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April 2021

Fear over Faith – Day 1

By |2021-04-12T05:00:17-05:00April 12th, 2021|GodConnect|

Psalm 107:28-31 | 28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. 29 He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 30 They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. 31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

People often focus too much on where they’ve been. Where they are from, the manner in which they grew up. The poor choices they’ve made, and the setbacks that they’ve experienced. But life isn’t about where you’ve been, it’s about where you’re going. The person I was isn’t the person I am, nor is it the person that I hope to become.

You see, God wants your attention to be focused on the present. He wants you to look straight ahead, because what He has for you is not behind you, but in front of you. Reminding yourself of your past mistakes does nothing for today. It doesn’t help you. People get so stuck looking back at the storms they’ve weathered that they don’t notice where their ship is headed. They look at their flaws and faults when they should be looking forward at the greatness that God has planned for them. They’re too focused on what the enemy is up to, and not focused on what God is doing in their lives right now!

Looking back is the same thing as dropping anchor. It is choosing to sit still, to be stagnant. To do nothing. Don’t drop anchor when God is telling you to open up the sails. Don’t let yourself focus on the negative when the positive is just within reach. Your best days are not to be left in the past.

Faith is the light that shines in through the tunnel. It is the compass that points north when you get off course. Faith is what you have left when everything else seems so far away. It isn’t always easy to have faith, but it is always necessary. Faith is what gives us as Christians the strength to carry on despite our circumstances.

Faith is easy to find when you have calm waters and clear skies. It’s when the clouds come in that Christians begin to struggle with their faith. It is when the water begins to get choppy and the wind starts blowing that faith starts to falter.

Have unwavering faith! Know that whatever is going on in your life has already been planned out. God has you covered.

Author David Villa

Ten Day Journey in the Life of Peter – Day 8

By |2021-04-08T05:56:54-05:00April 9th, 2021|GodConnect|

Luke 22:54-62 [NIV] | 54Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. 58A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. 59About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” 60Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”62And he went outside and wept bitterly.

The same impulsive faith that led Peter to leap out of the boat and walk on water, to blurt out an affirmation of Jesus’ deity, was the same faith that kept Peter close when others fled. So Peter stands by a fire in the courtyard, probably a bit nervous. It’s dark, so maybe they don’t see him. Maybe he’s trying to be inconspicuous, but it’s impossible. A servant girl comes over and asks him, “You’re one of those with Jesus of Nazareth, right?”

It could be that he’s trying to shush her so others don’t hear and his cover won’t be blown, so he can stick around. But he’s a fisherman, not a spy. He’s Peter, the Galilean with the thick accent. So Peter dashes out of there and sort of lingers by the entrance.

One of the relatives of the servant whose ear was cut off by Peter says, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” At this point, Peter’s cover is totally blown. He’s exposed before his accusers and he panics. I mean, if your uncle’s ear gets cut off, you recognize the guy who raised that sword so awkwardly against him, right? So Peter resorts to the language of the sea, spitting out curses, his old life tumbling back into the foreground. And it’s in this moment of truth that the words Jesus spoke to him the night before echo back and pierce his soul. Another rooster crow.

The gospels all record their versions of this story, but Luke, the meticulous journalist, records a particularly haunting detail: somehow Peter was within eyeshot of Jesus. “Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:61). You can just read the hurt and ache in those words. The eye contact, the look of anguish on Jesus’ face, the despair roiling now through Peter’s heart. This once-proud, self-assured young man was fully and unreservedly broken. Luke later records that he “went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62).

Have you ever had a moment when you wept bitterly? I have. A genuine confrontation with the cross of Christ will do this, exposing our pride and self-sufficiency, the sin that blackens our souls. Whether you approach Jesus with a record of accomplishment and a life of charity or you shuffle forward with halting steps and a life of shame, Calvary will break you, and yet it will lift you up.

