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John 21:20-25 | Jesus is the True Lord | Andrew Gutierrez

February 4, 2018 Speaker: Andrew Gutierrez Series: Jesus is...

Topic: Worship Gatherings Passage: John 21:20–21:25

Welcome to those of you who are here for the first time. You’ve come on a big day. I know there is a game. I’m not talking about that. This morning, Lord willing, we end our 26-month study in the gospel of John. Normally I go to bed early on Saturday night, but I was up later last night. Michelle was off to bed, and she said, “I bet you cry tomorrow.” To which I said, “I bet I cry tonight.”

It is bitter sweet. This book has changed people. This testimony has changed people for 2000 years. And we have taken our time going through it trying to extract all the gold that we can. And there is even more that we have left untouched. It’s been a sweet time for our church. Just hearing from you, how this gospel has impacted you and your life.

This is a precious reality. It truly is a privilege to get to open the word of God and explain it every week. And to mine what is in it, and I am praying for one more time that the Holy Spirit would speak loudly through this passage. So, let’s follow along.

John 21:20-25

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

I’ve entitled this final message “Jesus is the True Lord.” Jesus asks Peter a question here in this text. He says, “What is it to you?” Peter is comparing himself and his journey that the Lord has set before him, his future journey. He is comparing that journey to that of the other disciples. And the Lord, yes, wants Peter to be concerned about his brothers. The Lord actually commended him that … feed my sheep, tend my lambs, feed my sheep. The Lord told him in the upper room along with the other disciples and along with us in John 13 to do as he has done—to serve one another. He has told Peter to love the other brothers. He’s told Peter in Luke 22 to strengthen the brothers.

So this is not Jesus saying, don’t worry about anyone else in your Christian life. No, he has given him numerous commands to obey that would bring about his love for the brethren. But when Peter starts to compare what the Lord has for him in the future to the other disciples, that’s when the Lord says, hold on, you follow me along the path that I have for you. You don’t need to compare yourself to other believers and if their path is easier or harder than yours. You follow me.

And this is coming (as you remember) at Peter’s restoration. This is the account of Peter’s restoration back to Christ, right before Peter would be launched out into the world. Christ would ascend to heaven and Peter would be launched out into the world with the rest of the apostles to be a witness for Christ—to testify of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, this is happening at the end of this conversation about restoration. Peter has known Christ for 3 years. He was called to Christ, we saw in John 1. You know what two words Christ gave to his early disciples, including Peter, in John 1? Follow me. Here in John 21: Follow me. Same command, same requirement that Christ has for his disciples: Keep following me.

That “What is it to you?” question is a big question in this passage. For us, what is it to you, when they have a marriage without conflict. You and your wife or husband, follow me.

What is it to you when he gets his first pick of colleges to attend? You follow me.

What is it to you when they seem to always come into some extra money? You follow me.

What is it to you when their kids don’t sin as publicly as yours do? You follow me.

What is it to you when her days never seem to be filled with physical pain? You follow me.

What is it to you when people are converted after every one of his sermons? You follow me.

What is it to you when—fill in the blank—happens to them? You follow me.

What is it to you when other people go through far few trials that you do? You follow me.

In human history, there has only been one Savior that has been sent from heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is only one Savior that has been sent from heaven. There has only been one champion who has conquered death. There’s only been one creator who entered into the chaos of his creation among the rebels and sought to save them because of his love for them. Only one. There’s only one true Lord over heaven and earth.

In our house, when we talk about the Lord sometimes, we’ll let it be known that the name Lord means something. It means boss. There is only one boss for heaven and earth. There is only one boss who should be in control of my life and your life. Only one. When this one speaks, there is only one logical response. Follow him. Follow him.

So, in this passage, we are going to learn of two final exhortations that the Holy Spirit gives. He is Lord. He is the Creator of all. He’s the only true Lord over heaven and earth, so when he speaks we listen. Two final exhortations from John’s gospel: The first is this.

1.  Follow Jesus’ Leadership of You

Now if you keep a notebook and you take sermon notes or if you remember back to last week, the first point I made in last week’s lesson was “Follow Jesus’ Leadership.” This is a little different. This point is “Follow Jesus’ Leadership of You.” Not the leadership he has for other people. Not the plan he has for other people. Follow and trust how Jesus is leading you. Jesus wants Peter to focus on following him—not concerning himself with the plans Jesus has for the other disciples.

Verse 20: Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’”  So, Peter and John and the other disciples (7 total) got to the shore, and Jesus as we know provided for them. He made them breakfast. He had fish and bread there on a fire that Jesus had evidently made, and he had breakfast for them. And they are eating breakfast.

