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John 21: The Beauty of Jesus’ Shepherding Love

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Mosaic of Jesus Christ and apostle Peter and John Madrid: Iglesia de San Manuel y San Benito

Beloved,

John 21 shatters all our excuses as to why we are not qualified to be great in His eyes, in the Kingdom of God.

In this quarterly message, I want to explore with you the dynamics of two human beings, much like you and me, Peter and John and their interaction with Jesus in this final tender scene that so typifies the whole timbre of John’s extraordinary Gospel of Love that has survived, persisted and flourished in the midst, throughout, and past relentless opposition.

Master in matters of the heart, our Alpha and Omega, thorough from beginning to the end, never leaving anything undone in the human heart that can possibly be done, Jesus strikes right to the heart of the matter with the ones who will faithfully finish the work and run the race he’s given them. Recovery for Peter and for all the disciples is crucial at this point. After all his best efforts, Peter, the leader of the group, had shamefully denied his Lord and Best Friend. Though all fled the night of Jesus’ betrayal, Peter, being brash Peter, as the fearlessly bold leader, did the forsaking of his Lord quite pointedly, in a big, unmistakable way, with three different witnesses to his blatant denial.

Now, even after Jesus has returned from the grave, Peter still has an unrecovered heart in confidence of his calling and his relationship with his Lord. Certainly he’s thrilled beyond words that Jesus is alive, but as far as Peter’s concerned, he believes that God cannot really ever trust him again, nor does Peter trust himself. In short, he’s quite wobbly at this point. What is left for him to do but to return to the familiar trade of fishing, what he did before he met this most important Man in his life. After all, he knows how to fish. That’s something dependable, something sure that he can do without disgracing himself. So back to fishing he goes and takes along six others of the company of the Co-inherence.

But success in fishing turns out to be not a sure thing, after all. After a sleepless, fishless night, Peter hears the voice of a stranger on the shore amiably calling to him and his companions, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” The word “haven’t” sounds a sympathetic, hopeful strain, as does the kind address as “friends.” But their NO booms back the dismal reality. The stranger ventures further to offer a bit of genial advice: “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” Well, why not, they reason; nothing else has worked. We’ll give it a try.

Cast Your Net By Daniel Caldwell

Cast Your Net
By Daniel Caldwell

To their startled delight, immediately all manner of large fish begin swarming, rushing with all their might to jump into this shimmering net, a net, to the fish’s glassy eyes, lowered from fish heaven just for these very appointed, chosen fish who have been waiting for it all their fishy lives. It is this very net and no other that will fulfill their highest dreams. Nothing can keep these ordained, precisely numbered 153 fish out! And it all happens so fast, so effortlessly. At the right time, at the right direction, from the right man. What a destiny to obey the High Call of the Beautiful Man on the shore for these fish and what a catch for a downcast fisherman!

By now John, in typical John fashion calling himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” (five times in his Gospel, 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20) is the first to discern, “It is the Lord!” Upon hearing this, Peter, in typical Peter fashion as a man of immediate and passionate reaction, heedless of the fisherman’s fish fantasy dream come true, rushes, as irresistibly as the fish had into their shimmering destiny net, toward the net of his Lord’s drawing presence. Wrapping his outer garment around him, he flings himself into the water, leaving the cumbersome task of towing the fish to shore to his fellow disciples. He simply cannot be bothered with lesser things right now.

Ever the preparer of the way before his sheep, Good Shepherd Jesus welcomes them to a fire of burning coals with fish and bread to refresh their weary, toiling bodies. And to let them know that their efforts have not been wasted at all, he smilingly encourages as a father to children eager to please, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Yes! Peter is on it – now that’s something he can do right.

Back to the boat he goes, climbing aboard and dragging the net ashore. What satisfaction he has in carrying out this order of his Lord. And oh, my, such large fish and yet the net is not torn! Not a fish has been lost, and no toilsome mending of nets to worry about later. It’s a perfect set-up for a hearty carefree breakfast with this most genial, gracious host on a glorious morning—a host who thinks of and prepares for everything.

