What is Love?


What is the sign that we are Jesus’ true disciples? Is it that we keep the Sabbath, the test command? Is it that we just believe and do no good works? Is it that we obey the so-called successor of Peter? Is it that we speak in tongues? Is it that we dress plain and submit to the Gemeinde rules? Is it that we follow the ancient way? Is that that we obey all the church rules made up by mere men? Is it that we follow Wesley’s three rules? Is it that we be immersed for baptism? Is it that we follow the middle way or something else?


Let’s look at what Jesus said distinguishes his disciples and see why this old command is new in Jesus.


Let’s see what Jesus said about glory and love in John 13:31-35.
John 13:31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. 33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Glorified (vs 31-32)

What does it mean that the Son of Man is glorified? Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that, in this context it means that Jesus will be made renowned, rendered illustrious. The death of Jesus on a cross has caused the dignity and worth of God the Father and Son to be revealed and acknowledged. The Greek root for glory is doxa from which we get the word doxology, meaning a short hymn praising God. When we praise God, we glorify him. Jesus was glorified by doing something remarkable for the whole world, dying on the cross for all our sins. World leaders glorify themselves by taking from their people for themselves. Jesus deserves true glory by giving his life for us.

Little Children (vs 33)

Jesus addresses the disciples as “little children.” It takes a humble person to see themselves spiritually as we really are, “little children.” Our human vanity fights against such a description. In reality, Jesus is using an unusually fond term realizing that he will be glorified soon, but the disciples face a time without him. Jesus was to face the cross and enter glory alone. He was going to the grave for a time, where they could not now join him. He was also going to ascend to the Father, a place where they could not now go, but would follow him after. In verse 36, Jesus says, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”

New Love (vs 34-35)

The new command that Jesus gives is to be obeyed how? Jesus did not use the familiar division of the Ten Commandments into the last 5 or 6. Though all 613 Old Testament commands are relevant, that is old. How is this new? First, he told them to love one another “AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” That “as” includes a life of service to others as exemplified earlier in the foot washing and taking up our crosses too. Studying the Gospels teaches us how Jesus put love into action (1 John 3:18). Second, it is new in scope. Those who only love their own race, gender, nationality are still under an old covenant love. New love is for all.


Does keeping the “right” rules show where God’s people are? Love is evidence of who we are. In the context of betrayal and foot washing is a new command. Long-time Christians know that being betrayed is part of the Christian experience. Yet in this is also footwashing, where we serve each other in love. Betrayal and denial also exist outside the church. But, real pure love from heaven can only be found in one place as testimony to where God is. Jesus asks us to consider an alternative to worldly revenge: love? What solution have our unending squabbles and wars provided? None. We Christians are called to love like Jesus in the only practical solution to this world’s problems, love.


No matter what values we accumulate in life, new love as Jesus loved, is the ultimate value.

