Sunday, January 23, 2022


What does it mean to be ordained for ministry? 

Romans 1:1 says “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…”

First of all, you are set apart for the ministry of the Gospel. 

You are set apart first of all by your calling. You are here because you believe God has called you into the ministry, just as God called Paul to the ministry of an apostle. 

You have pursued that call. You committed yourself to the gospel ministry. We used to say you “surrendered for special service”. You sought training and education to prepare you for service. And now you are serve Christ and his church as a minister.

Second, you are set apart by the church, which has recognized your calling. That is what ordination is. It is the church recognizing your calling into ministry and supporting you in it. You are set apart. 

You are also a servant of Christ Jesus. It is the way Paul first identifies himself in Romans 1. You are bound to Christ, to do his will his way. You put the Lord’s will above your own and everyone else’s, even if it means struggle and sacrifice. Jesus said whoever would be great among you must be your servant. In fact, whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all.  (Mark 10:44) Jesus himself is our example, as he said he came to serve, not to be served. (Mark 10:45)

Servants are desperately needed today. The world is full of those who promote themselves and aggrandize themselves even as they claim to be ministers. They expect to be recognized and revered. But the call is to be a servant, one who denies himself and honors and exalts Christ. 

Lastly, you are to be a steward of the gospel. Going to the example of Paul again, in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 he said “this is how one should regard us, as a servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they must be found trustworthy”. 

A steward is one who takes care of the estate of his master in the absence of the owner or on his behalf. Christ has charged his ministers to teach, protect, and defend the gospel. The minister must be trustworthy in this regard, always teaching Biblical truth, not revising it to fit the cultural movements of the day, not avoiding the difficult things God requires, and not diminishing the greatness of God by making him just a better version of ourselves.

These are the basic elements of the ministry to which you are called and for which you are ordained today. So, on behalf of the congregation of believers, our church, I charge you today to fulfill your calling and ordination with all of the strength the Lord will give you, and pledge to support you in prayer and in our labor. 

Godspeed and God bless. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

That Day

 “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30—31

This day is permanently established. It will not be rescheduled or postponed due to Covid.  

Our confidence is based on the resurrection, which shows that Jesus is the one to whom judgment has been appointed. 

Christians should think about the resurrection and judgment as motivation to holiness and godliness, our devotion to Christ. (2 Peter 3:10-12) Jesus himself told us to be alert and faithful. (Matthew 24:42-51) 

Christians should also look forward to this time with joy and peace, “for God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us”. (1Thessalonians 5:1-8) We can embrace Article 37 of the Belgic Confession, which says:

“The consideration of this judgment, is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked, but most desirable to the righteous and elect: because then their full deliverance shall be perfected and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne.” 

Friday, January 14, 2022



An epilogue is a section at the end of a book that wraps up the story to explain what happened or to tell what happened to the characters after the story ends.

Jesus Appeared in Galilee


“After this” means after the events of Chapter 21, including Jesus’ appearance to the disciples with Thomas. It does not tell us how much time has gone by since the end of chapter 21. 

Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John (sons of Zebedee), and two others, retreated to Galilee, by the Sea of Tiberias, which is also known as the Sea of Galilee.The 7 disciples mentioned may all have been from that area, so it would be natural to go there. Plus Jesus had told them, through Mary Magdalene, that he would see them in Galilee.

Peter decided to go fishing. (3) Some commentators criticize him for that and accuse him of abandoning the mission. But, was he really wrong to go fishing?  You could accuse him of a return to former profession? But, he may have been killing time, waiting for Jesus to appear? 

Or, was it an economic necessity? He may have needed the income to support his family. And, maybe he was simply obeying Jesus by going to Galilee. It is unfair to judge his motives when the Scripture does not tell us what they were. 

John did not record it, but Jesus did instruct the disciples to go to Galilee and wait for him. This is recorded in Matthew 28:7 & 10 and Mark 14:28.

So, most likely, they went there to obey Jesus, then they went fishing either to keep busy or to make some money while they waited for him. 