John 21 Fish Bucket By Paul Indigo

John 21 Fish Bucket
By Paul Indigo

Jesus the Good Shepherd does not rush the time of easy companionship. He bides his time before he begins the process of recovery. First they will enjoy their breakfast in gentle banter, laughing about the joke of the fish, remembering the first time that happened when he first called them. He lets them relax and enjoy this exquisite time of deep friendship as they all had enjoyed together so many times during the past three years.

Aware of every heart movement of his beloved ones, Jesus knows that all is not quite right with Peter’s wounded heart, and if Peter is not quite right, neither will the rest be completely right. Let us review the scene of the Master Heart Surgeon at work, this final scene of heart recovery that John leaves us with in his Gospel—John 21:15-23. How kind of John to leave us with this beautiful snapshot of his friend Peter in process of full recovery, for we know that what Jesus does with Peter, he does with us:

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter. ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’

Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me?’

He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’

The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’

He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’

Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will lead you where you do not want to go.’ Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’”

Nets and Boat Yael Fine Arts Studio

Nets and Boat
Yael Fine Arts Studio

The first observation I want to make is about our Lord’s strategic use of names. Remember the passage in John 1, when Andrew had excitedly found Jesus? Andrew was always finding people and bringing them to Jesus. So, true to his nature

“the first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

“Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which when translated, is Peter).” (John 1:41-42)

And so this new disciple of Jesus was called Peter or Simon Peter throughout the Gospel UNTIL this last scene in John 21. What could be the reason for Jesus’ reverting back to Peter’s birth name, Simon son of John? Matthew 16:13-19, Peter’s Confession of Christ, sheds some light on this usage of names.

“[Jesus] asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’” (Matthew 16:13)

After his disciples answer with the names of John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets, Jesus, less than a year away from his Passion, needs to know that some progress has been made in his closest friends: “But what about you? Who do you say I am?”

And then comes the stunning reply by Peter, probably his finest moment. All heaven rejoiced to hear it.

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of God.’”

It was the essential question and the essential answer. Peter’s 100 percent right-on response was nothing short of breathtaking and earth-shaking in its import. Don’t you know the angels were breathing a sigh of relief – “Finally!” they must have exclaimed to one another. “At last someone on earth has understood who His Majesty is – but look who’s doing the declaring: that brash young man Peter, as His Majesty named him. Well, His Majesty knows what He’s doing; He’s always right in everything He says and does. It’s Peter being a rock, as His Majesty named him. Simon is a good name, too, because it means ‘heard’ or ‘hearkened.’ Evidently Peter’s ears have indeed hearkened to the heavenly revelation.”

We don’t have to wonder if this kind of heavenly celebration could possibly be true, because of Jesus’ own unbridled joy at such a response. Jesus’ heart overflowed with genuine gratitude that issued in an ecstatic blessing upon Simon son of Jonah/John for such a remarkable Holy Confession of the truth about himself. Peter’s normally un-anointed lips provoked Jesus’ first prophecy about the victorious, triumphant church that was to be established solidly on such heavenly revelation of the living God-Man:

“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah [John], for this was not revealed to you by man but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’”

Alpha and Omega From an illuminated manuscript

After affirming such a declaration, Jesus then warns his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ. To make it known prematurely would trigger a premature death before Jesus had completed his mission. Christ (Greek translation of Messiah) was a dangerous term in those days. Originally the term Messiah was used of someone God chose to be anointed by holy oil, like a priest or king, consecrated to a special assignment and empowered by God to carry it out. Hence, people like Moses and Samuel and David were all chosen, anointed and empowered by God to fulfill a special assignment for their generation. But by the time of Jesus, the term Messiah was a loaded word, primarily having mainly political and national implications. Jesus rarely used the term himself, using the more preferred appellation Son of Man, a term of meekness used 89 times in the Gospels. It denotes derivation, that is, derived from someone before him, not being independent of himself. Also it suggests the beautiful act of identification with the fallen race of Adam and all the lost possibilities for greatness, something that Jesus the Redeemer was determined to recover fully.