Big Pool Discipleship 101 Week 13

Week 13: Ruth; 1 Samuel 1-20 From Naomi to Jonathan

In Ruth 1 what were the names of Naomi’s two daughters-in-law? Why was Naomi bitter? In Ruth 2 why did Boaz refer to Ruth as “my daughter”? Is it possible he was an older man? Does the kindness to Ruth show that there were some righteous people in Israel? In Ruth 3 what was the significance of Ruth sleeping at Boaz’ feet as opposed to his side? In the custom was there some kind of obvious proposal of marriage? Are we again reminded that Boaz was an older man? What did he do?
In Ruth 4 how was the legal obligation settled? What was the point of removing a sandal with witnesses present? Who descended from this marriage? In 1 Samuel 1 what were the names of Elkanah’s two wives? What did Hannah pray? How would it have been for Samuel being brought up in the house of the Lord? In 1 Samuel 2 what can we learn from Hannah’s prayer? Eli’s sons treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt. How did God punish them? Do we have faith to understand that God will also deal with ministers today who show contempt for his name?
In 1 Samuel 3 what did God say to Samuel? What did Eli say to Samuel? In 1 Samuel 4 what happened to the ark? How were Hophni and Phineas involved? What happened to Eli? What was Eli’s sin? How was Ichabod born? In 1 Samuel 5 what happened to Dagon the Philistines’ main god and to the citizens of Ashdod (today a port city south of Tel Aviv)? What did the people in Ashdod do? What happened at Gath (a Philistine city that no longer exists)? What happened at Ekron (also no longer in existence)?
In 1 Samuel 6 what did the Philistines send along as a gift when they returned the ark to Israel? What did the rulers of the five Philistine cities do to make sure the punishment was from God and not pure chance? In 1 Samuel 7 what did Samuel say to Israel? How did God rescue Israel from the Philistines attack? What kind of judge would we call Samuel today? In 1 Samuel 8 who had Israel really rejected in asking for a king? What would be the manner of a human national leader? Notice words like “take… make… his… best… slaves…” Does this also apply in principle to modern national leaders?
In 1 Samuel 9 what characteristics of Saul are noted? Are people more impressed by outward appearance than inward character? A seer was a prophet who saw things. Do we know people who are highly respected and what they say comes true? What happened between Saul and Samuel? In 1 Samuel 10 what did Samuel do and say to Saul? How long was he to wait? In 1 Samuel 11 what city did Saul rescue? How was Saul confirmed as king?
In 1 Samuel 12 what history did Samuel rehearse with Israel? What did he encourage them to do? What did Samuel call failing to pray for them? When we fail to pray for others, what is it? In 1 Samuel 13 how long did Saul reign? What did Saul do presumptuously? What was the result? In 1 Samuel 14 what did Jonathan and his armor bearer do? What happened with him and his father?
In 1 Samuel 15 how did Saul fail God at Amalek? What did Samuel say? Complete the sentence: to obey is better than ________. In 1 Samuel 16 what did God say about Eliab in verse 7? Who was anointed king to succeed Saul? How did David come to play the lyre for Saul? The harp or lyre (Hebrew kinnor) was a small stringed instrument with ten strings according to Jewish historian Josephus. In 1 Samuel 17 can you summarize the story of David and Goliath in your own words? Fill in the blank: it is not by ______ or ______ that the Lord saves. How could we say that using modern weapons?
In 1 Samuel 18 why did the relationship between David and Saul worsen? In 1 Samuel 19 what did Saul try to do to David? How did Mikal deceive the soldiers? In 1 Samuel 20 can two men love each other without it being sexual? How did Jonathan warn David?

Who is Jesus?


Who is Jesus?


Let’s discuss one of the most important questions of Christianity, who is Jesus?


We will look at John 10:22-30 and find an answer.
John 10:22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

What is the Feast of Dedication? (vs 22)

Hanukkah was not one of the festivals commanded for ancient Israel in Leviticus. It was an added festival, celebrating a later event than the those surrounding the Exodus. It is also called the Feast of Lights or Dedication, referring to the second temple in Jerusalem. Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes looted the temple and sacrificed pigs to Zeus, provoking a revolt. 1 Maccabees which is found in some Bibles, tells the story of an 8 day celebration of the defeat of Antiochus. A leader of the revolt, Judah the Hammer, ordered the Temple cleansed but only enough oil for the Menorah to burn one day was found. By a miracle the oil lasted 8 days, in time for a fresh supply.

What Do our Works Say? (vs 24)

The question “Was Jesus the Messiah?” kept the Jews between doubt and hope.1 The suspense was “killing” them. Jesus was careful because anyone who said he was the Messiah would have been put out of the Temple. They had already decided that he was not, but like many reporters, wanted a simplistic yes or no answer instead of another parable. Jesus wisely had not given them yes or no answers. These Jews were similar to some Christians who may say, don’t confuse me with the Bible, my mind is made up. Jesus seems to be saying, look at my deeds and come to your own conclusion about my role. Do our works tell the world that we are Christians?
1 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

Who is Jesus? (vs 25-27)

The answer to who Jesus is can only come to those who are his sheep. They will know. We have been given to Jesus by the Father. Because of that, it is impossible for anyone to snatch us from Jesus’ hand. Hanukkah reminded the Jews of a political savior who liberated them from the Seleucids and Antiochus Epiphanes. Now under Roman oppression, an immoral minority became fabulously wealthy as most Jews sunk into poverty. Jesus’ works of healing and preaching about a heavenly kingdom did not fit their hopes. They looked for a liberating warrior. God’s true sheep know that his kingdom is hidden in a ministry to the needy, by saving the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and imprisoned.

