The Ministry of Jesus in Times of Trouble
Pelicano. Philadelphia sanitation workers went on strike.
Nowhere to take the trash. So they put a megaton of trash on a huge ship. One problem: Where to take it. They couldn’t pay a nation or a port or a neighboring state, so it just got toxic, floated around from port to port, refueling and wandering around, full of junk.
Sometimes, life happens. And our life gets to filling up with junk, trash, burdens and we carry it around with us with nowhere to put it and no way to get rid of it.
Anybody relate? I can. One of Christians’ favorite verses: Jesus says, “you can come to me weak and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” I’ll trade your burden, your trial, your worry, for my peace, purpose, and blessing.”
We’ve been talking about what to do when life bottoms out, mostly what we do, but today I want to talk to you about what Jesus does for His children, when their lives bottom out. How Does Jesus Help in Times of Trouble?
- Jesus Offers Us Peace (20:19-21, 26).
Unique to John’s account, we have Jesus appearing to the disciples and each time (3 times) telling them “Peace be with you.”
Why record this?
→ He is scaring them. True, and possible.
→ He is greeting them. Strange to put “Hellos” in Scripture.
→ He is a hippie. No.
→ He is announcing Victory over the Kingdom of Darkness.
Peace (Shalom) is a word that summarizes the hope of Israel. Systemic, total, Whole, peace. Not just inner peace (zen); not just outer (corporate WS) – materialistic; not just a psychological peace (self-confidence). Peace in all those and our peace with God. That was the peace that was lost in the garden (emnity), and that’s what mankind is always searching to get. But it’s been lost, and don’t you and I know it?
It is Finished (19.30). Well, what is finished? The work of canceling the curse of your peaceless-ness. Jesus puts death to death. Destroys the works of the devil, and pays the penalty for your sin, if you’ll believe. He crucifies with himself all the threats of your peace.
Do you doubt my Work? Look at my hands and side. They’ve sealed your pardon and reconciliation. Justice has been satisfied. And so you can be whole, be healed, have peace.”
Brother or sister, you’ll have trouble, but He’s left for us his peace. Peace doesn’t mean you wont’ have problems. It means that your problems won’t have you. Do you have it? What’s the world got to offer you? Haven’t you had enough of jealousy, envy, bitterness, fear, anxiety, this ole’ life so often is just a rat-race, you blink and it’s over. Friend, life’s too short to wander and wonder, restless, sad, confused, selfish, bitter, and angry.
Listen to the words of our Christ to the disciples. His first ministry to us in times of trouble. Is the word he gave to the raging storm. Hear me say them to your and your trouble: “Peace. Be still.”
- Not just Peace, Jesus also Offers Us Purpose (20:21-23, 21:1-11).
Vs 21 (read) → As the Father has sent me…what does that mean? “As,” well, then, how was Jesus sent?
- Sent to be Heaven’s Ambassador
→ Jesus was sent by the Father to be Heaven’s Ambassador. John 1:18, no on has seen God at any time, but the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has explained him. He is The Divine Ambassador.
→ We (the church), likewise, are to be Heavens’ Ambassador. We are the “body” of Jesus. We represent Christ in the flesh, as Jesus was God in flesh, to glorify and do the work of God on the earth (2 Cor 5:20 – ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us).
Do you get that? The atheist tells you, you’re a collision of chance molecules trying to survive. The Gospel reminds us that every moment of your existence is divine imagery on the earth. The way you interact with the lady at Pic n Sav. Employees. Kids. Grand kids. The way you handle yourself at ther red lights. You are ambassadors of Christ Almighty, the judge of the Living and the Dead. You aren’t put on earth to eat, drink, and be merry. You aren’t cosmic trash. You are sent, an ambassador of heaven among men.
Some people will say you’re from a small town. You don’t matter.
Some people will say you come from a nasty family. You don’t matter.
Some people will say you have an awful past. You got no future.
Jesus says, you are my family, a representative of the High King of Heaven. What you do here every second as my representative has an impact on my coming Kingdom.
- Sent to be a Fisher of Men
→ Jesus was sent to “seek and save that which was lost” (Mk 10.45). Jesus wasn’t just walking around living a good life, trying to not offend everyone and just have a nice time. But you know, That’s doctrine among a whole lot of middle class Christianity. All about the Good life. That’s not how Jesus was sent. He came to reconcile people to God, no matter what the cost. That’s what these scars are for.
→ Friends, we’re here to take up where Jesus left off. My power (Acts 1.8) is going to come upon you and you’re going to be “nice people” to the ends of the earth. You’re going to be “decent citizens” to the ends of the earth. You will be my witnesses. You used to catch trout, Peter. But from now on, you will be catching men.
That’s partly what the fishing scene is about 21:1-11. It’s a visual aid, a reminder, of what Jesus has put you here to do.
153 fish. Just a detail. Huge haul. Some people speculate, 153 different types of fish in the Sea of Tiberius. And Jesus gets all of em. To the very ends of the earth until the whole world, every tongue, tribe, and nation.
Isn’t Jesus worth it? Isn’t his glory worthy of a phone call to someone you know needs to be in church? Isn’t Christ’s majesty worth a week of VBS? A door to door visit? A trip to Nicaragua? Doesn’t he deserve to be known shore to shore? Let the people’s praise, let all the peoples praise you, let the nations be glad and sing for all those sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light has dawned.” You are called, all of us, and because you have been called, you have also been sent.
The Order of Peace and Purpose
Not told you that your purpose is to make your peace. (JW / Islam / Religion)
Not told you that you’ll find peace in your purpose. (Zen Buddism / Relativism)
Told you that I’ve made your Peace, Now go do your Purpose. (Christianity)
Jesus will redeem, transform, and sanctify you. He’ll put you at and in his peace. But you’ve got to come. Don’t you want his purpose? Don’t you want to live for him? Membership, accountability, commitment, that’s what Christ calls you to. So you come, and God will make peace with you.