Don’t you love our Lord for referring to himself by this homely term Son of Man? Do you know that he has chosen to be a Man forever so he could have you and me for his bride forever. This first reference to this term occurs in Daniel 7:13-14: “one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven” approached the Ancient of Days and was not only led into his presence, but was given “authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

Here are a few crucial names of our Beloved:

  • the Jewish man, Jesus of Nazareth – Hebrew Yeshua, meaning “the LORD saves,”
  • Son of Man – one born of a woman yet worshiped and adored like the Ancient of Days
  • Son of God – the 100 percent God of God, true God from true God, one with the Father and the Holy Spirit
  • Christ/Messiah – the anointed, chosen one appointed to carry out a special assignment of deliverance
  • the Word – always speaking truth, always bringing forth light and life
  • the great I AM – essence of fullness of BEING, totally self-replenishing, self-fulfilling
Jesus son of Man By Jyoti Art Ashram

Jesus son of Man
By Jyoti Art Ashram

So let this be established for us: names are important to Holy Trinity. The Holy Three like names and the naming of everything. Everything in the universe has both a name and a number, whether a molecular number, a DNA number, a star spectrum number. God has named the countless stars and calls them one by one. Through the wisdom of God, Adam knew exactly what to name the animals after their nature and attributes. All the names in the Bible are named with prophetic significance and destiny. Your parents named you, even unknowingly perhaps, to signify greatness in God. You also have a secret name which only you as an over-comer and Jesus will know. (See Rev 2:17). Also, as an over-comer, you will have three other names that Jesus lists in Revelation 3:12 – “the name of my God,” “the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem,” and “my new name.”

As for blustery, flawed Peter, his name was a prophetic banner waving over him whenever anyone called his name. As previously noted in my imagined conversation by the angelic host, the name Simon son of John means “hearkening son of the gracious gift of God.” Notice that in his ecstatic outburst, Jesus called Peter by BOTH names. The first words out of Jesus’ mouth are, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah [John].” Simon means “hearkened,” or “heard” or “listened”. This is one who listened and hearkened to the “Father in heaven” (Matt 16:17) and is listened to by the Son of God in the flesh, the one calling himself the Son of Man. A mere mortal born of flesh could hearken to heaven. As “son of John,” Simon is birthed from “gracious gift of God.” (In Matthew’s Gospel Simon Peter is called son of Jonah; in John’s Gospel he is called son of John; both are versions of the Hebrew Johanan, Jonah being the Aramaic form and John being the Greek form). The point is that Simon Peter was born as a conscious act of the grace of God. There are no mistakes or accidents in God’s birthing process; every child born on the face of the earth is a gift from God. LIFE is purposed in every conception.

Nevertheless, Jesus goes on to declare that it’s PETER, the name given by the Son of God Himself, on which the church will be built. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” (Matt 16:18) Peter as a Rock, as the name given by Jesus, revealed not what the eyes of men saw, but what heaven saw in him. Jesus knows how to prophesy our budding virtues when we don’t see them at all. Raw-boned, waffle-y fisherman Peter would be a rock of revelation that listens to the voice of heaven, by the grace of God. It seems that the Holy Three go out of their way to show us how firm They are in Their forming and making us into Their image, in spite of ourselves. Because remarkably, right after Peter lived up to both of his names in a creditable manner, he soundly had to be rebuked for listening to Satan and thinking like worldly men. “Get behind me, Satan!” says Jesus when Peter had the audacity to take Jesus aside to rebuke him for talking such nonsense – to Peter’s un-renewed mind – about suffering and being killed. Can you imagine rebuking Jesus?