Jesus’ Valuable Sheep (vs 28-29)

An alternative rendering of John 10:28-29 is found in several translations of the Bible, that the Father has given Jesus a gift greater than all things (his flock, us). We guard and protect the things that we value most and so does God. Jesus values his sheep as a very precious gift from the Father. No one can snatch them out of his hand. No one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. By deduction, Jesus’ hand and the Father’s hand are doing the same thing. Both esteem us as being of inestimable value. We are not worthless sinners without hope. We are highly valued. This ought to be a substantial word of comfort and guarantee to us.

I and the Father are one (vs 30)

Jesus and the Father are one, the same word as is used in the Shema Yisrael (Deuteronomy 6:4), the Lord is one. God’s angels are his angels (Matthew 13:41; Luke 12:8-9; 15:10). He is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). The Word (Jesus) was God (John 1:1). Jesus is an exact representation of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:2-8). In Jesus the fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 1:15-20; 2:9). Jesus is the judge (2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Jesus had the form or nature of God before birth (Philippians 2:5-11). Thomas called Jesus my Lord and my God (John 20:28), a central tenet of true Christianity.


The answer to who is Jesus is one main difference between true Christianity and heresy. What unites Christians is the idea that Jesus is God. Jesus said that his works showed who he is? Do our deeds show where our faith lies?

Big Pool Discipleship 101 Week 12

Week 12: Judges 3-21 From Othniel to Benjamite Brides

Read the Bible at home and discuss the following questions in a group. In Judges 3 why did God want Israel to learn war? What were the Baals and Asherahs? How long was Israel under occupation by a northern Mesopotamian king? Describe Othniel’s character. How long were they subject to Moab? Describe Ehud. What did Shamgar do? In Judges 4 how long did Jabin oppress Israel? Describe Deborah’s character. How did she win Barak’s support? How did Jael kill Jabin’s general Sisera? In Judges 5 how many years did Israel have peace?
In Judges 6 how long did Midian oppress Israel? Describe Gideon’s character. How did God encourage him? In Judges 7 why and how did God thin out the ranks in Israel’s army? How did they win? In Judges 8 what did the officials of Succoth and Peniel refuse? How long was there peace under Gideon? What happened when he died?
In Judges 9 what did Abimelech do? Compare Abimelech and his brother Jotham. What parable did Jotham say? How did justice come? In Judges 10 how long was Israel oppressed by the Philistines and Ammonites? In Judges 11 what foolish and perverse vow did Jephthah make? Describe Jephthah’s character.
In Judges 12 what caused civil war with Ephraim? What word gave Ephraimites away? How is this word used today? In Judges 13 how long was Israel oppressed by the Philistines? What is a Nazirite (see Numbers 6)? How did the childless woman named by tradition as Hazelelponi (1 Chronicles 4:3) and her husband Manoah have a child? Was it ancient custom for the wife to name the child? What did she call him? In Judges 14 what was Samson’s riddle and what does “plowed with my heifer” mean? Describe Samson’s character.
In Judges 15 what made Samson so angry? What did he do with a donkey’s jawbone? In Judges 16 what was the story with Delilah? How did God finally grant victory over the Philistines, despite Samson’s rebellious attitude? Might things have been different if Samson was more obedient? In Judges 17 what is the story of Micah’s idols and his Levite? Describe Micah’s character.
In Judges 18 what did the Danites do with Micah’s idols and his Levite? In Judges 19 what is the dreadful story of a Levite and his concubine in Gibeah? In Judges 20 what did Israel do to Gibeah?

