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John: Day 26

The Ascended Lord

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Today's Text: John 21:1-25, Hebrews 2:17-18, 1 Peter 5:1-4

Text: John 21:1-25, Hebrews 2:17-18, 1 Peter 5:1-4

I was the very pregnant, sick, and tired mama of a demanding toddler. My brain was so clouded by pregnancy hormones and sleep deprivation that I didn’t know what I needed or how to ask for help.

So Mandy made me pancakes.

Mandy and I weren’t friends, exactly. We mostly smiled at each other in the halls of our church, but she called me one evening with this invitation: “Come over tomorrow morning, first thing. Bring your little guy and stay in your jammies. I’m going to make you pancakes.”

Not typically the kind of gal to show up at a stranger’s house in my jammies, I’m surprised I accepted her offer. I’m usually more of a “spiff everything up and look like you have it together” kind of girl. Even so, the next morning we headed over to Mandy’s in our comfies.

Those were the best pancakes of my life. Food eaten on dishes I didn’t have to wash was a lifeline of sorts. That moment of simple compassion stuck with me long after I cleaned (okay fine, licked) my plate and headed home.

Years later I was surprised to find a similar story in John 21.

After a night of fruitless fishing to punctuate the best and worst months of their lives, Peter, James, John, and a handful of other disciples found themselves staring out at the same waves Jesus had walked upon. Everything had changed since then. Jesus had been arrested, crucified, and buried. Their hopes were dashed and they scattered, fearing for their lives. Peter’s grief was compounded by the agonizing memory that he denied the Savior not once, not twice, but three times.

Almost immediately after everything went so terribly wrong, Jesus started setting it right again. His death was trumped by His resurrection. His scared disciples were refocused by His return. Even Peter’s denials got reversed.

Jesus called His fishing friends to the shore. Peter was so anxious to be with his Savior that he jumped right out of the boat fully clothed (John 21:7). When they got to shore, they found that Jesus had made them breakfast. It was a simple gesture that demonstrated profound care and compassion. In His glorified state, Jesus tenderly met His friends’ physical needs before offering an even better portion.

During a post-breakfast stroll, Jesus gave Peter not one, not two, but three chances to declare his love. For every denial, Peter got to make a proclamation (John 21:15-17). Though sinned against, Jesus initiated reconciliation and offered tender mercies.

In this last chapter of John’s Gospel, we see the risen Christ doing more of what He’d done all along: love and serve, invite and forgive. In fact, John ends his account of Jesus’ life by stating there were so many more things that Jesus did, “if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). Volume after volume of love and service. Book after book of invitation and forgiveness.

Perhaps emulating Jesus is simpler than we think. Offer grace. Pursue reconciliation. Forgive freely. Whenever possible, love others well by serving them. Pancakes optional.

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Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

  • What an amazing devotional.

  • Serve… it looks so different with everyone! Today I will serve someone. Who Jesus… who???

  • Heather Fringer

    I love that after everything that Jesus went through, He still shows love, and forgiveness to everyone in His path! I pray that I can become more and more like Him!

  • First I think of peter, exhausted, and so eager to see the Lord that he takes an early morning dip just so he can get to Jesus as quickly as possible, doesn’t care about the condition of his outer… then I think, of course God thought of it in heb 2:18 that Christ would need to suffer to identify with us and us with him! Think of how many times we would say but God, you don’t understand, yet we know He does, it makes coming to him so much more intimate, you know- that friend who has been there and gets it …

    Lastly I’m convicted and encouraged by the last statement in the devotional… “perhaps emulating Jesus is simpler than we think. Offer grace. Pursue reconciliation. Forgive freely…” I am a foster parent and it is so easy to get caught up in the emotion and frustration of what it feels like kids spitting in my face when I am only trying to help them, and the constant rejection of said help, but Christ never stopped trying to help. Surely he felt frustrated, we are stubborn, but He continued, and continues to PURSUE us.

  • I recently painted the verse where Jesus says, “come, let us have breakfast.” To put up in our kitchen. It is not only a reminder that he is with us in the mundane everyday moments, but also that he is risen. Because he said those words after his death and resurrection. There is such quiet and peace in those words. Balm to my soul.

  • Ok, who doesn’t love food? The Lord created it for us to enjoy and to sustain us. I think about so many times He’s fed us, from the Garden of Eden to all that manna, to the Last Supper and beyond His death to the very present. I rejoice in His providing for us as He promised He would; from the physical to the spiritual to the eternal! Such an awesome God, caretaker, and friend!!!