And yet Jesus did not take back the name Peter. Jesus didn’t say, “Well, I guess I misjudged you after all.” He didn’t say it then and he didn’t say it when he looked with love and compassion at Peter immediately after Peter’s third denial after the rooster crowed (see Luke 22:61). Though Jesus was not his fleshly father and mother, his re-naming Simon son of John as Peter remains. In all three of the synoptic Gospels that list the disciples’ names, each one notes that Simon was renamed Peter by Jesus and each Gospel writer by the Holy Spirit recognizes that Peter is the leader, as his name is the first in all three lists. Peter is therefore a “hearkening” and “hearkened to” gift of God given by grace to be a rock-solid son of God as Jesus’ own brother. Peter is one destined to reign with Jesus, and Jesus is jealous for that destiny here in John 21 in the Sea of Galilee setting so familiar and loved by his own beloved Peter.

Peter Denies Jesus Artist unknown

Peter Denies Jesus
Artist unknown

O beloved ones of His, how important it is to understand how God sees us, even at our worst. On seemingly the most unstable of all the disciples, Jesus declares that on this Rock, this bedrock, not a pebbly stone, will he build his church. This is huge. If Jesus can do that with Peter, he can do it with you and me. We can declare the truth of Jesus’ identity as both the Messiah and Son of God; that’s earth-shaking and worthy of everyone’s allegiance. Both Rock (Peter) and listening and listened to son of God by the grace of God (Simon son of John) are true and relevant names for this shaken Peter and for you and me as well. For more of the names that our Lord calls us, dear ones, look at Song of Songs! “Beautiful, fair one, my darling, lily among thorns, my dove, my sister, my bride, flawless one, garden fountain, well of flowing water, majestic as a troop with banners, my perfect one, my unique one, the favorite, like the dawn, the moon, the sun, stars in procession” – these are just a sampling. It is OVER THE TOP extravagant. That is God-love, fiery, jealous as death, powerful and real.

So in John 21 we see a passionate God determined to woo Peter back into the wholeness of understanding this dynamic love. He is going to change Peter’s still un-renewed thinking that tells him he has nothing to declare anymore. And that comes with the brilliant plan that Jesus has of forcing Simon son of John to make a PUBLIC DECLARATION of his love for Jesus. Yes, each one of us who hearkens to heaven’s revelation of relentless Love gets to say words out loud, clearly, emphatically to the One who loves us best. We do that through worship, through prayer, through simple talking to him, praying the Scriptures, positioning our hearts in mindful awareness throughout our day that He is here, that He is alive and fully present.

Each time Peter answers Jesus’ sharp-arrowed questions hitting the mark of his wounded heart, those three hated denials are being removed one by one like poison-thorns from his bleeding heart.

Peter receives keys to the Kingdom Artist unknown

Peter receives keys to the Kingdom
Artist unknown

Jesus wants Peter to know that he, Jesus, sees Peter’s love for him as real. In other words, Jesus wants Peter to have confidence that JESUS accepts and sees Peter as having sincere, earnest love for this friend of his who is also the Christ, the Son of God as he had declared on that triumphant day only a few months ago.

Secondly, Jesus wants Peter to know that Peter himself sees his own love for the Lord as real. We learn mostly from what we hear ourselves say; that is the truth we know, understand, and listen to the most. Thus, it is crucial that Peter hears himself saying back to the Lord the simple words, “I love you.”

And finally, Jesus wants Peter’s best friends to know that Peter’s love is real. Jesus wants both Peter and his friends to know that Peter is still a worthy leader of the group. Good Shepherd Jesus trusts Peter to lead and feed his lambs just as surely Jesus in the flesh led and made wise decisions for his little lambs during his ministry on earth. Peter’s third response sealed the recovery; he said for the third time with the clarity of meekness and brokenness out loud in the midst of his community of faith that since God knows everything, then surely Jesus must know that Peter’s love for him is real. This is a recovered faith that hears itself speak the truth of his first, middle, and lasting identity in God: I, Peter, am a lover of God.

That settled it. Now Peter, freshly renewed and empowered with the revelation that the God who created and commanded the fish they were eating, the God who knew all things, even the secrets of his heart, was not disgusted or ashamed to call him friend. This same God STILL had absolute confidence in making and entrusting Peter with leadership of the emerging church that would soon break out on Pentecost 50 days after Resurrection. Well, then, if that’s the way God was going to act, then Peter could run with Him once again and have confidence that his own love, though weak and not fully mature, was real. He would recover from the accusations, self-condemnation, self-hatred, regrets, and all the big-screen replays of his failures, sins and humiliating blunders. Peter, forgetting the things that lay behind, would press on to complete the fulfillment of his high calling in Christ Jesus. From that time on, Peter never referred to his denial. No mention is made of it in his epistles, though much is made of suffering for the sake of Jesus. He exhorted and encouraged and fed the lambs.