Author: Daniel Darling

Ten Day Journey in the Life of Peter – Day 7

By |2021-04-08T05:52:00-05:00April 8th, 2021|GodConnect|

Luke 22:47-53  [NIV] | 47While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. 52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?53Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

After the Passover meal, Jesus asked Peter and James and John to join Him in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus went to pray. He asked them to wait for Him, to pray, at this late hour. They were weary. It was very late. Imagine how the roller-coaster of the last several days must have caught up with Peter. He was probably still trying to process the stunning exchange with Judas. The friend he had trusted, who had been side-by-side with them for three years, who had given up everything, would now sell Jesus out. He didn’t want to believe it. So Peter drifted off to sleep, only to be awakened by the sight of an ashen, weary Jesus, tears and blood rolling down His face. His words pierced Peter’s soul, Could you not have prayed and watched?

And then it happened so suddenly. Soldiers marching into the dark garden. Torches and swords. And . . . Judas, their friend, embracing Jesus in a final, sick display. The kiss of betrayal. Peter was so enraged, adrenaline flowing. His world spinning. His life coming unglued. This was so unfair. So unjust. So wrong. So he clumsily stole a sword and struck the high priest’s servant. Jesus didn’t accept Peter’s defense of Him but instead healed the ear of His enemy.

The disciples, we are told in Matthew 25 and Mark 14, scattered. But Peter and John lingered, using John’s connections to get into the courtyard where the secret and illegal trial of Jesus took place in Ananias’s house. Should Peter have gone? What else could he do? He had to find a way to be near Jesus, to protect Him, to fight for Him, to demonstrate his loyalty.

Author: Daniel Darling

Ten Day Journey in the Life of Peter – Day 6

By |2021-04-06T06:45:04-05:00April 6th, 2021|GodConnect|

Luke 21:31-34  [NIV] | 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.

You can’t tell the Easter story without talking about Peter’s stunning denial.

How could a devoted disciple suddenly turn on Jesus? To understand, I think we have to step into his sandals on that tragic early morning. The scenes of denial come toward the end of a long and emotionally draining week that began with great joy and promise.

It would begin with an emotional high, with Jesus triumphantly entering the city on a donkey and being hailed by crowds of palm-branch-waving supporters as the King of the Jews. Jesus was fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy of an unorthodox future king who would ride into Jerusalem, not in a chariot, but on a humble beast of burden.

As the days wore on, there was a growing sense of danger. Whispers of plots by religious leaders, secret schemes to capture Jesus and the disciples. It must have frustrated Peter and the other disciples that Jesus seemed to do nothing to tamp down danger or to fight back. At times, Jesus seemed to exacerbate the division, chasing out the merchants and the grifters from the temple and predicting that Herod’s magnificent edifice, Israel’s source of national pride, would be unceremoniously destroyed in the not-so-distant future.

It all climaxed, however, when Jesus and the disciples enjoyed a Passover in a room that Peter and John had secured. This had all of the elements of a typical Passover meal, except Jesus continued to talk of His own coming arrest and death at the hands of His enemies. How could a king rule, Peter must have wondered, when He seemed so resigned to the fate of capture? But Jesus continued and mentioned His leaving them and the sending of the Spirit of God, a prospect that made them sad and a little angry.

Peter had left everything and had staked it all on the idea that Jesus was the promised Messiah. But how could the Messiah allow Himself to be captured and killed? Internally, Peter must have reassured himself that he wouldn’t let this happen. He’d fight and give his life in order to protect his Master. But Jesus didn’t seem to entertain Peter’s delusions. He somberly predicted that all the disciples would desert Him, and one would even betray Him. It was like He could see into Peter’s soul in a way Peter couldn’t see himself.

Author: Daniel Darling

Good Friday: Finished

By |2021-04-02T05:22:51-05:00April 2nd, 2021|GodConnect|

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30 ESV)

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)

Today we pause to engage with Good Friday, the day Jesus died.

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34 ESV)

 Take a few moments to let your imagination fill your mind with images of what you already know and can picture about the crucifixion of Jesus.

On the cross, Jesus invoked the words of Psalm 22.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.”

 This is a mighty mystery and a weighty word: the Son of God forsaken by God the Father. Jesus could not have been cut out of the eternal trinity. Nor could he have been out of the Father’s love or unsupported by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, he was truly forsaken. He did not just feel forsaken but was forsaken. He became sin, bore the curse and drank the full cup of God’s wrath.