Jesus has that great conversation with Peter that we looked at last week. Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me? He restores Peter back into relationship with him, and evidently Peter and Jesus started walking. They are taking a walk down the beach. So it says, Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved. So Jesus and Peter are evidently walking when Jesus is saying, “Do you love me? Feed my sheep. Do you love me? Tend my lambs.” They’re walking, and the other disciples are following nearby. Evidently, John was pretty close. And remember, Jesus had told Peter about what his life in the future would look like.

Verses 18-19:

18 "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

That is the conversation they are having.

Peter just heard from Jesus that he’s going to die by crucifixion, and Jesus has told him, you keep following me. And then Peter turns and John’s there, and I don’t know what Peter was getting at here entirely. We don’t know the tone. We don’t know more of the background. Could this have been Peter thinking, oh my, John might be martyred too and I love John? What about this poor man? Could have been that. It also could’ve been, I’m not wild about being a martyr, what about this guy? Could’ve been that. Either way, Jesus doesn’t want him concerned with that.

We know this is John because John is the one leaning against Jesus in the upper room, reclining as they used to during those meal times on the couches where the table would be in front of them. This is John. We learn that a little bit later. When Peter saw him, he said, “Jesus, what about this man?” (v. 21)

Verse 22, Jesus said to him (this is a rebuke): “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” Jesus is giving Peter a hypothetical scenario. This isn’t Jesus saying, this is what’s going to happen. You just worry about what happens to you. Jesus is just giving a hypothetical. You’re going to die a martyr. What if I never see to it that he dies, and I just come and take him to heaven like Enoch? Jesus is just giving a hypothetical scenario and using it to say to Peter, you just keep following. If I lead him untouched through the gates of heaven but bring you through the valley of the shadow of death and dying on a cross, you keep following me.

We learn a couple of other things based on verse 22. These aren’t the main points of the passage but just some interesting things to note. Jesus evidently is in control of every second of John’s life. If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? This is Jesus implying that he has the power to take someone home whenever he wants. Jesus is in control of every single second of John’s life. And, by the way, see verses 18 and 19, Peter’s life and our life.

Colossians 1. He is the creator. He is the sustainer of all things. He controls everything. As R. C. Sproul says (or used to say—he is in heaven now), “There are no maverick molecules.” Christ is in control of everything. So we learn that just in how he phrases this hypothetical situation in verse 22.

Secondly, we also know that he plans on returning. “If it is my will that he remains until I come, what is that to you?” Jesus is coming again. He told us that in John 14, did he not? I go to prepare a place for you, but I will come again. Jesus is giving this hypothetical scenario to Peter just to highlight—if I bring John through a life of relative ease, and you through a life of relative pain, you keep following me. I’m in charge.

Verse 23:

So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die [this is John speaking]; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

The disciples, who heard this or who passed this along, interpreted this statement of Jesus wrongly. This became what they went out talking about. They missed the whole point. The point is—Peter, follow me. They got—John’s gonna live and never die until Jesus comes. Jesus never said that. He said, what if I do this? He didn’t say, I’m going to do this—which allows a little side note.

When Jesus speaks, it’s important that we listen very closely. Jesus is a precise God. Jesus doesn’t teach us something in the pages of Scripture and say, have your own interpretation, whatever it means to you. No, there is a meaning. Jesus speaks for a reason. He wants us to understand something.

It’s important for us when we read the Bible to ask this one question. If you’re reading Leviticus, if you’re reading Psalms, if you’re reading John, what is the Holy Spirit communicating here. What is the intent of the author? What is he saying? Not, how can I take this, twist it around, and give myself some wonderful thought for the day. No, what is he saying? And how do I understand that to be his intent?

The intent here of Jesus is, Peter, follow me. They take it to mean, John’s not going to die. So, just (as I would say to the first century disciples, as I would say to you as well, as I would say to myself as well) listen to what the author intends for you to understand from the passage. It’s very important. So Jesus’ whole point here is: Peter, no matter what happens to John, you keep following me.

Follow Jesus’ leadership of you. It’s very easy to start comparing our paths with the paths of other people. You know this. You understand this. Other dads your age, other wives your age, other retirees in your situation … why is it that the Lord does that for them and does this for me? And the question here from the text is, what is that to you? And even as you’ve read John 1-21, you can really see that if he leads me to a cross eventually, I know the promises found in this book.

I know how he’s going to be faithful to me. Remember John 13:1? Jesus having loved his own, loved them until the end. We can trust him. We can trust him to deliver us from whatever he allows us to go through. We can trust him in trials. We can trust him in times of ease. We can trust this one.