But there’s more to this story.

Martyrdom of St. Peter Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel

Martyrdom of St. Peter
Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel

Jesus, in the final exhortation to feed his sheep, also goes on to tell Peter his ultimate destiny of martyrdom. On the heels of his recovery of a confident heart in love, one might wonder how Jesus could reveal Peter’s own end so soon, for this picture reveals a very different Peter. This is a Peter who is dressed by others, is led around by others, goes where he does not want to go and would finally be crucified upside down by Peter’s own request. What meekness there is to come! This is not the strong, mighty, competent fisherman who can make startling statements and act with decisiveness and boldness. The Peter who could wield a sword as quickly as you could say “bleeding ear,” or the Peter who would openly declare that he had to obey God rather than man when faced with authorities’ commands to stop preaching and healing in Jesus’ name is shown here in Jesus’ final words as one at the behest of others, no longer free to speak or do as he would please. Jesus is truly stretching the heart of Peter to another level.

And there is still yet another issue that Jesus wants to bring to fullness in Peter’s heart. Again, Jesus is always reaching for the highest in each of us. He is like a tender mother who will not give up until her children are being the best in the things that matter that they can be.

The disciples were famously known for their one-upmanship in their little community. The last verses of John’s Gospel triumphantly address this universal problem in church and world and also reveal the two stark contrasts of Peter and John, always the same in intensity of love, yet so different in the outworking of their personalities and callings. Let us look at the final verses of John 21 in the final scene of John’s Gospel:

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is going to betray you?’) When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’

“Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’

“Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, ‘If I only want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?’

“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:20-15)

Jesus now continues the recovery of Peter while correcting him. Jesus has just told Peter his ultimate destiny would be a literal death on the cross. He now so trusts the love recovered in Peter’s heart and also the promise of the coming empowerment on the human heart of the Holy Spirit that he can bring further correction in Peter’s teachable heart.

Essentially Jesus says to Peter: “You want to find out about your friend John? What if I said he will see my return in power and glory? Surely that would be an enviable destiny.”

The New Jerusalem From the Bamberg Apocalypse

The New Jerusalem
From the Bamberg Apocalypse

Jesus makes it clear that what anyone else does in the Kingdom is between him and the Lord. Each person, including the highest leader in the land, is responsible for following the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul, body. Jesus is essentially saying, “What is that to you if I give John something you will not have? You have the best you can ever have by following me with the same heart of love that you’ve just acknowledged publicly and openly. Keep coming to me and renewing your heart with open, bold declarations of love. Keep the dialogue between us going until the day you breathe your last upon that upside down cross.

“And as for John, well, he is my favorite. BUT SO ARE YOU, PETER. Everyone can have that identity of being my favorite because, remember, I love you the same way the Father loves me and the same way I love the Father. There is no difference when I look at you; it is with eyes of absolute, perfect love. You can’t have any more love than the intensity and quality of love that Father and I have in the Godhead. So, Peter, John is right when he writes in the Gospel of John five times that he is the one whom the Lord loves. He understood that was the primary first and last focus of his life. Peter, you and John both have it made because you have responded to the wholehearted love that Father and I have for one another and for you.”

