Recognizing Jesus; April 8, 2021

John 21:7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.

What a transformation! We have no record of what happened when Jesus appeared personally to Peter after the resurrection (Luke 24:34), but Don Francisco has given us an anointed song that paints what I feel is a very realistic picture, called He’s Alive. In any case, the disciple who denied three times that he even knew Jesus is here risking drowning just to get near Jesus. The awareness and conviction of forgiveness is transforming. I really feel John added this last chapter to his Gospel to give us more insight into Peter, as well as to quell a rumor that had come up about John, which he deals with in the last half of the chapter. This also gives us a further picture of Jesus after the resurrection We don’t know what it was about His appearance that made some people uncertain as to his identity. Cleopas and his friend at first didn’t recognize Him as they walked to Emmaus, (Luke 24:14-16) Here verse 12 indicates that whereas “They knew it was the Lord,” His physical appearance might have left some doubt. I think it’s significant that John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” was the first to recognize Him. It’s also significant that Peter immediately took John’s word for it! We too have trouble recognizing Jesus in our daily lives, but love is essential for that recognition. We get all caught up in circumstances, forgetting the very true saying that “Everything God does is love, whatever it looks like.” When we are assured of God’s love, we can recognize that He will never allow anything in our lives that He can’t use for good. (Romans 8:28) The private audience with Jesus after His resurrection completely convinced Peter that he was loved, and he spent the rest of his life living in response to that love. We could do no better.

I’ve never seen Jesus with my physical eyes, nor even had a vision of Him, but I have been very aware of Him on a number of occasions, and the impact has been undeniable. The point is not to compartmentalize those experiences as something in the past, but to live in expectation of His presence all the time. After all, He said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18) I am to keep my spiritual eyes peeled, so to speak, to recognize Him however He chooses to interact with me. As a pastor I find that very few people have any expectation of interacting with Jesus, and it’s sad. I was talking with someone just yesterday about regular devotions being a way to hear from the Lord daily, and it was like I was talking about a different world. Actually, I was, but we need to be operating in the spirit world more and more (2 Corinthians 5:7), because “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) I need the help of the Holy Spirit to lift the believers’ eyes off of the physical to indeed see Jesus in all His love, mercy, and glory, in order to follow Him completely.

Father, thank You for this clear Word. I too need to grow in faithfulness to keep my eyes on Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2) Help me be Your agent more and more consistently, so that Your grace, mercy, and love may flow through me to all with whom I come in contact, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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