Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Nov 14, Lk 24, Jn 20-21.

Today's readings are Lk 24, Jn 20-21. Tomorrow's are Acts 1-3. 

Lk 24 relates the discovery of the empty tomb. Each of the gospels have slightly different details from the others. It would be better to read what each gospel does not say rather than trying to compare them on what they do say. Who was first to the tomb? When Peter and John got there, who looked in first? Suffice it to say that much ink has been utilized in harmonizing the four gospels regarding this scenario. The truth is that each rendition occupies a slightly different time frame in this historic evening and morning. If one takes the time to lay them all out, they tell the whole tale collectively and in harmony with each other. 

Lk 24:16 gives us an insight into many of the sightings of Jesus after the resurrection. He seems unrecognizable to most who encounter Him. This may have something to do with the appearance of His glorified body, a body that has risen and is soon to be in the Father's presence. 

But there may be a miraculous event of another nature occurring here. We see a similar instance in Jn 20:14, 31. The text seems to indicate that the supernatural event that occurs at these times is that people are prevented from recognizing Him until He is ready to reveal Himself. The Holy Spirit moves in a similar fashion in Jn 9:45, 18:34, actually concealing the meaning of Jesus's lessons from those listening. 

Significantly, the evidence that He was with them is in how 
He reminds them of His teaching (Lk 24:30-31). Additionally, His words fanned a flame in their spirits when He spoke (Lk 24:32).

Christ physically appears to them while they gather in a room in Lk 24:36-37. He's there to remind them of what He told them prior to the cross. It's a gentle reminder that everything they have experienced has been part of God's plan all along. 

Luke's gospel ends with the ascension of Christ, fulfilling His prophecy that He "was going to be with the Father."

Jn 20:1 is an excellent example of how the details may appear to conflict with each other. At first glance, Luke seems to say that the "women" went to the tomb and found it empty. John indicates that Mary Magdelene went, apparently by herself. Upon closer inspection, we see that the women went early in the morning while Mary Magdelene went "while it was still dark", perhaps just before dawn. Mary Magdelene seems to have arrived first, just before sunup, then left to tell the others. Apparently, the others arrived shortly afterward, perhaps immediately after dawn and ran to tell the others as well, unaware that Mary Magdelene had already been there.

Jn 20:17 is a verse that has caused more than a little discussion. While its meaning can be obscure, it appears as though Jesus is saying something similar to "Now that I have risen, don't spend your time and efforts holding on to me physically. Go tell people about Me!" Mary is obedient and becomes the very first human being to proclaim the gospel!

Notice, in Jn 20:24, the text does not say that Jesus walked through the walls or through the door. It simply says that Jesus "came and stood among them." Many assume this is a miraculous event. That may be true but we should always be careful not to read more into Scripture than what is actually there. 

In Jn 21, we see the evidence of the transformation the disciples are going through. They can no longer even fish successfully without Jesus Christ. When Jesus tells them to lower their nets on the right side of the boat, as experienced fisherman it appears that He is asking them to fish in a new way. They find that obedience to Christ can show them a new way to live and a new way to fish. Jesus is preparing them to 
live according to His word and not according to their understanding of how the world works or what their roles are in that world. 

In Jn 21:13-19, Peter is redeemed from having denied Jesus. But he also learns that he will be a leader in the new church. Ultimately, Peter will be called to give up his life for the sake of the gospel (Jn 21:18-19).

These are all lessons for us today. We should learn to live and function by and under the authority of God's word. Jesus will show us a new way to live and a new way to fit in the world around us. He will bless our obedience but we may be called upon to make great sacrifices for the sake of the gospel.  


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