In Judges 21 how did Israel provide wives for the remaining Benjamites? What was life like for Israel without a king? Was there a uniform national morality? Have we noticed any patterns in the continual rounds of national punishment so far? Does the character of the judges seem to be getting worse each generation? Does Israel’s morality seem to be getting worse and worse? Is a cycle of sin, foreign domination, repentance, salvation and peace a helpful summary of the stories? What other words would you use?

Big Pool Discipleship 101 Week 11

Week 11: Joshua 5-24; Judges 1-2 From Circumcision to Rebellion

In Joshua 5 why did the other nations fear Israel but not convert? Are there medical benefits to circumcision? What does circumcision picture spiritually? Who was the man with the sword? In Joshua 6 how many times did they march around Jericho each day? What happened to the city? What were the devoted things? What happened to Rahab and her family? In Joshua 7 what happened at Ai (pronounced “Aa-ee”)? What was Achan’s sin? How serious does God take stealing from the church treasury? Do we have a similar New Testament story?
In Joshua 8 what military strategy did Israel employ? What happened on Mt Ebal? In Joshua 9 what was the Gibeonite deception? What was the Israelites’ mistake? What was the Gibeonites’ curse? In Joshua 10 how did Joshua defeat five Amorite kings? What did God do? What is the difference between Israel conquering and Europeans conquering the new world? Does God’s direct command have anything to do with it?
In Joshua 11 what did God say about the northern kings and their large army? Of all the tribes in the land, who was the only one that made a treaty with Israel? In Joshua 12 which 2½ tribes settled east of the Jordan? How many kings in all were conquered west of the Jordan? In Joshua 13 what land was still to be taken? Is some of it still unconquered today?
In Joshua 14 how many tribes had inheritance west of the Jordan? Was this society more equal than ours? How? What was Caleb’s inheritance? Why? In Joshua 15 to whom did Caleb promise his daughter Aksah? Can you find any of the cities mentioned on a map on the internet? Who were the Jebusites? What happened to them? In Joshua 16 who were the people of Gezer? What were they forced to do?
In Joshua 17 who was Zelophehad? How many daughters did he have? What decision had been rendered in his case? What did the Manassites fail to do? What was their solution? What did Ephraim complain about? What was Joshua’s decision? In Joshua 18 how did Joshua distribute the remaining land? How did the first lot come up? Where was Benjamin’s territory? In Joshua 19 where was Simeon’s territory? What town did Joshua inherit?
In Joshua 20 what was a city of refuge for? What was the responsibility of the elders of that city? When could a defendant return home? In Joshua 21 were the towns for the priests in one clan or scattered throughout? In Joshua 22 what blessing did he give the 2½ tribes as they returned home? What was the controversy over an altar? How was it resolved?
In Joshua 23 what was his farewell? What was his warning? What was his promise? In Joshua 24 what happened at Shechem? What did Joshua tell the Israelites to choose? How old was he when he died? Where was he buried (the tomb is a tourist site in the hills of Ephraim north of Jerusalem)? Congratulations! You have finished Joshua.
In Judges 1 from which tribe were fighting men chosen? What deal did Aksah make with her father Caleb? What deal did the tribe of Joseph make in Bethel? What did Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher and Naphtali fail to do? In Judges 2 what was the angel’s message at Bokim (weepers)? What grave sins did Israel commit? What did God do?

