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Archive for April 19th, 2017

COLLECT OF THE DAY

Almighty God,by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ,  You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light.Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory;through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever.

READINGS:

Acts 3:13-15, 17-19

Psalm 61

 Colossians 3:1-7 or 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

 St. John 21:1-14

Reflection on the Gospel LessonJohn 21: 1-14:  I led a Bible study on Easter, concluding our Lenten look at People of the Passion and we studied Peter for two Sundays. We looked at some of many narratives involving Peter:

  • After Jesus walked on the water, Peter almost commanded the Lord in Peter’s disbelief: But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14)

  • Peter denied Jesus three times.

  • The risen Lord asked Peter 3 times, Do you love me more than these? 3 times the Lord said, “Feed My sheep”.

  • Peter does not want to go to the Gentile Centurion, Cornelius’ home because Peter would eat unclean animals.  3 times a sheet is lowered with unclean and clean animals.

I asked that adult Bible class:  How would you characterize Peter’s personality? “Impetuous”“Acts before thinking” “Trusts himself” The class nailed it which is reflected in this insight from Johann Gerhard in which he reflected the same:

“We should also contemplate how Peter came to such a fall (i.e. his denial), in order that we avoid the same. He was entirely too daring (presumptuous)–meaning that it all depended upon a good heart and good intentions. When he noticed others who were not like him in this matter, he held them in disdain. Thus he experienced how very little we are capable of if God does not sustain us. Therefore we should indeed not rely on the strength of our own faith, or on our good intentions. God’s power does it, and it alone must do everything.”

“I have my faith”, I have heard that much over the years.  Those well-intentioned statements sound like faith in faith. Faith in faith even has a name:  fideism.  Now Lutherans believe we are saved by faith through grace in the overwhelming gift of Jesus Christ’s Incarnation, Sufferings, Crucifixion, Descent into Hell, Resurrection, Ascension and Presence in His Church.  Faith takes hold of the promise in the teaching of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God.  Faith looks out to Christ and looks out for one another.  But faith in faith is once again being bent in upon one’s self. Even our “good heart and good intentions” won’t do it.  Peter said he was willing to die for Jesus. Peter’s good heart was like a rock and it sunk him.  He would one day die for Jesus but not that day because his faith was in his faith, in himself.  Americans are really good at fideism, good hearts and good intentions…but we always are hitting the brick wall of sin, death and the power of the devil:  that wall we can not breach. Christ has!  He fed the disciples fish in His resurrection.  He alone allows the full catch of fish for Peter and the Church.  The Church, this fishing boat  seldom rides in the seas of tranquility. So today, we need to remind ourselves the Lord alone has , “… brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (1 Timothy 1:10b).  We do not. We do not preach faith, we preach Christ Jesus.  

Peter had a whole lot more fishing to do.  So does the Lord’s Church!

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