Daniel 12, there’s this wonder passage where the Lord is teaching Daniel about how the nation is going to be restored. And the nation will once again be submitted to God, and God will rule over them. And God lays this plan out for Daniel. And at the very end, Daniel asks this question. “ I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, ‘O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?’” (v. 8). So Daniel hears this, but he doesn’t understand how it’s all going to happen, how it’s all going to work. Lord, what will be the outcome of all this? Tell me the future. Tell me how it all ends.

“He said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. … But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days’” (vv.9, 13). One other translation says, you will receive your inheritance at the end of the days.

That’s really how we can live. Lord, what’s gonna happen next week when I go to get that diagnosis? What’s gonna happen in three years with my children when they leave the house? Are they going to be in Christ? Are they gonna follow him? Are they gonna love him? Lord, what’s gonna happen when? What’s gonna happen when? What’s gonna happen when? There will be a time when all of that will be revealed. Go your way till the end and you shall rest and stand in your allotted place at the end of the days.

Our Lord promises things like this all over the pages of Scripture. If I bring you through trials, I will bring you out, and I will be enough. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart—my portion forever. Peter himself, Peter, later in life, writes this:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

(1 Peter 5:10)

This is a man writing. As he’s writing those words, he knows how he’s going to die. And he is sure that if the Lord can care for him, confirm, strengthen, restore, and establish him, he can do it for all of us. We can follow Jesus’ leadership, even if he brings us through valleys—even if he brings us through valleys for a long time. Even if he brings us through valleys that we think can’t get any deeper, but then they do, we can trust this one.

John Patton was a missionary to the New Hebrides, and he was a missionary to a group of people who often ate people they didn’t like. They were cannibals. John Patton had the desire to get the gospel to these people. He writes an account of one time when he was running away from cannibals and he had to climb up into a tree for hours on end. Listen to what he says.

I climbed into the tree and was left there alone in the bush. The hours I spent there live all before me as if it were but of yesterday. I heard the frequent discharging of muskets, and the yells of the Savages. Yet I sat there among the branches, as safe in the arms of Jesus. Never, in all my sorrows, did my Lord draw nearer to me, and speak more soothingly in my soul, than when the moonlight flickered among these chestnut leaves, and the night air played on my throbbing brow, as I told all my heart to Jesus. Alone, yet not alone! If it be to glorify my God, I will not grudge to spend many nights alone in such a tree, to feel again my Savior’s spiritual presence, to enjoy His consoling fellowship. [And then Patton asks this question of anyone who is reading this or listening to this] If thus thrown back upon your own soul, alone, all alone, in the midnight, in the bush, in the very embrace of death itself, have you a Friend that will not fail you then?

That’s a great question. Every single one of us, unless the Lord returns, will die. Do you have the friend that is detailed in the gospel of John? Do you have the one who says, Are you thirsty? Come to me and drink. Do you need bread? Come to me and be satisfied. Do you need enlightenment and know how to live rightly based on truth? I’m the light of the world. Do you have a heart that’s corrupt and you have these desires that you don’t want to engage in? You must be born again. Do you need protection? I’m the good shepherd. Do you need entrance into the kingdom of God? I am the door of the sheep. Do you need to know the way back to God’s embrace? I am the way. Do you know the way? Can you endure the worst trial you’ve ever endured if it comes a week from now? Who will be with you?

Jesus is reminding Peter that he will be with him. You follow me. You follow me. Follow Jesus’ leadership of you.

And finally, our final point in this passage in the gospel of John.

2.  Trust John’s Testimony to You

Believer, unbeliever, trust what’s written in this book. John ends with a final statement that his testimony is true.

Verse 24: “This [referring to who is being spoken about in verse 20] is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.”

This is John. John never refers to himself by name. This is John saying, I’m the one speaking, and we (the community of believers around John, around the time of John, around the time of Jesus) know that these things that he’s written are true. These things are reality. This is not Bible stories that are fiction. These accounts, as all the accounts of Scripture, are true. Stake your life on what John writes. He’s bearing witness as he always does. He’s identifying that this is truth that he’s speaking.

