What does it mean to be a follower of Christ, to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him?
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"Part 2 Shepherds: The Good The Bad and The Ugly", Episode 8 Transcript
Hi, it's Katie with Bountiful Living.
If you didn't tune in to Part 1, I was introducing John 10:10 sharing why I chose this as my key Bible verse for Bountiful Living.
It says, "But the thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy but Christ has come for us to have life and have it to the full."
And of course, I'm not going to just tell you a scripture without also exploring it as deeply as I can. I got so much from this one verse that I'm having to put the podcast into a few different segments.
If you didn't hear, Part 1 of Shepherds, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I told everyone that I had a little bit of personal conviction during this study on shepherding.
God gave me a companion verse to John 10:10. It is John 20:30, it says, "Jesus went on to do many more miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not even included in this book. But all that's recorded here. So that you will fully believe that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Son of God, and that through your faith in Him, you will experience eternal life by the power of his name."
This verse reinforces that when we believe in Christ, we have life in His name. Because I never want to take a verse out of context I continued reading in John chapter 21 to see what happens next. I was so surprised at how this all gets tied up with shepherding like a neat little bow.
This was Jesus's third appearance after His resurrection to a group of His disciples by the Lake of Galilee. It looks like Peter, Thomas, the twin, Nathaniel, Jacob, John, and two other disciples were there. And Peter told them he was going fishing, and they went out but through the night, they didn't catch anything. And as the sun began to rise, (John 21:4)
"Jesus was standing there at the shore. But the disciples did not realize it was Him!
So Jesus kind of shouts outs to them, 'Hey, guys, have you caught any fish?'
'Not a thing,' they replied.
Jesus shouted to them, 'Throw your net over the starboard side and you'll catch some!"
So as they did, they caught so many fish they couldn't even pull it in with the net!
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved. (John) said to Peter, 'It is the Lord! When Peter heard him say that he quickly wrapped up his outer garment because he was wearing something that was fit for fishing, and dove right into the lake to Jesus."
Can you imagine this? Just, imagine this reunion!
"The other disciples then brought the boat to shore dragging their catch of fish, they weren't far from the land, only about 100 meters, and when they got to the shore, they noticed a charcoal fire with some roasted fish, and bread."
So, guys, Jesus was making breakfast for the disciples!
"'Bring some of the fish you just caught,' Jesus said, so Peter waded into the water and pulled some to shore, there was 153 fish, and even with so many fish, the net was not torn." (John 21:10-11, TPT)
Now this seems miraculous, and it was, but it is a testament to who our God is. He is able to provide. He knew these men are fishermen. He knew they needed fish, to eat, for their survival, and to sell and trade in this world. And they needed their nets as well. So...He kept them strong and secure, even though scientifically they should have broken. That is the God we serve!
I have seen these miracles in my own life and in my own testimony, which I won't get into too much today because it's a bit off-topic, but to confirm what Jesus has done in my own life, there have been many times that because of my husband's career he has been at companies where they went bankrupt, and suddenly he was unemployed and we were down to like $12 in the bank. One day, we got a coupon for free coffee at McDonald's, and I mean, that just felt like a treat. Because we have been scraping by on nothing because we were both unemployed It's hard to remember the timeline of what was going on in that season of our life. I cannot remember why I wasn't working, maybe I was pregnant. I just remember we were both unemployed and scraping by.
I remember getting this coupon for free coffee. I was like, "Oh honey, go get it! Go get this free coffee. Treat yourself!"
And so he did.
Do you know what happened when he went to McDonald's to get the free coffee?
He saw someone he knew, reconnected with them, and got a job interview!
Now, that is our God!
We can have nothing. We can have absolutely nothing in the account and He somehow makes it last. Somehow we don't get in the red. He can use these opportunities where we're just going about our daily lives like you would never expect in a million years to show up at McDonald's and get a job interview and reconnect with someone, but that's our God. And while my husband didn't end up getting that particular job, that connection led to another connection. And he has been with that same company now for over 10 years.
That my friend is our God!
So back to the story in John 21, there are 153 fish, and the net is not torn. And Jesus said to them, in verse 12, "come let us have breakfast, and not one of the disciples even needed to ask who it was. Because every one of them knew it was the Lord, that Jesus came close to them and serve them with bread and fish. This was the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection."
Here's the beautiful, beautiful part.
Everything I just shared is setting the scene, telling us where they are that Jesus is sitting there with his disciples after his resurrection. They know He is risen. They're sitting there on the beach, having breakfast together as friends.
Those of you who have heard the stories of the resurrection of Christ going to the cross I know you've also heard about Peter denying that he knew this man. He gave his word at the Last Supper that he would never deny Christ, but he did before the rooster crowed. Peter had not only denied he knew Jesus once, not twice, but three times.
Jesus did not come at him harshly.
He didn't do that.
Because God is the One who restores.
He brings back what is broken and what is scattered.
John 21:15 says, "after they had breakfast, Jesus said to Peter, '
Simon, son of Jonah, do you burn with love for Me more than these?'
Peter answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know, I have great affection for You.'
Jesus responds, 'Then take care of my lambs.'
Jesus repeated the question a second time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you burn with love for Me?'
Peter answered, 'Yes, My Lord, You know, I have great affection for You.'
Jesus says in response, 'Then take care of my sheep.'
