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Peter & John — John 1:40-42

John 1:40-42 NASB
[40] One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. [41] He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). [42] He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Dear God, going through John in the way I’ve been going through the other Gospels is going to be interesting. His telling of the story has an entirely different pattern and feel. I know that the other three are considered the Synoptic Gospels because they track together fairly well and John doesn’t follow their outline, but I noticed something else this morning as I skimmed through the first eight chapters. I noticed that John focuses on different things within the stories. For example, this is the only time he mentions Jesus recruiting any of the disciples. Also, he mentions more Passovers than just the last one when Jesus was crucified, and he really gives us some insight into just how confused the disciples were most of the time.

In the case of this story, we get a little better look at Andrew. We learn that he was already looking at John the Baptist and having spiritual stirrings. It was him who was hungry for more of you. He was the reason Peter found Jesus. And then it was Peter in whom Jesus saw the potential to be the rock.

So many times, we want to be the person of note. We want to be Peter. We want to be the person people look to. At least, I confess that is true of myself. But there are times when you are calling us to play a small yet pivotal role. When Jesus gathers his top disciples it almost always seems to be Peter and then the brothers James and John. Andrew, even though he is Peter’s brother, isn’t part of that special group. That wasn’t the role he had to play in the story. He was critical to this whole thing, but in a low-key way. I like how John was careful to let us know about Andrew while telling us something important about Peter too.

Father, there are time you call me to be a point person, times you call me to be a member of the team, times you call me to be a connector between others, and then times I am to stay out of it and let others do your work because you have something else for me to do. Help me to be sensitive at all times to what you are calling me to do. And thank you for how you used Andrew in this story. We all owe him a debt.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2018 in John, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — Mark 13:1-4

As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.” Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”
Mark 13:1-4

Dear God, this must have been such a weird week for them. A weird time, really. I can only imagine what their conversations were like among themselves. I would love to have heard what the four of them said to each other before they approached Jesus. I would imagine that they had to be wondering if it was about to happen that very week. They were trying to reconcile everything Jesus was telling them and turn it into a clear narrative.

It’s kind of like a movie trailer. That’s about how clear Jesus was being with them. I recently saw “A Star is Born,” and it really moved me. It was the trailer that first sold me on it. I went back and looked at it closely recently, trying to figure out what it was about it that attracted me and looking at how it compared to the actual movie. Basically, a good trailer will give you hints at what’s to come without giving you too much information. I believe that too much information about the future is not good forbid because it will alter how we live out our present. My dad told me one time that the point in prophecy is not so that we will know the future, but so when the future happens and the prophecy is fulfilled we will know that you are in control.

Father, help me to discern between the things I need to understand about the world and the things I can let go. Help me to not be fearful, but to always know that you are in control. Finally, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2018 in Mark, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — Mark 6:7-13

And He *summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt— but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. 11 Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.

Mark 6:7-13

Dear God, I must confess that I’ve always thought I would have hated this assignment given to the disciples by Jesus. At least he sent them out in pairs.

It leaves me wondering about how Jesus buddies them up. Did he keep Peter and Andrew and James and John together as brothers or did he mix it up. Maybe Peter and John went together. And who was Judas’ partner. And did everyone exhibit the power to heal and cast out demons, or just one in the pair?

Finally, I wonder what their conversations were like as they walked along. “Can you believe what’s going on?” Can you believe we just healed that lady,” or, “cast out that demon?” To quote the musical “Hamilton,” “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”

I’m trying to put myself in their shoes. I suppose that as a believer in you now, I am on a journey—and you have given me fellow sojourners. First, there is my wife. You have linked us together until death do us part. And then I have the people in my church and the things that we do together. There are my coworkers and the board of directors. In fact, I have a couple of committee meetings of the board this morning. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of us in this context before, but I guess we are.

Father, give me the courage I need to have to do the job you have given me to do. Love through me. Draw others to yourself through me. Help me to lean into you for the strength I need to do what you have called me to do.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2018 in Mark, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — Mark 1:29-31

After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them.

Mark 1:29-31

Dear God, this was quite a day for James and John. Not only did they see Jesus authoritatively rebuke a demon at the synagogue, but then they saw Jesus heal Simon’s mother-in-law. What was this new world they had gotten themselves into?

I also kind of wonder what this home was like and who all loved in it. Mark indicates that it was both Simon’s and Andrew’s home. Since Peter had a mother-in-law we can infer that he had a wife—possibly children too?