Big Pool Discipleship 101 Week 10

Week 10: Deuteronomy 17-Joshua 4 From Witnesses to Crossing Jordan

In Deuteronomy 17 how many witnesses were necessary for a capital crime? Why were witnesses required to also be executioners? How were undecided lower court cases handled? What would be the purpose in a king writing out his own copy of the Bible? In Deuteronomy 18 how were the Levites to be cared for? What specific occult practices were forbidden? Who should Israel listen to instead of sorcerers? How could they discern a false prophet? In Deuteronomy 19 what were the rules for the cities of refuge? What was to happen to false witnesses?
In Deuteronomy 20 what were the rules for going to war? Who was excused from military service? What was the reason for completely destroying the enemy? In Deuteronomy 21 what was the rite for an unsolved murder? What was required before marriage between an Israelite and a woman from the enemy’s side? How was the right of a firstborn child to an unloved wife upheld? What was the punishment for teenage rebellion? How often was this probably carried out in reality? What law related to Jesus death? In Deuteronomy 22 what were the laws of lost property, crossdressing, birds nests, rooftop safety, mixed seeds, unequal yokes, mixed fabrics, and tassels? What were the laws of proof of virginity, adultery, and rape?
In Deuteronomy 23 what were the laws of castration, forbidden marriages, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, wet dreams, waste disposal, runaway slaves, ritual prostitution, pledges, and eating a neighbor’s crop? In Deuteronomy 24 what are the laws of remarriage, military service during the honeymoon year, collateral, kidnapping for slavery, quarantine, daily wages, foreigners, orphans, widows, and harvesting? In Deuteronomy 25 what are the laws of court cases, muzzling oxen, levirate marriages, family brawls, crooked weighing machines, and Amalek?
In Deuteronomy 26 what are the laws of firstfruits and the third year tithe? What pledge was Israel to make? In Deuteronomy 27 what was to be set up on Mt Ebal? Where did the rite of the blessings and cursings take place? The distance between the two mounts was a little over 2 miles (not quite 4 kilometers). Deuteronomy 28 continues the rite. What national blessings and cursings would God send? Does God hold modern nations to similar standards?
In Deuteronomy 29 what covenant did God promise Israel? In Deuteronomy 30 how would Israel’s prosperity be restored after a period of national punishment? Is modern politics relevant to this discussion? When God set before Israel life and death, blessings and cursings, what did he mean? In Deuteronomy 31 how did God encourage the next national leader? What was to be read at sacred assemblies? What was prophesied?
In Deuteronomy 32 what can we learn from Moses’ song? What reasons did God give that Moses could not enter the land? In Deuteronomy 33 what blessings did Moses pronounce on each tribe? In Deuteronomy 34 what is Moses’ status among the prophets of Israel? What gift did the Holy Spirit give to Joshua?

In Joshua 1 what did God say to encourage Joshua? What did the 2½ tribes say? In Joshua 2 Shittim means The Acacias. In North America familiar acacia trees are the eastern redbud and black locust. How was Rahab’s choice between two evils the better one? In Joshua 3 how did Israel cross the Jordan? In Joshua 4 what did the monument mean? What did they do with the ark?

Big Pool Discipleship 101 Week 09

Week 9: Numbers 35-Deuteronomy 16 from Levite Towns to Asherah Poles

In Numbers 35 what was the town plan for the Levites? What were the cities of refuge? How many were there? How do they compare to a modern prison system? How does the assembly compare to a modern jury? Who was the avenger? In Numbers 36 what was the additional situation with Zelophehad’s five daughters? How was it resolved? Congratulations! You have finished Numbers.
In Deuteronomy 1 what was about to happen? What history did Moses rehearse with the people about the judges, twelve scouts, and Israel’s rebellion? In Deuteronomy 2 how long did Israel wander in the wilderness? Who did Israel first defeat in conquering the land? In Deuteronomy 3 who did Israel conquer next? Why would a loving God have everyone killed? Will they eventually receive mercy? Does Revelation 21:4 give us some kind of clue? On what side of the Jordan was the inheritance of the 2½ tribes? Why was Moses forbidden to cross the Jordan?
In Deuteronomy 4 what did God say in preparation for the second giving of the law? How would you summarize idolatry? How does this chapter describe God? How many cities of refuge were east of the Jordan? In Deuteronomy 5 can you summarize the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments? Deuteronomy 6-11 expound upon having no other gods. In Deuteronomy 6 how is the commandment no other gods expounded? How does verse 4 relate to our later understanding of the Trinity? What do verses 5-9 teach parents? What do verses 10-12 teach about the danger of wealth?
In Deuteronomy 7 what reason does God give for destroying the Canaanites and their temples? How does this relate to us being serious about sin? How does it relate to having no other gods? How does Deuteronomy 8 relate to having no other gods? When we become wealthy what must we be careful not to forget? In Deuteronomy 9 after we become wealthy what must we not forget about ourselves? What did Moses remind the people about the golden calf? How does this chapter relate to having no other gods?
In Deuteronomy 10 what did Moses remind the people about the tablets? How does fearing God relate to having no other gods? How does circumcising our hearts relate to the New Testament? In Deuteronomy 11 how do loving and obeying God relate to having no other gods? What are the blessing and curse? Deuteronomy 12 relates to having no graven images. How? What was the importance of a central worship place?