Verse 25: “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

This is hyperbolic language. He’s making a point. John’s saying, I’ve written to you the things that you need to know. John didn’t write like the other gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. There’re a lot of things that are not included in John that are included in their accounts. There are a lot of things that are not included in their accounts that John makes us understand and know. John’s writing for a purpose. We know that purpose, right? We’ve rehearsed the purpose from the very moment we started. John 20:31: “[B]ut these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

This is why John’s writing these particular things. This is why he wrote of the seven signs of Jesus, why he wrote of the seven “I am” statements of Jesus. This is why he wrote about his death and resurrection. This is why he wrote to us about Judas in chapter 12. This is why he wrote to us about Peter’s restoration in chapter 21. This is why he wrote to us about false disciples who claim to be walking with Christ and then reject him ultimately in John 2 and John 6. He writes all of these things so that we know that they’re true and that we can trust the things that he’s telling us about Jesus.

This is John writing to us truth. He’s not writing to earn money. He’s not writing to make himself known. He’s writing that we would know Christ. And ultimately, when it comes time to leave this earth, that we can die well trusting in the one revealed in these pages. So he’s saying, there’s a lot more to Jesus. I could’ve written more down.

I mean, imagine if you got to spend a morning with Jesus—physically see him. You wake up, eat breakfast, he’s there until noon. Every single movement of his pinky you would notice. You would notice his expression when something happened on the side of the freeway. You would notice every single response he had to every single thing. You would want to know every single thing he said. You wouldn’t want to leave one word out. You wouldn’t want to forget one facial expression—and that’s just from breakfast to noon.

John was with him for three years. John could tell us what Jesus thought about athletics. I’d love to know that. John could tell us what Jesus thought about this Roman ruler or that Roman ruler. We don’t know all those things.

John could tell us how Jesus laughed. What’d he sound like when he laughed? Was it real loud, or was it quiet? How’d he laugh? How’d he cry? What did he look like when he cried? What exactly was his hair like? What’d he do when someone disappointed him? What was his facial expression? We want to know those things, but John’s telling us, I’ve given you what you need to know to have him. What a gift this book is. God determined that we would have access to all the truths in this book. Let me say it this way, the gospel of John is one of the greatest gifts that you’ve ever been given.

This is one of the most precious gifts the world has ever been given. And you, by the grace of God, have been given copies of it. You have it. What a God. Just by way of application for you—this is the end of our formal teaching of John, but I would encourage you to make this book precious to you for many years to come. This book is so rich. Keep going back to John. And, because Jesus had a plan to leave earth and to have his disciples remain and to be his witnesses, to do what he did while he was on earth, I would say, don’t just enjoy John for yourself, pass John along.

We had a group of people praying before the service in the room up there, and we were just all thanking the Lord for the things in the gospel of John. And it just struck me, it’s one thing to celebrate something, but why in the world would we want to contain it within these walls? This is the greatest truth we’ve ever known! Shhh, let’s not say a word as we leave this place. No, Jesus prayed for the disciples and said, I’m leaving them in the world. I’m not removing them from the world. I’m leaving them here in the world. You will be my witnesses. So, I would say, return to John often, and pass John along.

In order to help that, by the way, we’ve ordered 300 copies of the gospel of John. Next week, they’ll be here, and as you leave, we just ask you to take one. Think of all that you’ve learned from the gospel of John in the last two years. If you’ve joined our church within that time, maybe you’ve joined when we were in the upper room. Maybe you joined when we were at the temple in John 7. Maybe you joined when we were at the pool in John 5. Maybe you joined when Jesus was healing the blind man in John 9. Maybe you joined when we were out in the pasture in John 10. Whenever it is that you came, there are things all throughout the gospel of John that minister to your soul if you’re in Christ.

I would encourage you to take one of those copies that you will be given next week, pray about giving that to someone. Maybe it’s just a copy of it with a card saying, the truths in here have changed my life. I want them to change yours as well. The truths in here are too good for me to keep to myself. Let’s ask the Lord to work through the gospel of John in other people and not just ourselves.

I sent an email out this week and asked you to give me the things that had impacted you that last couple of years in John’s gospel. And many of you wrote back. Thank you for that. I wanted to end this message by asking you (in a sense) to sit back as it were and to just enjoy a number of the passages in the gospel of John. I was doing this last night—just reading through it. Just putting stars by things, and I mean, it’s one of those things, if you wanted to highlight everything that stood out to you, the whole thing would be highlighted. But just listen to some of the things that impacted your brothers and sisters in the last couple of years.

John 3:7b: “You must be born again.”

John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 14:16: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.”

John 18:25: “Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, ‘You also are not one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’”

John 17—the whole chapter

John 6:37: “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

John 21:6: “He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.” Jesus provides.

John 15: “Abide in me.” Abide in me—spoken ten times.

John 13:12-14: “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.’”

John 3:16-18: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”

John 10:27: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

John 11:25-26: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,  and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’”

John 18:12: “So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.” Think about who they were arresting.