Take a moment to imagine the weight of Jesus being forsaken. Try to wrap your mind around the Son of God becoming sin, the ultimate blessing taking the ultimate curse and the true judge willfully receiving undeserved wrath.

A prophecy about Jesus: “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12 ESV)

Jesus did not bear some faint relation to sinners. He was made a sinner. He was numbered with the transgressors. The holy Son of God stood as a condemned man before his holy Father.

“For our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

 Not only was Jesus numbered among the sinners; he became sin for us. Jesus became sin, condemned to bear its curse. He had no cover. None could serve as his advocate. Nothing could be offered as his expiation. He had to bear all, and God would not – could not – spare him – till the ransom was paid in full.

It is a sobering fact to realize that Jesus had to endure such a heinous punishment because our sin is, in fact, so much more heinous than we know. How regularly do we disregard the weight of sin? How often do we excuse our transgressions without remembering the cost of their forgiveness? Take a moment to lament, confess, repent and pray over the little regard you give your sins and the cost it took to pay for them.

As Jesus was on the cross, he was experiencing, in one tiny point in space and in one tiny moment in time, all that sin deserved. In human nature, he suffered the fury of Hell. But then, suddenly, it was over. The sacrifice was complete.

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30 ESV)

We would never have been able to say the words Jesus said. We would never have been able to say, “It is finished. I’ve done enough to pay for my sins.” Instead, the only thing our works earn us is death. Jesus, as the sinless sacrifice, was not paying for his sins, but for the sins of all who would believe in him. He finished the work we never could.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18 ESV)

 

Maundy Thursday: A Servant Love

By |2021-04-01T06:19:42-05:00April 1st, 2021|GodConnect|

John 13:34-35 (ESV) | “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Read and consider this verse: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Today we pause to engage with Maundy Thursday, the day Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples and gave them a new commandment. Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum novum meaning “new commandment.” Therefore, you could rightly call today “New Commandment Thursday.”

Take a few moment and let your imagination fill your mind with images of the last supper, Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, and sharing his parting words.

At first glance, it seems strange that Jesus says that he is giving the disciples a new commandment.

Notice the similarities between the command in Leviticus and the one Jesus gave to his disciples: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18 ESV)

The command to love your neighbor is not new. However, the way we are commanded to love our neighbor is new. In the Old Covenant, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. In the New Covenant, we are to love our neighbors as Jesus loved us. Take a moment to consider what the difference is between loving others as you love yourself and loving others as Jesus loved us.

“… He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple’s feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:4-5 ESV)

Here is a famous picture of Jesus’ love. In washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus showed us what his love looks like.  His love is selfless, humble and unmerited.

Read why Jesus gave for washing the disciple’s feet: “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:15-16 ESV)

Jesus is the Lord of all, yet he humbled himself to the position of a servant. This teaches us that there are no lengths to which we should not go to serve others.

It is a sobering fact to realize that those of us who have been served by the only one to whom all service is due, have regularly refused to serve others yet still claim the name of Jesus. How proud are our hearts? How quickly are we to receive the service of God and refuse to serve others? Take a moment to consider, lament, confess and repent of the ways you have refused to love and serve others the way Jesus has loved and served you.

Jesus lifted up the command of love from the Old Testament. No longer are we to love others inasmuch as we are capable of loving ourselves. Instead, we love them as Jesus loved us. Loving others as you love yourself means you love them at your level. To love someone below your station lifts them up to your level and loves them there. It does not lower oneself but elevates someone else. However, Jesus loved others by lowering himself below the station of those who should have served him. This love is both perfectly and ultimately shown in the cross of Jesus Christ.

Ponder on these words “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)

Ultimately, it was Jesus laying down his life on the cross that taught his disciples and the world the lesson that washing feet could only partly portray. Jesus not only gave us an example of the New Commandment on the cross, but also the means to fulfill it.  First, the mindset necessary to love others this way is ours in Christ (Philippians. 2:5). Second, the fullest way we can love someone is by pointing them to how Jesus has loved them. For no matter how much we lay down our lives for others, no sacrifice but Jesus can save them.