There is so much we think we know about the Bible, but the truth is that our knowledge is limited and flawed. We have incomplete pictures is these people and their lives. We are just left to try to learn what we can from what we do have.

Father, it’s obvious that These first four disciples were key. After all, both Matthew and Mark specifically refer to their recruitments. Help me gain insights into myself by learning from them. Be glorified in my life so that others might see you and follow you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Mark, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — Mark 1:16-20

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.

Mark 1:16-20

Dear God, I wonder what it was that Jesus saw in these two sets of brothers that made him want to call them to be part of the 12. And I wonder what what going on inside them that they accepted.

I think it partly goes back to the idea of what are we selling when it comes to you and evangelization. Here were some guys who fished for a living. Simon and Andrew were probably not as well off as James and John, but I’m guessing they all felt a certain level of hopelessness. They were obviously hungering for something since they dropped what they were doing to follow Jesus. Jesus was calling people to repent and live holy lives. Is that what they felt they were missing?

Father, help me to be more sensitive to calling people to you. And help me to be more responsive to repenting for my own sins and embracing your grace. Help me to live the life you call me to live so that I might find your peace and be the best ambassador for you that I can.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2018 in Mark, Peter and John

 

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Peter & John — Matthew 4:18-22

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

Matthew 4:18-22

 

Dear God, I’ve decided I’d like to learn more about Peter and John, how they related to you, and how they compare with each other. To that end, I’m going to start a series where I look at all of the Bible stories that include them as well as the books that they wrote. They were very different people, and yet they were both critical to your earthly ministry and the formation of the church thereafter.  

In this case, I just noticed how Matthew captures these stories. The first people you called were sets of brothers. It wasn’t Matthew, working alone as a tax collector. It was Simon (later renamed Peter—I’ll need to get deeper into that) and Andrew, and then James and John (I wonder if Matthew listed each set of brothers by age or by his perception of their importance). I wonder if it was easier for them to break with their families if they went along with their brothers. Did Simon go along more willingly since Andrew went along too? James with John?  

It can be hard to feel like I am doing the absolute right thing according to your will and feel at odds with your family. I have several examples of my own life, but one example I’ve been thinking about lately is the example of Joseph and Mary. I’m sure their parents were very disappointed with how their lives were turning out. Did Joseph have living parents, and did they express any disapproval to him? After all, he married a pregnant girl and moved with her to Egypt. On the surface, it’s a disastrous result for your child back then. And then the family moved back to Nazareth with Jesus still a boy. Did Jesus understand isolation from this? Did he intentionally call the brothers together for their sake because he saw something in his dad’s experience? I know that I am making all kinds of wild guesses here, and that can be unsafe. But it just seems interesting that Matthew’s first recording of Jesus’ called disciples were brothers.  

Father, give me the courage to do what needs to be done at any given time, regardless of who joins me in it. But do a few things for me, please. Help me to really be sure it is you I am following in it. And please help me to be completely united with my wife through any of it. Speak to her the same thing you are speaking to me at any given time so that me might be one soul, mind, heart, and body at all times.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2018 in Matthew, Peter and John

 

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Emails to God – Calling of Peter, Andrew, James, & John (Matthew 4:18-22)

18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Dear God, it is interesting that Peter is among the first disciples called. I am currently in an RCIA class at the Catholic church, and they consider Peter to be the first Pope, so he is a big deal. I double checked the other Gospels, and they are pretty consistent about how Peter and Andrew were recruited. Luke adds the story about the fish and the nets breaking, but even that is still consistent with these others.

I like that this passage includes the calling of James and John because in my mind I always link Peter and John together. I don’t think about Andrew and James that much. I wonder what it was like for them to be the brothers of Peter and John. I don’t think James felt slighted during Jesus’ life, but I wonder how he was treated as the church evolved. I think I need to read some more history about how lives of the apostles played out between Jesus’ death and their own. As I remember, James was killed pretty early (perhaps even the first one killed for his faith).

I have always loved Peter because he is so front-lobed. I swear he must have been A.D.D. He was constantly acting impulsively for good and for ill. While those traits can frustrate the friends of A.D.D. people, I also have a strong feeling that those who get the most done have a little bit of that impulse. I wish I had a little more of that in me. But I am more cautious—like John. I don’t know that John accomplished that much, but he was much more pastoral and there is a role for people like him too.

Father, help me to be at peace with the role you have given me to play in the world. Help me to only long to add those things to my personality that you want me to add. Refine me and mold me. Live through me and accomplish your plans through me. Thank you for wanting me. I want you.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Matthew

 

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