The disciples did not catch anything during the night even though it was considered the best time to fish. But also seems symbolic given John’s frequent use of the contrast between darkness and light.  In darkness they attempt a task in their own power and fail; in the light they succeed in the power of Jesus! 

Jesus appeared on the shore at daybreak, when light first began to appear. (4) The disciples did not recognize him.

The disciples had not caught any fish throughout the night. Jesus called out to them & told them to cast on the other side of the boat. In his omniscience, Jesus knew there were many fish on the other side (or even sent the fish to that side). They did and caught a lot of fish.

John recognized Jesus and told Peter “it is the Lord!”. He may have made the connection to the event of Luke 5:1-11, when Jesus called the first disciples by giving them fish to catch. Or, maybe because it was a miracle, he recognized Jesus as the cause.

Peter (impetuously) jumped in the water and swam to shore (7). This shows us that, despite his earlier denials, Peter loved Jesus and wanted badly to see him. The others followed in the boat, dragging the net (8) 

Jesus had made some breakfast, having built a fire and started cooking fish and bread. (9) Jesus served breakfast to the disciples who had worked all night, still being the humble servant & knowing what they needed (13) He told them bring more fish, so Peter hauled the net full of fish to shore by himself (strong man!) because he was 

eager to please. 

John gives a specific count of the fish (153) to show it was an enormous and miraculous catch. He also recorded that the net was not broken despite the large catch (another miracle). Jesus was demonstrating to the disciples, via the miracles, that it was he appearing to them. And so, they recognized that it was Jesus. (12)

The disciples must have still be hesitant and maybe even fearful. Jesus had to tell them to “come and have breakfast” (12) and “None of them dared to ask him…”, indicating some fearfulness on their part.

This was the third post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples (14) The number “3” is symbolic of something complete and good. For example, saying something 3 times (calling Samuel, going to Gethsemane to pray, instructing Peter to feed his sheep), or repeating the same word 3 times (holy, holy, holy) (woe is…). Through this, John shows us that Jesus completely and sufficiently revealed himself to the disciples to prove he was resurrected and alive. 

Jesus & Peter


Jesus questioned Peter 3 times about his love for Jesus. The first time, Jesus asked him if he loved Jesus “more than these?”, meaning more than these other men\disciples love Jesus. Peter always acted like he did before his denials. 

Peter appealed to Jesus’ deity\omniscience, saying “you know that I love you”.  Since Jesus knows all things, he knows Peter loves him. (17) Jesus accepted Peter’s declaration.  He commissioned Peter: feed my lambs. 

Jesus had Peter declare his love 3 times just as he denied Jesus 3 times.

It would be a complete declaration of love just as it was a complete denial of Jesus (3 times). 

Jesus answered each declaration of love with “feed\tend my sheep”. Peter was to show his love for Jesus by teaching and taking care of believers (the sheep). Jesus was the true shepherd on earth, and passed that duty down to Peter and the other apostles. 

No authority is given here - simply a commission to serve the flock.

Peter later passed the responsibility down to elders, writing:

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the suffering of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising overseeing, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in our charge, buy being examples to the flock”. (1 Peter 5:1-3)

The Prophecy


Jesus told Peter how he would die. To “stretch out your hands” refers to crucifixion. Peter faithfully served for about 3 decades with this prophecy hanging over his head.

Jesus & John


Jesus & Peter took off walking down the beach. (20) John followed. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved, the one reclining at table close to Jesus when he revealed who would betray him. 

Peter, having been told of his own death, wanted to know John’s fate.

But Jesus told him it was none of his business. Peter’s job was to follow Jesus.

That is true for all of us. We do not need to waste question Jesus about his plan and will for others so that we can compare it to his plan for us. Rather, we are to concentrate on following him. 

John did not write down everything Jesus did. (25) He did not think all of those things could be contained in all the books written - his testimony to Jesus’ greatness. That seems to be true - look how many books have been written about Jesus since then! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The New Heaven and New Earth

 "The whole terrifying conflict has been about the divine Husband's jealous love for his bride, a love so jealous that he will fight all comers in order to have her all to self, a love so sacrificial he lays down is life to protect from every threat and enemy."

Dennis Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, Commentary on Revelation 21:1-4.