Two ideas stand out to me today as I read and re-read John 21.
1 – We need repetition to learn the important stuff
The first lesson comes by Jesus’ repetition of “feed/take care of my lambs/sheep” to Peter. My daughter gets frustrated that at church she keeps hearing “the same old thing”. She didn’t know why we would want to go to church on Christmas Eve and hear the same old story over and over. If you already know the story, why would you want to go hear about it again? She hates it that sermons on salvation and many of the foundational truths are repeated over and over again. I tell her that we need to hear it over and over again – that it takes time to sink into your soul – that sometimes you forget (or not really forget, but just don’t take time to reflect and really remember…) – and sometimes you get something totally new out of the same old message. Peter was frustrated, too. Apparently he didn’t like being told the same command over and over again. But Jesus knew it was worth repeating. One thing I’m a big proponent of is focusing more on the repeated themes in the Bible and less on the outlying things that are confusing or mentioned only once or a few times. When you read through the whole Bible you definitely get a sense of what must be important because of the repetition. Taking care of each other must really be important to Jesus. I think it was his most repeated theme.
2 – We all have a unique mission, and we shouldn’t worry about other people’s mission, as it is a distraction
Even at this late stage of the game the disciples are still comparing themselves to each other. When Jesus gives Peter a glimpse of trials that await him, Peter asks Jesus about John: “What about him, Lord?” Jesus answers “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” How often do we compare our lot to everyone else? How often do we want to ask Jesus “Why do I have to do all the work, have all the pain, get all the bad breaks, etc. What about so-and-so?” We all have our own missions, along with our own crosses to bear. We need to stop worrying about comparing our mission and our crosses to everyone else’s and keep our attention on our own business. Actually, keep our attention on Jesus, and what He wants of us. That takes a lot of trust…
I hope that all of us continue with the 66Books journey for another year. We need the repetition. And we need to hear from God so that we can figure out our mission, our calling, and keep our focus on Jesus. I’ll be here for my third year. I know I need the repetition!! Thank you, Courtney, for keeping it going for another year!
Wishing all of you a Happy New Year!!!