What does that mean?
At the end of Luke chapter nine, Jesus Christ had resolved to go to Jerusalem and to his passion on the cross. On the way, he encountered followers who pledged their devotion to him. One said, "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." In verse 60, "Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." His response seems harsh to our modern sensibilities. But what the Jews of the time knew was that he was referencing the Nazarite vow.
What he was really doing is calling his followers to an uncompromising, costly faith. Watch to learn more . . .
Fri.-Sat., June 7-8, 2019
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The gospel reading from John 21 is a challenge to every christian and every church community. The Apostle Peter had denied Christ three times during his crucifixion. Now, the risen Christ asks him "Do you agape me?" But Jesus only asks this question after he filled Peter's nets with fish. After he let them strive and fail all night long, exhausting their human strength. Then, at dawn Christ calls out to them and says "cast your net on the other side." They do and their nets are filled to bursting. When they join him on the shore he feeds them, Jesus restores the fallen apostle to his leadership asking Peter, "Do you agape me?"
Christ meets us in our need and brokenness, friend. Just as he called to the weary fishermen, he calls out to us "cast your net on the other side." Just as the exhausted, defeated fisherman obeyed in the midst of their brokenness, so we too are called to obey. It was only through humble obedience that they experienced the miracle. Their nets were filled to overflowing, not because of their great skill or determination, but because they humbly obeyed. Note, it was not until after they obeyed and the nets were filled that they recognized Jesus. They were not even sure it was him until the miracle happened. They obeyed in faith, hoping for a miracle.
Then, on the shore after a joyful meal, Jesus asks Peter, "Do you agape me?" It is a question that cuts across all time and space. Agape is the Greek term for a selfless, sacrificial love, the deepest love, the kind of love that costs everything and changes everything. Christ spoke these words to Peter, and to every person throughout all generations who chooses to follow the Christ.
"Do you agape me?"
"Do you agape me?"
"Do you agape me?"
What is your answer, friend?
Lent is meant to sent you free from slavery. What are you a slave to? Watch, listen, and learn how the season of lent is a time of discipline and fasting, but is also a wonderful time of freedom from slavery to sin, if you make it so.
The presentation of Christ in the temple reveals him as the prophecied savior. Simeon and Anna were ready and waiting.
Methodius of Olympus wrote, "Simeon and Anna, bearing in themselves most evidently the images of both peoples, had taken their station by the side of that glorious and virginal throne, for by the old man was represented the people of Israel, and the law now waxing old; whilst the widow Anna represents the Church of the Gentiles, which had been up to this point a widow, the old man, indeed, as personating the law, seeks dismissal; but the widow, as personating the Church, brought her joyous confession of faith."
Simeon represents humanity waiting for the consolation of Israel and he receives the fullfillment into his arms. Anna represents the church and goes on to proclaim the gospel "to any that would hear." Both were enlivened by the Holy Spirit to recognize and adore the newborn Christ. Both stand as examples to us as we await the return of Christ. Are you ready, friend?