John 21: Faithful Living in a Post-Resurrection World

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

Today's Bible Reading: John 21

Selected Biblical Text
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (John 21:24-25 NIV)

Reflecting and Thinking
Have you considered that the world after the resurrection of Jesus was significantly different than the world that existed before? Have you considered all that Jesus' resurrection makes possible? Have you thought about what can be known after the resurrection that could not be known with certainty prior to the resurrection? Some think John 21 stands as a complete unit -- an epilogue that is disconnected from what precedes it. Others have observed that the final chapter is introduced by the well known text of 20:30-31.
I like to think that John 21 provides an overview or summary of the Gospel of John. Consider these lessons.
First, Jesus meets our needs; he is interested in our needs. He is the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, experiencing our life with its hurts and sorrows.
Second, Jesus is interested in the success of his disciples as they return to fishing. He interacts with them in the present moment of their lives. Jesus does the same for us. He is interested in our spiritual life; he is interested in our life in this world.
Third, Jesus reinstates us, forgives us, and blesses us with real forgiveness. The story of Peter's reinstatement is not for Peter only. It is our story. It is the reflection of our sometimes misdirected love, our twisted priorities, and our self-doubts. Our response is to accept his forgiveness and pardon.
Fourth, Jesus walks beside us; he is present in our lives. The invitation of Jesus is repeated: Follow me. Jesus still wants us as followers, even after our failures and frustrations. Jesus is willing to work in our lives to complete his purpose.

Reflect on the journey you have taken through the Gospel of John. What were the high points? What things have you remembered as most helpful? What identity of Jesus most catches your attention? Which identity does John focus on most? How would you summarize the main message of this gospel?

Dear God, thank you for showing us our possibilities. Thank you for being there, providing our needs, being aware of our weaknesses, forgiving us, reaffirming us, and working through us. Through the name of Jesus who has made our faith possible, Amen.

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Last updated January 2019