the stone is rolled away - day 9 of 10

DAY 9 of 10 - APRIL 18, 2022 Special Devotion Written by Dr. Dan Bolin - Taking a Deeper Look into the Wonder of Easter

The story of Easter is the story of second chances. History matters. Our mistakes, disobedience, selfishness, and outright rebellion can not be overlooked, but they can be forgiven. The punishment for our misbehavior was absorbed by Jesus on the cross. The debt we owed was paid in full through Jesus’ death. Jesus’ final word from the cross was tetelestai. The English translation is usually, “It is finished”. The word was commonly used in accounting when a debt was paid in full. No additional payment was required. The penalty for my sin, your sin, all of our sin was paid in full. The Apostle John, who witnessed the crucifixion, tells us, He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:2) That included the sin of Peter who had lied to strangers three times about even knowing Jesus. A few weeks after the events of Easter, Peter announced, “I’m going fishing” (John 21:3) and the other Disciples went with him. Peter, Andrew, James, and John had all been professional fishermen, the others must have tagged along. They were heading back to the familiar, the comfortable, the secure place that had been home until Jesus came along. After fishing all night and catching nothing, a solitary figure in the shoreline called out to them, the rough translation, “catch anything?” “No” they muttered. The figure came back to them, “Throw your nets on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” (John 21:6). Suddenly the nets began to swell with fish, lots of big ones! As I imagine the story, Andrew said, “Wow, we haven’t caught so many fish since that day we met Jesus!” (Luke 5:1-11) Three years earlier, after fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus, the carpenter, had instructed the four professional fishermen on when, where, and how to fish. Deferring to Jesus’ command, they had caught so many fish their boats began to sink! That was the start of their great adventure with Jesus. He had called them with the simple offer, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Luke 5:10) Instantly, the memories flooded back. In stunned disbelief, Peter, James, and John froze, looked at each other, and then turned toward the man on the shore. John exclaimed, “It is the Lord”, and Peter jumped overboard and swam to Jesus. After breakfast, Peter and Jesus had a second-chance conversation. Three times Jesus asked, “Peter, do you love me?” And three times Peter struggled to affirm his affection for the man he had denied even knowing during Jesus’ trial. After each awkward exchange, Jesus opens the door for Peter’s future ministry. Three times he gives Peter a similar assignment. “Feed my lambs.” “Take care of my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17). Earlier Jesus had commissioned Peter to be a fisher of men. Now Jesus calls Peter to feed and care for His sheep. A few hours earlier, Peter, consumed with his failure and denial of Jesus, was ready to return to his old life as a fisherman. But Jesus, through the events of Easter, had made provision for second chances, and he offered one to Peter.

Peter’s role had expanded. Not only was he to bring people to Jesus. He was to care for them after they became part of God’s family. He was to be a fisher of men and a shepherd of sheep. Before their conversation ended, Jesus reminded Peter of the foundation for feeding and caring for the sheep. He repeats his original command to Peter, “Follow me.” Though we may stop following Jesus, he never stops following us. He pursues us and offers undeserved second chances that are available because of what he accomplished on Easter.

Dan Bolin President Refueling in Flight Ministries, Inc