‘Do you love me?…….’

18 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-THREE : 2 Samuel 2 v. 8 – 3 v. 21; John 21 v. 1 – 25; Psalm 69 v. 1 – 12

2 SAMUEL
War Between the Houses of David and Saul – with David firmly rooted as king in Judah, Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth (from the age of forty) is encouraged to become king over Gilead, Ashuri, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel (Abner, commander of Saul’s army arranges all that). Ish-Bosheth reigns for two years, however David was king over Judah for seven and a half years.
Ish-Bosheth’s men and David’s men meet around the pool of Gibeon, and a conquest between some of the young men from either side proves inconclusive – all of them end up dead. So then a fierce battle ensues and David’s men take the upper hand.
Abner (commander of Ish-Bosheth’s army) is chased by ‘fleet-footed’ Asahel. Abner keeps telling Asahel to go off this way or that way, or to attack this person or that person, as a distraction. Asahel, however, remains focussed and keeps up the pursuit.
Abner again tries to warn Asahel to keep away, but he doesn’t. He catches him up, but Abner kills him there and then, with his spear.
Asahel’s brothers, Joab and Abishai, then take up their brother’s cause, and pursue Abner. At the hill of Ammah, the men of Benjamin come out to support Abner.
Abner encourages his opponents not to enter into a fight
‘Must the sword devour forever?…How long before you order your men to stop pursuing their brothers?’
Joab calls his men to retreat, with a blast of the trumpet, and they head back to Hebron, marching through the night to arrive by daybreak (having lost twenty of their men, including Abner, but having finished off 360 Benjaminites). Asahel is buried in his father’s tomb in Bethlehem.
This war between David’s men and Saul’s men continued a long time, with David getting stronger and the house of Saul getting weaker.
David also produces sons to various wives – from his firstborn, Ammon (to Ahinoam) to his sixth, Ithream (to Eglah), all born in Hebron.

The desire for all Israel to have a king produces rival kingdoms within such a short space of time…when will we learn.

Abner Goes Over to David – Ish-Bosheth accuses Abner of sleeping with his father’s (king Saul’s) concubine. Abner is appalled at this accusation – ‘Am I a dog’s head….I am loyal to your father Saul and to his family and friends.’
Abner pledges to hand over Ish-Bosheth’s land to David, establishing David’s throne over all Israel and Judah.
Abner begins communicating with David, seeking an arrangement to make him king over all the land.
As part of the agreement, David asks to be restored to Michal, Saul’s daughter, who had been his wife, and whom Saul had taken and given in marriage to Paltiel.
‘Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins’ (ahh yes, I remember that gruesome story!).
It is interesting that it is still Ish-Bosheth who arranges for Michal to be returned to David, whilst it is clearly Abner who holds the power.
Abner confers with the other Israelite leaders and to the Benjaminites (in person), and then he goes to David in Hebron (David provides a feast for Abner and his group of twenty men), and arranges the handover.


JOHN

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish – sometime later, the disciples are back up on Lake Tiberias (Galilee), back doing what they knew best – fishing for….fish !
All night long they caught nothing (maybe they’d lost their knack, or maybe the Lord was just stirring things up again).
When they approached the shore, early next morning, Jesus was there, cooking breakfast. Jesus shouts to them and tells them to throw their net over to the other side of the boat.
They caught a great number of fish – someone counted them all, and there were 153 large fish in all !! And the nets did not break.

I am always reminded at this point, of my sense that there is such a message for these disciples, about the promise of their call, to be ‘fishers of people’. If they go where the Lord instructs them (sometimes, the other side of the boat), there will be a great catch, and they will be able to sustain ministry amongst them (however many large fish, the nets won’t break).

The beloved disciple is the first to recognise Jesus (of course he is), and Simon Peter jumps into the water to run to Him. Jesus invites them for breakfast. Jesus did his thing with the sharing of the bread and the fish (masterful touches), and they all know without a doubt that it is Him.

Jesus Reinstates Peter – then the one-to-one Peter must have been desiring and dreading in equal measure. How would Jesus respond to him, fully aware of the fulfilment of His prophetic word about Peter’s denials before the dawn cock crow on Good Friday morning?
Jesus asks Him the same question three times, ‘Do you love me, more than these (more than anything / anyone)?‘ – each time, giving Peter an opportunity to cancel out the impact of one of his denials.

Peter’s response each time is‘You know that I love You’

Different words are used for ‘love’ in this conversation.
Jesus uses the word ‘agape’, rich in meaning self-giving, ‘love divine, all loves excelling’.
Peter responds with the word ‘philo’, which is a strong affinity / love for someone.
My study bible suggests Peter cannot bring himself to pledge the highest love, since he is still reeling from his recent denials.
Only in the third time of asking, does Jesus use the same ‘philo’ word, and they seem to speak the same language

Jesus commissions Peter to – ‘Feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…feed my sheep’, giving Peter a role of tending the flock, shepherd those Jesus is calling to Himself.

Genuine love for Jesus is lived out in loving care for His people.

Peter is reinstated, forgiven, freed, and re-commissioned. A GREAT DAY FOR PETER !!

Jesus speaks further into Peter’s future, indicating that he will have his hands stretched out, led where he doesn’t want to go – Peter suffers a form of crucifixion in Rome.
Jesus’ final call to Peter (and to us) is the same as His first – ‘Follow me’. (Keep close to me, walk in step with me, learn from me….)

When Peter is distracted by the beloved disciple and asks about his future; Jesus says, in effect, that it is no concern of Peter’s. Peter’s only concern should be to follow Jesus (‘seek first my kingdom, and all else will be added….‘).
Even so, a rumour spreads about the beloved disciple, a twisting of Jesus’s words…oh dear.

In conclusion, Jesus did many things not written in the book of John – the whole world wouldn’t have enough room to store all the books that could be written.

The end of the gospels. Written to communicate the good news for all people. Written that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, our Redeemer, our Deliverer, our Saviour, Eternal Brother and Friend.
AMEN and AMEN. 

PSALM
‘Save me, O God’
(that ‘help’ prayer is the most common and most heartfelt of all prayers)
‘I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.’
‘My eyes fail, looking for my God’
‘many are my enemies without cause, who seek to destroy me’
‘may those who hope in You not be disgraced…those who seek You not be put to shame
 zeal for Your house consumes me…’

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