, purpose revealing, Spirit empowering, faith walking, bold speaking, trusting the Almighty kind of grace. Let us not lose the wonder of what we have been given and let us everyday fall back on the gift of grace poured down. Let us live our moments in Grace Upon Grace.
- How are you different after studying John this past 21 days?
- In what ways does Grace look different to you as you apply it to your daily life?
- What new habit is God asking you to form so that you continue to go deeper with him in study of his word?