How does Deuteronomy 13 expound upon having no other gods? In Deuteronomy 14 what foods were clean and unclean? What was what Jews call the second tithe? What was the third or third year tithe? In Deuteronomy 15 apart from a land sabbath what was the seventh year for? Could this be applied today? Could loans be structured to account for a seventh year? Indentured servitude was a way to pay off debts. How was it structured? Which bank today would supply liberal gifts when a debt is paid? What did the firstborn picture? In Deuteronomy 16 what were the three festival seasons? What are the three main Christian festival seasons?

Breakfast with Jesus


Is anything holding us back?


Let’s find out how we put the mistakes of the past behind us and get moving forward.


Let’s look at John 21:1-19 and discuss how Jesus helped his disciples move forward after his resurrection.
John 21:1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as 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. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat 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.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love [agapas] me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love [philo] you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love [agapas] me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love [philo] you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love [phileis] me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love [phileis] me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love [philo] you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, 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!”
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

1 When Experts Fail (vs 1-5)

Jesus’ disciples failed him during his trial and crucifixion. They returned to their fishing trade and failed again. This world is run by incredibly intelligent and fabulously educated people who are failing miserably. We are no different than Jesus’ first disciples. With Jesus’ guidance, they made an enormous catch. He invited them put their fish with his bread for breakfast. This is one of life’s great lessons, that we must learn over and over. Whatever we accomplish, whatever talents we may have, it all comes from God and we need him every hour. Jesus then recommissioned Peter. He denied Jesus 3 times. Jesus reconfirmed his commission 3 times. We all fail many times and need Jesus’ reconfirmation time and again.

2 Jesus Business Consultant (vs 6)

After Jesus’ resurrection the disciples went fishing without success. A common net was a flax circle about 6 yards or meters across with small lead weights around the outside. It was thrown to open up as it hit the water. The weights dropped and the net encircled the fish. Men then jumped into the water to retrieve the net, often fishing naked. The fish were then sorted into clean and unclean and counted so that each received a fair share and to pay their taxes. Day laborers usually helped with the duties. Fishermen probably knew the local Aramaic language, Hebrew and also Greek, the language of trade. Jesus arrived and advised the experts. Would we let Jesus advise our businesses?
Reference: Elizabeth McNamer. "Cast Your Nets: Fishing at the Time of Jesus" www.AmericanCatholic.org. n.p., July 2004. Web. 14 January 2013.

3 Breakfast with Jesus (vs 8-13)

Would the resurrected Jesus bless us like he did his disciples? They had all acted like cowards, felt guilty and ashamed, and so went home. Jesus provided fish and invited them to breakfast. It was time to move on from their grief and fear. They were no different than any of us. We love Jesus, but sometimes are afraid. With three confirmations of his love Peter symbolically undid his three denials. Each time Jesus reminded him of the next step. There was a job still to be done. Like Peter we are forgiven and invited to move on to the job ahead. No need for guilt, shame and fear. The resurrected Jesus invites us to breakfast, then feed his sheep.

