What is that to you? A Sunday School Lesson.

I know this is largely incomplete, but I need to post it anyways, as a way of being able to print it.  Below are some of the helpful parts from the commentary on John 21, which I used to teach Sunday School this morning.

BibleGateway.com- Commentaries » John 21 » Jesus Appears Again to His Disciples  Annotated

This chapter puzzles scholars. Why are the disciples fishing back in Galilee after having been commissioned by Jesus and having received the Spirit? Why don’t they recognize him after having seen him more than once at this point? Why is this called the third appearance of Jesus when there were already three appearances in chapter 20? If the Gospel has prepared the disciples for the time of Jesus’ absence and has come to a climax with a blessing on those who have believed without having seen, what place is there for these further stories about Jesus’ presence? Such questions, among others (cf. Brown 1970:1077-82; Moloney 1998:545-47, 562-65), lead most scholars to conclude this chapter was added later, either by the same author or by one or more of his disciples.

  • These kinds of passages surprised me early in my college education since I had the irrational assumption that the Bible had been handed down at some point as some fixed book straight from the mouth of God. To hear that pieces were added later and even that these are words that, although inspired by the Holy Spirit, come through a person within a particular context, challenged by understanding of Scripture. – post by splineguy

By these Jesus probably means "these other disciples." According to the other Gospels, Peter had boasted that though all the others fall away, he would not (Mt 26:33 par. Mk 14:29; cf. Lk 22:33; Jn 13:37).

Peter replies, Yes, Lord, . . . you know that I love you (v. 15). He does not claim to love Jesus more than the others do, which suggests he has benefited from having reflected on his shameful denials of the Lord.
Peter was not boastful when Jesus gave him the opportunity to be (v. 15), but by the third time Jesus asks whether he loves him, Peter is hurt
Here we see the Great Physician performing painful but necessary surgery
Peter says, Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you (v. 17). Two different words for "know" are used here
The pattern here suggests that there is a distinction between oida and ginosko, with the latter perhaps meaning "you must be able to see"
"Do you see how he has become better and more sober, no longer self-willed or contradicting?" (Chrysostom In John 88.1). Peter is dying to self and finding his confidence only in the Lord.
After each profession of love Jesus gives a similar command, using different words.
this pattern suggests we have a comprehensive image of shepherding
The key qualification for this task, as this chapter indicates, is a love for Jesus that is characterized by humility, dependence and obedience.

  • Not enough by itself. We must also die to ourselves to truly serve others as Christ would have us. – post by splineguy
Jesus tells him, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go (v. 18). Here is an explicit contrast between Peter’s life of self will and his coming under the will of another.
Jesus calls him to follow him (v. 19)
this is a call to recommit himself
Peter’s old habit of lapsing into error right after experiencing truth is still present
It is usually assumed that this correction (v. 23) implies that the Beloved Disciple has in fact died or is very near death.
A number of scholars think there is a rivalry between the Beloved Disciple and Peter, but this final chapter shows them to be friends of one another and to both have special roles in the community. Peter will be a shepherd, and the Beloved Disciple is able to discern the Lord and receive insight into his life and thought.

Palm Sunday

For me it has been a powerful and moving day at church. During Sunday School we meditated on John 18-19 envisioning ourselves as witnesses to the events leading up to the crucifixion. We were then asked if we saw something new. I did not respond but I liked the response of those who did:

1.”How the soldiers were so taken aback when Jesus stood before them in the garden and stated that he was the one they were looking for.” Even in those moments Jesus was in command of his circumstances.

2. “How Pilate desperately pleads with Jesus to get him out of his role in these events.” He doesn’t realize, at first, the magnitude of this trial. As it progresses, it only gets more grave. And he wants no part in it. We all play a role in God’s plan but we do have a choice in how it plays out, in how we respond to the circumstances of life.

We closed with a very good story about Clarence and Robert Jordan which led us to answer the question: Are you a disciple of Christ or just an admirer? (Will you follow Jesus up to the Cross or will you be crucified with him?)

Clarence Jordan was the founder of the Koinonia Farm near Americus, Georgia. It was set up to be an interracial community before anyone knew what civil rights were all about. Jordan himself was a pacifist as well as in integrationist and thus was not a popular figure in Georgia, even though he came from a prominent family. The Koinonia Farm, by its very nature, was controversial and, of course, it was in trouble. In the early fifties Clarence approached his brother Robert Jordan (later a state senator and justice of the Georgia Supreme Court) to ask him to represent legally the Koinonia Farm. They were having trouble getting LP gas delivered for heating during the winter even though it was against the law not to deliver gas. Clarence thought Robert could do much through a phone call. However, Robert responded to Clarence’s request:

“Clarence, I can’t do that. You know my political aspirations. Why, if I represented you, I might lose my job, my house, everything I’ve got.”
“We might lose everything too, Bob.”
“It’s different for you.”
“Why is it different? I remember, it seems to me, that you and I joined the church on the same Sunday, as boys. I expect when we came forward the preacher asked me about the same question he did you. He asked me, ‘Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ What did you say?”
“I follow Jesus, Clarence, up to a point.”
“Could that point by any chance be—the cross?”
“That’s right. I follow him to the cross, but not on the cross. I’m not getting myself crucified.”
“Then I don’t believe you’re a disciple. You’re an admirer of Jesus, but not a disciple of his. I think you ought to go back to the church you belong to, and tell them you’re an admirer, not a disciple.”
“Well now, if everyone who felt like I do did that, we wouldn’t have a church, would we?”
“The question,” Clarence said, “is, ‘Do you have a church?”

Hymn of the week: In Christ Alone