John 14:6: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 15: “Abide in me.”

John 17 again—the whole chapter.

John 14 and its comforting promises.

John 10—the good shepherd.

John 21:16: “Do you love me?”

John 2:19: “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’”

John 15:12” “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

John 20—the resurrection. John 20—the resurrection and Thomas’ slowness to believe it.

John 13—Judas sitting along with John at one of the two privileged places at the dinner table. Judas.

John 14:21: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 1:1, 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:29: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

John 13:1: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

John 17:24: “Father, I desire [and that word reveals strong emotional need, want] that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.”

Remember we talked about that? Jesus is not in heaven doing this, planning your life. Oh, I’ll put him through this. I’ll have him go through that. Jesus is praying to the Father. I want to be with them. I want to be with them. Father, I desire to be with them. It changes the way we think about the death of a believer.

John 18:3-4: “So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, ‘Whom do you seek?’” Jesus stepped forward to be arrested. He didn’t run and hide.

John 19:30: “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” They didn’t take his spirit. He gave his spirit up.

John 20:19 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’”

The one who died is now speaking. The one who died is now standing in the middle of their room where they could touch him. The one who died is now alive, speaking to his people.

John 1: “Follow me.” John 21: “Follow me.” We all follow someone—follow our own desires, follow someone who leads us down a wrong path. We all follow the world. We all follow someone, some idol, someone we think can give us security, can give us joy, can give us peace. We all follow someone. The world is called to follow Christ. Who other than Christ is worth following? He said, “Follow me,” in chapter 1. He said, “Follow me,” in chapter 21. Between them there are a million reasons (hyperbole) to follow him. We’ve gone through them all.

If you don’t follow Christ, who else is it that can give you a new heart forever? Who else can give you eternal life? Who else can give you the Holy Spirit of God? Who else can restore you back to him when you sin against him? Who else will satisfy you forever? Who else will be betrayed for you? Who else will be arrested for you? Who else will be executed in your place? Who else will suffer the wrath of God for you? Who else will love you until the end? Who else longs to be with you like nobody else? The answer is nobody. Jesus is the only one to trust in for eternal life and to give your entire being to. He’s the only one that’s ever existed or will ever exist. He’s the only one.

I’ll end with this passage: “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus” (John 1:35-36). That is the only right response to knowing all that we know about Jesus. Follow him. Abandon everything for him.

Let’s pray.

Lord, you have proven yourself to us over and over and over again. You have shown us your multifaceted nature. We’ve seen you rebuke people. We’ve seen you embrace people. We’ve seen you wash people’s feet. We’ve seen you hang on a cross. We’ve seen you rise again and reveal yourself constantly to people. We’ve seen you announce when you are under the threat of arrest. We’ve seen you turn water into wine. We’ve seen you walk on water.

We’ve seen you fulfill the Old Testament over and over and over and over and over again, so that we can know that there’s only one person who can fulfill the Old Testament in these ways. And it’s you. We’ve seen you warn people. We’ve seen you tell the religious people that their religion is not enough. We’ve seen you go hard after self-righteous people. We’ve seen you heal blind people. We’ve seen you heal a man whom you knew was lame for 37 years. And that meant something to you. We’ve seen you command people.

We’ve seen you promise that you will come again. We’ve heard you say to your Father that you want to be with us. We’ve heard you ask the Father to send the Spirit for us. We’ve heard you tell the disciples that you’re not going to take them with you now, but that you’re leaving them. We’ve heard you tell us that the world will hate us. But we’ve heard you tell us that we will have your joy. We’ve heard you tell us that we’ll have your peace.

We’ve heard you tell us ten times to abide in you. We’ve heard your servant John tell us that he desired to decrease as long as you increased. We know that good shepherds watch very closely over their sheep. But we also know that you, the good shepherd, gives his life for the sheep. Lord, we heard about you going to an ethnic group that the Jews despised.

You went straight after one of their own and it was even a woman. And you went and you offered her yourself. You offered her eternal life, living water. We’ve seen you go after people that no one cares to associate with.

And Lord, we’ve seen one of your disciples, who you did so much for, reject you in your greatest time of need. He denied that he knew you. He was not proud of you. He was embarrassed and ashamed of you, and you restored him back to you. And you gave him a job. You gave him a way to express his love for you. And you told him earlier, a few weeks before, as you tell all of us, that you love them to the end. Lord, we have one life to give to you and we give it with reckless abandon to you. We just want to do what you say. Thank you for your word. We pray this all in your name. Amen.

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