East3C19. Acts of the Apostles 5:27-32, 40b-41. “The high priest questioned them, ‘We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name?’” “But Peter and the apostles said in reply, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’” “After recalling the apostles, the Sanhedrin had them flogged, (this Sunday’s excerpt does not include these previous words) ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.” (Jesus) How can intense pain be a cause for rejoicing? When our love for Jesus is even greater than the pain, what a joy it is to suffer for the one we love because the depth of our love enables us to have a life that is even deeper than our pain! In the fishing event at the Sea of Tiberias, Jesus speaks to the apostles not with words but rather through what they experienced with Jesus. The nets were empty, then the nets were full. Without Christ there is nothing; with Christ there is everything!
John 21:1-19. Certain of the apostles fished all “that night (but) they caught nothing.” When Jesus who was on the shore heard that they caught nothing, “he said to them, ‘Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.’ So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.” Then they realized it was the Lord! The symbolism is clear. If the Apostles tried to bring in followers of Jesus by their own efforts alone, it was fruitless but with Jesus at their side all was gain. Then it is said in response to the three times Peter denied Jesus, now he asserts three times that he loves him, but with each question Jesus is calling upon Peter to commit himself to growing into an endlessly ever-deepening love for him. Peter will be the principal shepherd who brings sheep, people to follow to Jesus. Jesus tells Peter that, as he once had to suffer flogging for the sake of the name, he will now suffer death to glorify God. Then he commands Peter to follow him on the way to the cross and then to resurrection.
Revelation 5:11-14. John heard the voices of many angels crying out loudly, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.” And then, “everything in the universe, cry out: ‘To the one who sits on the throne and to the lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.’” Praise of God, worshipping God recognizes through our voices and action the truth and reality of who God is. In our world God plays ‘hide and seek’. As we grow in our faith life or life that is a faith that becomes who we are, God reveals increasingly even more of himself. His glory astounds us ever more and more, eliciting from us an ever growing joy in our amazement at the awesomeness that is God.