Friends

I hope you have had a great week.  We have been praying for you this week.  This coming week we are going to be talking about Jesus eating with the disciples in John 21. 

The earliest memories of my childhood include fishing.  I was not particularly good at it, but I remember what it felt like to catch something on the other end of the line.  It was an exhilarating feeling—even if it was just a can or an old boot.

John 21:1-14 tells a different kind of fishing story: the story of Jesus' third appearance to the disciples after His resurrection.  While waiting for Jesus at Galilee, Peter decided to go fishing, and the other disciples joined him, but they did not catch anything.  The next morning, Jesus appeared on the shore and told them to cast their nets on the other side of their boat.  They ended up with a huge amount of fish—and an intimate breakfast with the risen Lord.

This was not the first time we see Jesus eating with people.  

The first time I ever heard “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns, I could hardly breathe.  I suddenly had the heavy realization that we Christians often become the stumbling blocks rather than the stepping stones to Jesus.

The song caused me to think about Jesus’ interactions with sinners and the religious leaders of His day.  No matter who they were.

Here are few examples:

·         Jesus willingly dined with sinners. When asked about this practice by the Pharisees, His answer was simple: “Only the sick need a physician.”  (Matthew 9:9-12)

·         Jesus made a straight forward statement to the scribes & Pharisees who had dragged a woman caught in adultery to the center of the temple court. “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  (John 8:3-11)

·         When Peter sinned by denying Christ three times at the crucifixion, Jesus restored the relationship with him in John 21.    Peter denied Christ three times, and Christ asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?”

·         Zacchaeus was a deceitful tax collector who had defrauded many people. But as Jesus passed by the Sycamore tree where he was perched to get a good look at the Master, he was called down to a dinner that would change his life!  (Luke 19:1-10)  Of course, the Pharisees had something to say about Jesus eating with a crooked tax collector, but that is ok, because Jesus knew His mission – “to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

Now don’t get the wrong impression about Jesus.  Friend of sinners – YES! Tolerant of sin – NO!

What really matters is a RELATIONSHIP with God.  It’s not so much what you know as who you know.  The Gospel is about relationship.  The Gospel is about a Kingdom with a King (Jesus).  The Gospel is more about relationships than it is about ideas.

I’m going to share a story about how important relationships are with others. 

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.  The family ate together at the table.  But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor.  When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.  "We must do something about Grandfather," said the son.  "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."  So, the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.  There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.

Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.  Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

Their four-year-old son watched it all in silence.  One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.  He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?"

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up."  The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless.  Then tears started to stream down their cheeks.  Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening, the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.  For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family.  And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Is it amazing how God used a child  with a little wooden bowl to change the heart of a parent.  Their eyes ever observe, their ears ever listen, and their minds ever process the messages they absorb.  Relationships are key to a happy life.  You are made to be with others.  Just like Jesus meeting with a bunch of men (fisherman) He wants a relationship with you.  You might be surprised where Jesus might show up, He might meet you at the nearest fishin’ hole.  He might meet you at a home of an elderly person.  He might meet you at Walmart, who knows Just be ready!

Make Every Day Count!

Barry

 

Come Sunday and eat with us!