  • Bonnie Garrett

    That last line in John 21 stands out to me so much. John spends the entire book trying so hard to not refer to himself! Over and over he says “the disciple Jesus loved” rather than simply “me.”
    Until this last line when he finally says “I suppose…” And he didn’t even have to refer to himself here. The statement would have still made sense without it. It’s like he was down to the end of the book and finally able to exhale, and stop trying so hard to avoid “I” and “me.” I get a kick out of that.

  • I needed this today…I’m deeply hurting over the loss of a friendship. I’ve honestly never lost a friendship over anger and resentment. It’s a terrible feeling and I’m not sure what to do except pray and forgive.

    • Melinda

      Be assured that you are doing the exact, right thing. Pray, forgive, and leave the rest to Christ who strengthens you:)

  • Carrie Rogers

    Oh, what a Savior! :)

  • Jessica Broberg

    This really hit home for me today. Thank you! Sometimes pancakes are really all we need. ;)

  • Christina

    “Though sinned against, Jesus initiated reconciliation.” Not always the easy path to take, especially when you’ve been sinned against repeatedly over years, even in the smallest of ways. So convicting to my heart this morning!

  • Jenni Allen

    Here are some of my thoughts on John 21:7…
    https://www.aragingriver.org/blog/2017/1/27/cover-me

    • Michelle

      Thank you for sharing I enjoyed reading and really appreciated your thoughts. It echoes what I’ve seen God doing in my life, in your shame don’t run from me, run to me- the only safe place. And it’s now what I’m trying to teach my kids at an early age, not to hide their mistakes and sins but run to Jesus with them.

  • Loving and service hand in hand – love this!! There is great beauty in keeping it simple in a complicated world. “Perhaps emulating Jesus is simpler than we think. Offer grace. Pursue reconciliation. Forgive freely. Whenever possible, love others well by serving them. Pancakes optional.”

  • It’s so simple. We are loved. We are to be love. My head wants to add hoops to jump through, extra onto what the call is. It isn’t about me. It’s about him. Loving him and loving his people. Jesus gave us this perfect example. Let this knowledge go deep, God.

  • Jessica Gardiner

    I have learnt so much these Christmas summer holidays (in Australia) about grace- what a wonderful teacher it is! Going back home, certain family members were going through a rough time and their behaviour was not OK. It made a rather difficult and uncomfortable few weeks. But I felt the Spirit’s check on my spirit to stay silent and to simply pray. This felt SO wrong to me. I wanted to let them know how grieved I was at their actions and their unfair impact on me. I wanted to let them know how embarrassing and unreasonable their conduct was. But by the Lord’s strength I didn’t. I staid silent, prayed and loved them where they were at and saw them through His eyes. And God went to work. They *noticed* my peace, love and joy compared to their own turmoil and felt convicted by it. They started to apologise for their own behaviour and even asked me for help. At the end of the holidays, things were dramatically different and they thanked me over and over again for my love and acceptance of them. It was a shock to me and a humbling reminder to let God work in hearts and to simply stay faithful to love and service. Grace and mercy are amazing teachers!

    • Melinda

      Thank you for this, Jessica. I, too, have a rather rambunctious family, and I need to be reminded that I can’t fix them. That’s God’s job (thank God haha). Example, example, example. Thank you, Jesus!

      • Terri

        Yes! We cannot fix them, we can only point, reflect Christ! Thank you both for sharing

  • Love this and needed it so much this morning. I am currently pregnant with a demanding toddler, so I love this imagery of Christ and his invitation to love.

  • The Scripture that jumped out at me from the reading today was John 21:12. “… Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.” Makes me think of John 10:5’s “But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

    I am so thankful for the times in my life when I have KNOWN that the Lord was speaking to/guiding me. At other times, the path has seemed a lot less clear. Praying for a closeness with Him that allows me to easily discern His voice from a mere stranger calling to me from the shore. May I always follow the path that He has for me.

  • This has become one of my favorite verses.
    “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

  • Tabitha B

    I can’t begin to tell you how this resonated with my soul. I have been dancing through these scriptures over the past week…everywhere I go I see/read/hear bits of these exact words. Today they came full circle and it was all put together so beautifully. John 21:25 may just be my new favorite verse and serve as the encouragement and reminder that I need when the world feels like it’s closing in and anxiety is striking. Thank you for highlighting the goodness that is there and was there in the scripture the whole time.