Read the words Jesus spoke before washing the disciple’s feet. “… Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.’ Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!’ Jesus said to him, ‘The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean.'” (John 13:8-10 ESV)

The real washing that comes from Jesus’ type of love makes us completely clean. This is the washing that comes from his blood, shed for us through his sacrificial love.

Prayer: Take a moment and thank Jesus for bowing down like a servant to give up his life to make us clean. Ask him to empower you to love others with this type of love and to embolden you to share the news of his love with those around you.

March 2021

Ten Day Journey in the Life of Peter – Day 5

By |2021-03-29T05:08:30-05:00March 31st, 2021|GodConnect|

John 6:66-69  [NIV] | 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

Following Jesus took Peter across Galilee and Judea and to places he could have never imagined. Lepers healed. Lame walking. The blind receiving sight. He saw Jesus raise a servant girl from the dead. Peter was there, twice, when the Lord of Creation scooped up a little boy’s lunch and stretched it to feed thousands of hungry, desperate people, with food left over. And there was the time Jesus, awoke from a nap and saved the disciples from shipwreck by speaking, yes speaking, to the water and turning a choppy sea smooth as glass in an instant.

Perhaps nothing encapsulates what this three-year journey was like for this fisherman-turned-follower than the words he spoke in response to a haunting question. After thousands of fair-weather followers peeled away from their movement in response to some hard teaching, Jesus offered a most human question: “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” (John 6:67). Jesus, Son of God, knew His mission and journeyed toward the cross, but Jesus, Man of Sorrows, was hurt as people rejected Him. In this moment, Peter spoke up:

Simon Peter answered, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68–69)

To whom will we go? This is why we pause every spring and gaze at a bloody cross and an empty tomb; why we drag ourselves out of bed on cold Sunday mornings, week after week; why, weary and sorrowful and not sure about anything, we come to Jesus in jumbled prayer. We have nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to. Jesus has the words of eternal life.

What Peter had was a tiny seed of faith, implanted in him by the Spirit of God. We know this because we read his bold words of affirmation of Jesus as the Christ, the anointed one spoken of by the Old Testament prophets.

Jesus’ response was that upon this rock—yes, Peter the impulsive, impatient, imperfect disciple—Christ would build His church. Peter and the other disciples would become Apostles, ushering in a new age of salvation history.

Author: Daniel Darling

Ten Day Journey in the Life of Peter – Day 4

By |2021-03-29T05:04:39-05:00March 30th, 2021|GodConnect|

Luke 5:2-11  [NIV] | He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Jesus became more familiar with Peter, staying in his home (Luke 4:38) and healing his mother-in-law of a fever, no small malady in a time before pain relievers, antibiotics, and vaccines. Peter’s home became a gathering place of sorts as word spread throughout Capernaum, and others made their way to his home, the desperate seeking healing and hope from this new rabbi.

For Peter, this was completely new. In Peter’s time the blind never saw. The lame never walked. The demons never left.

One day, after Peter returns from an unsuccessful overnight fishing trip, Jesus appears again on the beach and crowds began to form, eager to listen to His teaching. So Jesus asked the brothers to lend their boat to use as a place to sit and teach the gathering crowds. The brothers’ grimy and smelly boat—now a stage for the Son of God. And when the crowd dispersed, Jesus urged the men to give the nets another chance.

The Scripture suggests this tip rankled Peter, and we know why. When an amateur weighs in on our area of expertise, it raises our hackles. These guys knew the lake better than almost anyone. They were good at fishing, having spent their whole lives mastering the currents, discerning where schools of fish gathered and when exactly to cast their nets and when to draw them in. This was their business, their livelihood, their way of life. Jesus—He’s good for miracles and messages, but why was He messing with their business? Peter didn’t say it, but you know the internal dialogue went something like this: Jesus, You know nothing about this business. I’ve been doing this my whole life. It’s just not a good day out here. We’ll come back and get it tomorrow.

What followed was, well, a miracle. This was a vision of Peter’s future life. He was the empty net God would one day fill with spiritual power to preach to thousands of people at Pentecost, lead the early church, and write two books of inspired biblical canon.

This was Peter’s miracle. An empty net and an empty lake suddenly, inexplicably full of fish. Peter knew the sea, but Jesus made the sea.

