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Threats, Fish, and Reality - 2013-04-14

Threats, Fish, and Reality - 2013-04-14

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Published by John Partridge
Despite the power that he had and the threats that he made, Saul was never a match for Jesus. The Disciples thought that since he was dead, Jesus mission was over. Reality was much more interesting...
Despite the power that he had and the threats that he made, Saul was never a match for Jesus. The Disciples thought that since he was dead, Jesus mission was over. Reality was much more interesting...

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: John Partridge on Apr 14, 2013
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“Threats, Fish, and Reality”
April 14, 2013
John 21:1-19Acts 9:1-20
In the last few weeks, Kim Jong Un, the new, and very young (at 30, he is the youngest head of state in theworld), ruler of North Korea has been threatening to dismantle the fragile peace that has existed between North and South Korea since the armistice was signed at the end of the Korean War more than fifty yearsago. Kim Jong Un has moved medium range missiles to the coast nearest to Japan and has threatened anuclear attack against American territories in Guam, Hawaii or Alaska. Most military leaders and analysts believe that Kim Jong Un’s threats are empty words, political speech that is intended to make him look strong at home and to build his credibility among the ruling factions of his government. At the same time,this is a man who has been building his nation’s missile technology so that North Korean rockets can nowreach as far as the Aleutian Islands or Hawaii. He and has pressed the development of nuclear weaponsand they have demonstrated a working atomic bomb in an underground test. We may suspect that KimJong Un’s threats may be empty, but he is still a dangerous and possibly unstable man who has the power to start a war, kill a lot of people and throw most of the world into an economic tailspin. Finding thedifference between threats and reality is a key part of understanding our world.In
Acts 9:1-20,
Saul, who would later become the Apostle Paul, was a very serious threat to the safety of those who called themselves Christians. Saul was among those who violently opposed Christianity because he believed that Christianity was a distortion of his Jewish faith. He was on a mission to huntdown Christians, arrest them, torture them and haul them off to Jerusalem for trial.
 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to thehigh priest 
2
and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there whobelonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
3
 As heneared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
4
 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
5
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.
“Now get up and go into the city, and you will betold what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.
8
Saul  got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.
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 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
10
 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11
The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.
12
 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on himto restore his sight.”
1
 
13
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem.
14
 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15
 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to theGentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.
16 
 I will show him how much he must suffer for myname.”
17 
Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18
 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes,and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
19
and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul breathed murderous threats against the followers of Jesus Christ and he had the authority to dosomething about it. Saul is given a letter by the High Priest which gave him authority to arrest any man,woman or child that he can find who is a follower of the Way, a believer in Jesus Christ. Saul in intentupon capturing as many Christians as he can and returning them to Jerusalem for trial, but before he cando that, reality intervenes. On his way to Damascus, Saul is knocked to the ground by a blinding light andhears a voice that says, “
Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me
?” Saul was a threat to every believer inJesus Christ and everyone understood just how real the threat was. Ananias doesn’t want to meet withSaul because he knows how dangerous he is, and he knows that Saul had the authority to arrest believers.The reality was that as powerful as Saul was, he was never a threat to Jesus. Despite his threats, despitehis letter of authority, despite his history or persecuting Christians, Saul was never a match for Jesus. Onthe road to Damascus, Saul meets Jesus face to face and realizes the truth. Saul meets Jesus and realizesthat the stories that were told by the followers of the Way and the stories of the Gospel message that was being spread by the Disciples and others were all true. Saul realized that Jesus really did rise from thedead. Saul realized that Jesus really was who the Christians said that he was. And Saul realized that Jesusreally did sit on the throne of God.Saul’s threats and reality had come into conflict and, as you might expect, Saul’s threats were no matchfor the reality of Jesus Christ.In
John 21:1-19
, we meet some of the Disciples, after they had already met the risen Jesus
twice
, but before they realize that his resurrection raises his expectations of them…
 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:
2
Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and twoother disciples were together.
3
“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll gowith you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4
 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5
 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”“No,” they answered.
2
 
 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they wereunable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
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 intothe water.
8
The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
9
When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it,and some bread.
10
 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
11
So Simon Peter climbed back intothe boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
12
 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13
 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same withthe fish.
14
This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me morethan these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 
 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 
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.
18
Very truly I tell you, 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 dress youand lead you where you do not want to go.”
19
 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
The Disciples knew that Jesus had risen from the dead, but they still assumed that his ministry ended withhis death, and despite his resurrection, Jesus’ death meant that they would all return to what they weredoing before. The fisherman and some of the others aren’t really sure what they should do, and so, theydo what they know how to do… they go fishing. They fish all night… and catch… nothing. As theyapproach shore, they see a man who tells them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. This is asilly thing to say. It would be difficult to find no fish on one side of a boat but not on the other, but hey,they tried all night, so what’s one more throw, right? I doubt that the men in the boat expected to catchanything. They had tried all night and throwing the net on the other side of the boat was a foolish idea thatwas likely grasped as a last-ditch effort before giving up entirely. But when they did, they caught so many3

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