  • “Offer grace. Pursue reconciliation. Forgive freely. Whenever possible, love others well by serving them.” What powerful words to live by! Especially loving others.

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Diane Huntsman

    And just like that Jesus meets them.. we tend to focus on Peters denial and yet the rest of the disciples scattered and left Him which is denial of Christ in a different form.. they didn’t say the words Peter did but their absence spoke the same message.. but there He is, sitting on the shore making food for them.. I know I’d be on the shore with hands on hips ready to deliver a long drawn out rebuke before any kindness would be shown.. first on the agenda would be a serious talking to.. but no, He is so different from me, first on the agenda was grace, followed by reassurance, followed by physical needs met, followed by preparation for the future all tied up with love.. I think post crucifixion would be fresh, all that suffering, all that abandonment, but Jesus isn’t consumed with what went wrong, He’s consumed with them now, like how He could meet them in their here and now and bring hope to their worried and fragile hearts.. oh to be more like Him, to be less inclined to make my heart and feelings known and to be more inclined to meet people where they are and love on them no matter how they’ve failed me.. You’ve done it again, Jesus, You’ve taught me to see how much of Your character I’m lacking and how much more of You I need.. transform this girl to become like You.. it’s a tall order, but all things are possible with You.

  • Debbie Donahoe

    I am very grateful for the study of John this January 2017. Post Christmas it was hard not to be “blue” and head toward into depression. We are fairly new empty nesters, so much hustle and bustle to see and be with Family Nov and Dec. In His mercies I was able to open up She Reads Truth fairly regularly and stay in the Word. It has been such an encouragement and by the Spirit a great help in keeping my eyes on Jesus, and preaching the gospel to myself. And staying connected to the Body. Thank you for your service to His Kingdom and Children thru the SRT/HRT apps/studies!! In this hectic age in our culture this is a sweet balm of hope and truth!

  • Logan Christine

    It’s astonishing how complicated we make Jesus most of the time, when in reality its His simplicity that usually speaks the most volumes. I pray that I can find simple ways to show grace and compassion to those around me.

  • Thanks for the simplicity of being Jesus :) what a breathe of fresh air for is striving for an A+

  • Aaahhh, this was such a beautiful devotional. Jesus makes it look so easy and it probably really is. I don’t know about you, but if someone denied me or betrayed me, I would forget about that person completely and probably deny them too. But I want to learn from Him. He is so wonderful and forgiving and merciful. He is such a role model and although it may be a struggle, I want to learn how to forgive the way He does. My grandmother had a pretty rough past when she had her kids and my mom around that age would always ask her “Mom, why do you not fight back? Why do you let them treat you this way?” My grandma would always reply with the same answer “My child, there is a God in Heaven who see’s all things and He is a a fair God. He fights my battles for me so don’t worry.” That’s the biggest testimony and legacy both my mom and my grandmother have given me because we’ve seen God’s justice with our own eyes it’s unbelievable . I’m still in the works but I know eventually I will learn how to fight the way Jesus did.

    • Sherri

      Oh my! Thank you, Katalina, for the lesson your Grandmother passed on. For almost a year now, I have been holding on to anger, bitterness, and resentment and I’m finding that it is holding me back from Christ. Your grandmother was a wise woman! Just know, I am truly thankful for this lesson of mercy and grace. Maybe now I can move on, with a clean heart, knowing God is fighting my battles and I can let go.

      • Katalina

        Yes Sherri! I know what it’s like to have all those feelings aimed at a certain someone or certain situation but I promise, the things I’ve witnessed with my own eyes from not only my grandma’s and mother’s testimony but from myself as well, we truly don’t have to worry about “getting back” at anyone or anything. God is always in control.

    • Brandi

      Needed this today!

  • “When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.” I pray that I can offer myself so joyfully and recklessly to the Lord each day!

  • I will never forget, many years ago when I was a newlywed maybe married 2-3 years and I was having some struggles. A friend/mentor had me over for lunch. I don’t quite remember what we had but I do remember she had candles lit in a nice quiet environment. She served me and listened. As I look back what a great example of Jesus she was to me. To serve.