Author: Daniel Darling

Ten Day Journey in the Life of Peter – Day 3

By |2021-03-29T05:00:46-05:00March 29th, 2021|GodConnect|

Matthew 16:15-19  [NIV] | 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, e and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

I think a lot about those simple words Andrew said that day. We have found Him. I think of my own father, who heard these words from my aunt who watched when an evangelist named Billy Graham spoke them to her on TV. My father walked that aisle in 1971 in Chicago and changed the trajectory of his troubled family. I’m here today, writing about Easter, because my father heard those words and said them to a young Jewish girl who would become his wife, a mother who would tell her son one day: We have found Him.

John preached. Andrew listened. John pointed to Jesus. Andrew found. This is how the gospel reaches you and it reaches me. God sends someone to us: a voice on the radio, a discarded tract, a persistent friend.

Simon didn’t know it, but his life story was being written before he was born. It began miles away in tiny Bethlehem thirty years earlier, when an impoverished carpenter and his wife pounded on the doors of an inn, begging for a place to give birth to their baby. Simon’s story began when an aging priest named Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, miraculously conceived and bore a child born to be a prophet. Jesus, John the Baptist, and Simon would converge, not by accident or fate, but by the silent fingers of God. The fullness of time was coming to bear down on an unsuspecting young fisherman.

And it was on the day Simon reluctantly followed that the entrepreneur fisherman became, in Jesus’ words, Peter—meaning “rock” (Matt. 16:18). Yes, the one who had to be dragged to Jesus would become a pillar of God’s new creation movement in the world, would be written into salvation history as one of the twelve Apostles, and would write two letters that would become Holy Writ.

Jesus’ closest companions, tasked with the founding of the church, would not be drafted from the finest rabbinical schools or from among the educated scribes or the bluebloods in Herod’s court, but would be plucked, like so many of Israel’s leaders, from the ranks of the common. The kingdom of God seems to travel away from the places of power and toward the unheralded, the unseen, the unqualified. The carpenter King, born in poverty on the backside of nobility, seeks His followers among those whom the world does not see.

Author: Daniel Darling

Ten Day Journey in the Life of Peter – Day 2

By |2021-03-26T04:39:07-05:00March 27th, 2021|GodConnect|

John 1:35-42  [NIV] |35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. 40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

The first encounter between Jesus and Peter seems to have been brokered by Simon’s brother Andrew. He was intrigued with another itinerant teacher, the rogue prophet named John. Some called him “the baptizer” for his controversial practice of calling Jewish people to a new level of repentance and cleansing, beyond the cold rituals. John was unlike the staid rabbis in the synagogue. A wild-eyed nomad who declared the kingdom of heaven had come near, John insisted the people of God must prepare themselves. While many shrugged off John’s message, Andrew listened. And the words cut straight to his heart. John didn’t speak of himself, but of another whom God was sending, with a winnowing fork, dividing true believers from pretenders.

Galileans were ready for messages about God’s coming kingdom, especially at a time when Israel keenly felt the burden of being a subject people. But hope for a better future was shadowed by a palpable sense of despair, a cynicism hardened by crushing Roman rule and failed revolutions. In their lifetime, Galileans had been massacred in an ugly confrontation with the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate.

And yet Andrew was still listening that one day, during a trip to Jerusalem with John, when the prophet pointed at a fellow Galilean, the son of Joseph, and declared of Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Andrew went to the place where Jesus was staying and was captivated by this rabbi’s teaching. So he returned to Capernaum and ran toward his brother Simon and urged him to check out this Jesus.

You can almost picture the scene in your mind, can’t you? I see him shouting, breathless and grabbing Simon by his fishing vest. This is the one! I know it sounds crazy. But trust me, you’ve got to come hear Him and see Him. I’ve never seen anything like this. 

Messiah, anointed one, meant a lot of things; and while the two brothers were catechized in the Torah, they were not scholars who pored over texts. And yet, unlike those who did, they knew enough to follow. They didn’t and wouldn’t understand then that the Christ would not just swoop in and conquer Israel’s enemies. They couldn’t see an unjust trial, a bloody cross, and the sending of the Spirit. But they knew just enough to follow.

Author: Daniel Darling

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