Because He Lives-Be Transformed by His Presence (April 10, 2016)

Blog Topic: 

NT: Acts 9:1-6

Gospel: John 21:1-19

Prayer

 

Introduction

Today we gather on the third Sunday after the Resurrection hearing in these two stories of people, pursuing their own person agendas and passions, having their own priorities.

 

Then we see Jesus, entering their lives and in dramatic and subtle ways, changing their priorities and strengthening their commitment. So I lift up two ideas for our reflection and action:

 

  1. 1.      LET HIM CHANGE OUR PRIORITIES

In this story, we see Saul’s sole priority is to persecute the Jews. He is so committed to this task, that he does not wait to be called for assignments, but takes it upon himself to go to the high priest and ask him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

 

But Jesus had another plan and purpose for Saul. His passion, his energy was to be channeled from evil to good and from torture to teaching. For on that Road to Damascus, Jesus reveals himself to him. In his encounter with Jesus, his priorities changed. The story that follows tells us that he loses his sight in this ordeal and has to be led into the town and there over a number of days, he discovers his faith, his sight is restored, he is baptised and he spends his remaining time in Damascus with the disciples preaching.

 

Paul grew to become one of the most outstanding writers and teachers of the Christian faith, leading thousands to Christ and planting many churches. He is responsible for writing the majority of the books in the New Testament.

 

What can be learnt from Paul’s conversion?

 

  • That Jesus still wants to engage with those who hate him, are angry at him and who persecute his people. He is prepared change their passion and channel it into serving as His witnesses.
  • No one is beyond Jesus’ concern or conversion. Anyone however, evil,  irrespective of the wrongs that they have committed can be changed for the glory of God
  • That sometimes, we go through experiences, not so that we can reject God, but so that we can change direction or focus our attention on what is really important or find our purpose.
  • That anyone who has had an encounter with Jesus has a change of priorities. They move from life’s pursuits for self-sake, to life’s pursuits for God’s sake. The heart, the mind, the spirit now being influenced by the Spirit of God in a deeper way, becomes inspired to desire to do God’s Will and to walk the Way of Christ.

 

So we each have to ask ourselves…

  1. How has our encounter (however many years ago it happened) how has our relationship with Jesus made us different?
  2. How has it changed our priorities?
  3. How much of a priority is leading someone to Christ to us?
  4. Is building and strengthening our faith a priority?
  5. Can others see the difference that Jesus has made in our lives?

 

Chorus: Change my heart Oh God, make it ever true. Change my heart Oh Go may I be like you. You are the potter, I am the clay, mold me and make me, this is what I pray.

  1. 2.      LET HIM STRENGTHEN YOUR COMMITMENT

 

This is another occasion when Jesus appearance to the disciples. 

  1. 1st time he showed himself was the Mary Magdalene
  2. 2nd time was when the disciples were locked in the upper room
  3. 3rd time was also in the upper room but this time Thomas was there.
  4. 4th time is here, when the disciples have gone fishing and he guides them to an awesome catch and ashore, they have breakfast together.

 

Even after having the experience of seeing Jesus raised from the dead. They started on the journey of teaching and preaching the ways of Jesus. They soon felt the desire to go back to normal. To return to the life they had before. It was getting dangerous, it was hard work, and it was easier to go back to what they used to do, fishing…

Sometimes we are like that, the enthusiasm of our relationship with Christ, seems to wear off and we don’t feel the passion anymore. Keeping up with the faith, living the life of a Christian, is hard work and for some people it is dangerous work. Other times it can get to the point where it feels like we are going through the motions. It is at this point that we feel drawn to return to our old life or at least some of it and not for long.

Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples chose to take a break from the life Jesus had taught them to live to return to the life, He had called them from.

That life produced nothing, for without Jesus’ input, when we throughout our nets we will often come up empty.

If we allow him to direct out path, if we listen to Him, then we will reap the reward of His input. More resources than we can handle, both material and spiritual.

If you noticed, when the disciples reach ashore, Jesus had already prepared breakfast and merely added some of the fish to the meal.

In the remaining dialogue between Peter and Jesus, we see Peter’s redemption. If we recalled he denied Jesus three times and in this dialogue Jesus asks him to confirm his commitment three times. In each case Jesus commands Peter to feed his sheep and invites them to follow Him.

Jesus asks and encourages us this morning:

  1. Do you love me?  Feed my lambs - Then show your commitment sharing the love of Jesus with those who have not heard of his love.
  2. Do you love me? Tend my sheep - Then show your commitment by seeking to care for those who are in need of hope and a lifting of their spirits
  3. Do you love me? Feed my sheep - Then show your commitment by bringing food for spiritual thought

There are many people and many programmes geared at tending and attending to the physical needs of people. What we offer is holistic concern for both physical and spiritual needs.  Just as it takes commitment of time and money and human resources to do the work of outreach…We are reminded this morning to let the presence of Christ change and direct out priorities and strengthen our commitment first as individuals so that we can truly do the work he has called us to, so that we truly follow Him. Be transformed in his presence. Amen.