Jesus asked him again, 'Peter, son of Jonah, do you have great affection for Me?'
Here Peter started to get sad after being asked a third time and said, 'My Lord, You know everything. You know, I love you.'
Jesus replied again. 'Feed my sheep.''
Wow. For the three times he said he didn't know Christ; Jesus restored him all three of those times. And it's very interesting, how he is responding. I think what he is doing is giving a commission to Peter.
I can think back on the times when he called Peter His rock and said upon this rock, I will build my church. And we know in the book of Acts that's exactly what happened. We know that Peter and the other disciples, including Paul also did a huge work in starting the church and discipling the church.
I find it very interesting that Jesus is calling Peter a shepherd.
We're gonna pick up in verse 18, where Jesus says,
"'Peter, listen, when you were younger, you made your own choices, and you went where you pleased. And one day when you're old, others will tie you up and escort you where you don't want to go. But you will spread out your arms, meaning he will do it willingly.' [Jesus said this to Peter as a prophecy of what kind of death he would die for the glory of God.]
And then Jesus said, 'Peter, follow me.'" (John 21:19, TPT)
When I read those words, "Peter, follow me."
I can almost hear Jesus say,
"Katie, if you love me, feed my sheep.
Katie, if you love me, take care of my lambs.
Katie, if you love me shepherd my sheep.
Katie, follow me."
What Christ is saying to you today?
Because I think this command is not just for Peter. If you look at what Peter begins to talk about in First and Second Peter, he tells the church how to shepherd. When you think about it for a minute, all of us in some moment of our lives are shepherding.
I am not referring to spiritual gifts right now, I've taken my spiritual gifts test and know I am a shepherd. I know that is the gift that God has placed on my life that He has called me to shepherd and He's given me the gift of mercy.
Do not compare yourself to me. It is likely you have different spiritual gifts, completely different than mine, maybe you're a craftsperson, hospitable, generous, the gift of service or wisdom.
There are many ways we can serve the Lord. But whether or not that is our spiritual gifting, we all Shepherd at some point in our life.
Maybe you're a mentor.
Maybe you have children. You're definitely a shepherd.
Maybe you lead a team at church or at your place of work, you're a shepherd.
So I had to think for a minute, what is our responsibility to people?
How are we to lead them?
How are we to love them?
How are we to serve them?
How are we to shepherd our children?
How are we to love as Christ loved?
How are we to serve as Christ said?
How are we to lay down our lives as he did?
The answer does not come in a religious list of rules, because God's law is now written on our hearts. The answer comes in making a decision to follow Christ.
We're told to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him.
And when we signed up for Christianity, maybe you didn't realize that's what it was about, that we would begin to live and walk out our lives the way that Jesus lived and walked out His life.
And that's part of the reason I'm doing this podcast, I've been a Christian my entire life and there are things that I've never understood, truths that I heard a million times but didn't really connect all the dots. And that's why I think the Old Testament is so important. Because if you don't understand these prophecies, these parables without understanding the foundations.
We receive a lot of truth reading the "Parable of the Kind Shepherd" in John chapter 10, but when we push past the surface of what Jesus is saying to why Israel and we need a Shepherd we uncover so much more.
In John 21 Jesus is talking directly to Peter, but I also believe He's talking to His church. I believe He's talking to me. I believe He's talking to you. And this all goes back to Ezekiel. We know that the thief who comes to steal kill and destroy is not just Satan, "the thief." Satan is behind all evil and wickedness, we know that. But there are people that represent evil and that wickedness, and we don't want to be those people.
We want to be the ones aligned with peace.
We want to be the ones aligned with kindness and with unity and binding up people's wounds, caring for the sick clothing the needy, clothing even our own children, and thinking of others more than we think of ourselves.
And I have to tell you, I was a bit convicted in my study, because I have been eating on the fat of the land. Because we have a child with life threatening food allergies we're not really able to go out to eat at restaurants. So now that my kids are old enough to be in school my husband and I have enjoyed eating out a lot during lunch. He has been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020, for over two years now.
Let me tell you, we have enjoyed going to lunch together. I am a total foodie. Food is definitely the way to my heart and while I do not get out of control with unhealthy eating, or overspending, I was still convicted that I think we've been doing it a bit too much, "eating on the fat of the land."
How can I dine out so much? Have I forgotten the poor?
I am not saying that we should stop enjoying life. We are so blessed to live in the "land of plenty" and we should never stop enjoying and being grateful because God has given it to us. He has placed us here in America.
But I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 25, "whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me."
I want to ask you all today about your own personal responsibility.
Think about this for a moment, If you are a pastor, you are shepherding.
If you are a parent, you're shepherding your kids.
If you're a boss, you're shepherding your employees.
Are you doing it the way Jesus does it? Or are you doing it your way?
And there's no right or wrong answer here.
This is a moment for personal conviction because I know it convicted me, that I was probably we're spending way too much on lunch. We need to cut back and give some of that money to bless someone else and not hoard it to myself.
Because we don't want to be that way.
As Christians, we are to be the hands and feet of Christ.
I hope you're inspired and not feeling shame or guilt, because that is from the enemy.
The Holy Spirit convicts, He can bring about change.
Don't let Satan shame you like you have done wrong and made a mistake.
Decide to do different today to deny yourself pick up your cross and follow Him.