John makes it clear that he did take his identity as one extravagantly loved by God, from John 13 onward. Even in John 20:8 at the tomb, in contrast to Peter still shaken by his denial, John sees the strips of burial linen cloth and particularly the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head lying there all folded up by itself – and BELIEVES. He is recovered then and there. And here in John 21, the final chapter that seals this kind of extravagant love as the essence of who God is and who we are, John identifies himself by three phrases:

  1. “the one whom Jesus loved was following him”—John received God’s love that is available to everyone and ran with it—that’s how he identified himself and he was right in doing so
  2. “This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper”—John identifies himself as the one unashamed and unafraid to be close to and show his affection and tenderness towards Jesus
  3. “and had said, ‘Lord, who is going to betray you?’”—John identifies himself as one entrusted with the anguished secrets of Jesus’ heart

These three affirmations come just as boldly as Peter’s three affirmations of love. John was the one who did not forsake Jesus in his hour of trial. He stayed with Jesus through the fake trials of the religious leaders Annas and Caiaphas, and he was there at the sentencing at Pilate’s court; he was there on the journey to Golgotha and at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ mother whom Jesus tenderly entrusted to John.

John the Beloved Disciple Icon artist unknown

John the Beloved Disciple
Icon artist unknown

Both these men will be in the Holy of Holies in heaven, I am convinced. Not in the Outer Court, not in the Holy Place, but in the Holy of Holies, because they ran with the revelation of God’s great love. It took both these men a journey to get there – remember, John and his brother were the ones who on two occasions asked Jesus for the best places in his kingdom (they even got Mom to ask, hoping she had more clout as some scholars believe she may have been Mother Mary’s sister). In one sense, that’s surely commendable to be as close to the Lord as possible. I surely want to be as close to Him as is possible for a human being to be. But at that point in their journey in God, I suspect they were still thinking with their un-renewed minds about a worldly kingdom that lords it over others, rather than the true picture of a Kingdom based on serving one another in love forever. And John and his brother James were known for having strong passions, having the name that can cut two ways – Sons of Thunder – as they fervently desired to call down fire on a whole Samaritan village that would not allow Jesus entry. A fiery holocaust would show those unbelieving pagans—so thought these two fiery brothers.

What do we have to take away from the vulnerability of these oh-so-human disciples? You and I have hope, Beloved. With such examples as these two disciples and with such love poured out on us as the Father has for the Son, we, too, can aim for the Holy of Holies in the eternal age. Why? Because we are his favorite ones, just like Peter and John. Let’s run with it!

Let us be diligent in our assignment here during this brief stay of 70 to 80 years, as Jesus was faithful to his assignment. In his prayer to the Father just before the cross, Jesus says, “I have brought you glory by completing the work you gave me to do.” (John17:4)

So, like the faithful Son of Man, we all have an identity and we have an assignment. We have the same identity as being successful in Him simply (a simplicity that cost everything – see John 3:16) because we are extravagantly loved by God and have responded as extravagant lovers of God. But we each also have different assignments, personalities and giftings. Again, (we can’t repeat this often enough because we lose our minds every time we sleep) we have the same Father of Love who calls us his sons of God, and the same Son of Love who calls us his bride, and the same Holy Spirit of Love who empowers us to grow in love and to carry out our assignment in this brief internship. One obvious assignment is for the coming harvest of appointed fish that will be dying to jump into the net during the Joel 2 greatest Holy Spirit outpouring ever. And even then this brief internship is preparing us for an even greater mega-love-empowered relationship and an even greater mega-awesome assignment in the age to come. And after that come the eternal ages and WOW! the increase in glory is simply unimaginable. We don’t want to waste our time and energy right now on things that are not eternal, because we want the biggest heart ever to hold all that He desires to give. How can we hold this uncontainable God anyway? Well, He wants us to. He wants us to lean back against Him and live from the Other Realm NOW because He has put eternity in our hearts.

May we persevere to the end, because these are glorious days, the best of times for those staying in the Light and the worst of times for those who stay in the darkness, as the Day approaches. For there will be great upheavals as this earth shifts into the age to come under the leadership of our all-wise Good Shepherd, King Jesus who is our King of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Wherever you are right now, He is determined to bring you to a fully recovered, alive, vibrant heart in His Love. Let him do it. We want to be the ones who hasten the day of the King of Glory going through the raised gates and opened doors of Jerusalem to set up his kingdom (Psalm 24). It matters what you think, pray, declare and do every day.

Love to all of you dear Peters and Johns,

Nancy

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