4 The Agapé Myth (vs 15-17)

Is agapé divine love and philia a mere human love? No. The Greek word agapé can also mean a wrong kind of love. Men loved darkness (John 3:19). They loved the praise of men more than God (John 12:43). Someone loved this world more than Paul (2 Timothy 4:10). If Peter loved Jesus then he was expected to show it through an act of brotherly love, “feed my sheep.” (John 21:1-19). There is no greater love [agapén] than to die for our brothers/friends [philon] (John 15:13). Jesus also showed that he expects his followers to show love to him in acts of brotherly love towards the needy, like foreigners, homeless, sick and prisoners (Matthew 25:31-46).

5 Gospel of Second Chances (vs 15-17)

Does God give second chances, recovery from our mistakes? Jesus reinstated Peter after he messed up. After three years of apprenticeship in Jesus’ personal training program, Peter blew it completely at the last minute. How many of us have completely ruined something in life? Perhaps it was our children that we hurt deeply in a family injustice, or a spouse because of a betrayal or a friend because of a confidence we failed to keep. Like Peter, we too have denied Jesus Christ. Forgiveness does not mean that we trust completely the one who has hurt us deeply, but it does mean that we give them a second chance if they are willing. If we want it, God is willing.


There is work to be done. Let’s take time in prayer to discuss with God our many failures in life and ask for forgiveness. Then let’s move on. There are sheep to be fed. One person cannot do it alone. We are all needed.

Peace Be with You


When Jesus appeared to his disciples two Sundays in a row after his resurrection what happened and what did he say?


Let’s understand that peace from heaven granted to us in our doubts.


We will look at John 20:19-23 and Jesus’ appearance to ten of the eleven remaining disciples and then to Thomas.
John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, 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’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 Now Thomas (also known as 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.” 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.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

1. Peace in Our Fears

Jesus first appeared to the disciples on Resurrection Sunday. Then a week later, also on a Sunday, he appeared through locked doors to his fearful disciples and stood among them. Sunday meetings after the Jewish day of rest, in memory of the resurrection, became an early practice in the church. Jesus’ resurrected body exhibited the wounds of the flesh. He came to their fears and brought them peace from heaven. Three times Jesus proclaimed peace to his disciples. Is peace preparation for being sent, receiving the Holy Spirit, believing and by believing having life in his name? First came the resurrection, then blessings of peace to those who had no peace and weeks later the power of the Holy Spirit.

2. Sent Proclaiming Heaven’s Forgiveness

John 20:23 does not support confessing to a priest who forgives on God’s behalf. It is not an ancient practice, but became popular from the 7th to 11th centuries. There is not one Scripture to indicate that this verse was then understood to be a priest-confessor act. Verse 23 literally says in Greek, If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have already been forgiven. They were already forgiven at the cross. It also says is that as the Father sent Jesus, so he sent them. Who were they? They were the 11 apostles specifically. Does this also apply to us? Anyone who is sent in power of the Holy Spirit is sent with this message of forgiveness.

3. Faith and Forgiveness

Does Jesus here contradict his instructions mandating forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer? Forgiveness relates directly to the gospel message. It is a message of forgiveness of sin to those who accept it. It also contains the message that those who refuse it will not be forgiven. Thomas saw Jesus’ wounds, but faith is evidence of things without visible proof (Hebrews 11:1), a mystery. It is written that we might believe and that believing we might have life through his name. All the disciples doubted, not just Thomas. Faith is given to us by God. God entrusts incredible authority to faulty disciples. We accept the message of Jesus, delivered by ordinary faulty people, and will be forgiven when we do.

4. MY Lord and MY God

At the cross all the disciples of Jesus abandoned him. Jesus appeared to them and offered his peace. Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” This was very personal. He did not say OUR Lord or even THE Lord, but MY Lord and MY God. This is what is meant when people speak of a personal relationship with God. Jesus then went on to bless those of us who would believe even though we have not seen, at least not with our physical eyes. We see Jesus but not with our eyes. When we see Jesus with inner spiritual sight, we like they believe. And as Jesus revealed himself to those disciples, so he reveals himself to each of us.


Jesus appeared that second Sunday through locked doors to fearful disciples, and stood among them granting them the peace which surpasses all understanding. As we come to the house of God on a Sunday, may he come and be with us in our fears and doubts saying, Peace be with you!