  • I love how John shows Jesus setting everything right! How profound that even though Jesus was sinned against, He initiated reconciliation, giving Peter THREE opportunities to proclaim his devotion, one for every denial! Oh I needed this today! Thanks to the God that restores, makes beauty out of the yuck I have caused, and initiates redemption in my life even though I have been the one to sin against Him. My heart is full ❤

  • Hi all, can you please pray for me and everyone going to the March for Life today? Please pray for safety and peace and for hearts to be open. Also for Jesus to have His way a during this event and to shine His light through it. Thank you, love you guys!

  • rebecca7395

    I have enjoyed this study, and reading everyone’s posts, so much. Reading again of Jesus’ tender love for His disciples, and us, stirs in my heart the desire to show that same love and compassion more fully to those around me. Who of us hasn’t felt as if we’ve failed, that our plans have crumbled around us, and what we THOUGHT would happen has been turned completely upside down? Like the disciples, we’re disheartened and discouraged. But God…such sweet words! Like Elijah and the ravens, Jesus appeared on the shore with a meal to nourish their bodies and His presence nourished their souls. Lord, help me see You, however You show up, in my times of deep need. And help me to show up for someone else who needs the compassion and care You call us to give.

  • This story about serving reminded me of something I committed in my heart to do to serve a neighbor, but I never followed through. Today I’m going to text her and offer to watch her kids while she completes her work hours to receive a Habitat home. (I’m writing it here so I actually do it today!) thank you for this reminder.

  • churchmouse

    These Scriptures and Erin’s devotion reminded me of this quote by Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) – “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people helping.'” The disciples had walked three years with Jesus, immersed in incredible teaching and unbelievable miracles. Now they faced an uncertain future that most likely would include persecution, torture, death. And so… They went fishing. They went back to that which was familiar, that which was their livelihood before they encountered Jesus. But once you’ve encountered Jesus, your life is not the same and it is not your own. Once you’ve feasted at His table, you hunger and thirst for more and you want others to join you at the table. Love and serve. Invite and forgive. Though the world be scary and in crisis, we believers are to be the helpers. We are now the ones to set the table, cook the breakfast and invite others to come. Nothing elaborate. Maybe simply pancakes. Simply helping others to take a helpful serving of Jesus. Using our ordinary and serving holy. Answering yes to His “You follow me.”

  • I’m so thankful for this! As a mom of three littles with a hard working husband, my opportunities to serve others for God’s glory are few and far between outside our home. But cooking for others is one thing God’s told me time and time again I CAN do! Today’s devotional is a great reminder to be like Jesus right where I am with what He has given me today – that just so happens to be a refrigerator and cupboards full of food. Thank you, Jesus!

  • “Perhaps imitating Jesus is simpler than we think. Offer grace. Pursue reconciliation. Forgive freely. whenever possible love others well by serving them. Pancakes optional.” These words made me smile and laugh out loud. I am so thankful that Jesus loves us so well. He offers grace, forgiveness, reconciliation and all He asks is that we do the same.
    And I’ll take pancakes in my jammies any time.
    Have a blessed and joyful weekend!!!

  • Did someone say pancakes?

    I’m ready…waiting in my jammies for the call….

    Anyone….?

    Thank you Jesus, for showing up into those days of confusion and lostness, in those days of hope-less-ness, and hope- less-mess, those days of fruitlessness, those days of ‘blindness’, Thank you Jesus that you prepare for us, the way through your mercy and Grace, forgiveness and love…Thank you Jesus, that you are the One to follow, the One to hold on to, the One to look up to…
    Thank you Jesus for loving and serving, for inviting each day and for forgiving me my ‘wandering’ heart,Thank you Jesus for your Word, that feeds my soul, that whispers your love, that promises your presence, that brings hope…that calls me to follow…
    Thank you Jesus…Forever.. thank you…

    Sending LOVE LOVE LOVE across the pond dearests…Praying God bless your weekends, whatever they look like…x xxx

    • Tricia C

      Amen and thank you Jesus! Blessings to you my sister. Xoxo

    • churchmouse

      Praying your words right back over you! From here to your there! Blessings, Tina!

    • Ellen

      Beautiful prayer….I will be praying the same. Thank you!!

    • Hilary

      Wishing we could all get together in our jammies and fellowship! What fun that would be! Blessings, Tina!

    • Mari

      Thank you Tina. I’m encouraged by your words and needed them. Blessings to you too.

    • Melissa

      Such a beautiful praise filled prayer. Thank you!

  • Mercy and grace, forgiveness and love, love one another, serve one another. Thank you Lord Jesus for your example, your sacrifice, your love.

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