Lent is a time of preparation for for the most important time in the Christian calendar, so it is fitting that we finish our readings on Jesus' death and resurrection.
I have a natural affinity with the story of Peters restoration. One thing that is important to remember is that peter needed this restoration not for Jesus' sake but for Peters I think he would have found it hard to forgive himself. Jesus made it clear to all that Peter had been forgiven for his stumble. We need to learn to forgive ourselves also, we will fail and make mistakes but Jesus doesn't hold them against us. We can be our own worst enemy.
Have a safe and happy Easter!
See you on North beach Wallaroo at 9 am Friday morning for our special communion service and then at Elizabeth str Wallaroo at the normal time of 10am on Sunday.
John 16:21-22 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
Clearly this is an indication of new life, Jesus gives us the image of childbirth as an illustration of his resurrection.
A new world, a new creation as on the last day of the week he says "it is finished " and on the sabbath he rests and on the first day of the week his newly created kingdom is birthed.
Jesus washes the disciples feet ! What kind of king lowers himself to do a servants job? Did Jesus have the gift of foot washing? Of course no such thing exists he is showing that when something needs doing we should get on with it and get our hands dirty. Being a follower of Jesus does not give us privilege but gives us responsibility.
I am often asked about the title reverend, MY view is that this is a way of keeping us accountable by being ordained I am accountable not only to my local church but to all Baptists and not only South Australia but to the whole of Australia and for that matter not only to Baptists but to the wider Church. By being ordained I have put myself under the authority of all true followers of Christ. I am their servant just as the apostle Paul was, does this diminish the leadership of Paul? I don't think it did !
The other dimension of this is also allowing others to serve us! That can be pretty hard cant it? Peter found it difficult to let Jesus serve him. We need others around us, we serve each other and we are accountable to each other.
Jesus heals a man born blind on the sabbath and the chief priests don't see the miracle of sight they see that he was working on the sabbath! After questioning the mans parents and the man himself (several times) they still think he is a sinner then the formally blind man in frustration says “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!”(John 9:25). De we look for the sin or the miracle in life? Do we want to judge based on actions or based on Christ's love?
Then comes the most distressing interaction in John 9:32-34 when the man begins Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.” 34 “You were born a total sinner!” they answered. “Are you trying to teach us?” And they threw him out of the synagogue.
They refuse to believe in what actually happened because it doesn't fit within their view of the world?
We would never do something like that.... would we???
The final word to those who thought they knew better than everyone goes to Jesus, in John 9:41 he says to the pharisees; “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.
We need to be careful of our claims, claiming to know what Jesus thinks says and does without judging it with the help of scripture, prayer, wise counsel and experience is perilous indeed. Any one who claims to speak for God will be judged more critically in the end of days (Matt23) we better be sure we aren't pharisees ourselves!