Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Church

Devotional Thoughts for Second Sunday after New Sunday

by Fr. Mathew Chacko

Gospel Reading: John 21: 15-19 (MKJV)

15 Then when they broke fast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My lambs. 16 He said to him the second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My sheep. 17 He said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him a third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, When you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you wished. But when you grow old, you shall stretch forth your hands and another shall gird you and carry you where you do not wish. 19 He spoke this signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, Follow Me.

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Resurrection Appearances of Jesus: - Jesus Restores and Commissions Peter.

The stories of Jesus' Resurrection appearances to his disciples Thomas and Peter appear only in the Gospel of John. Here the Lord appears with special agendas, to make a believer out of doubting Thomas and to restore a defeated and fallen disciples. He confirms them in their discipleship and loyalty to Him. The final commissioning of the eleven takes place at the Mount of Ascension. Taken these stories together, we can perhaps, learn several things:

1. Knowing the struggles and failures of Thomas and Peter, Jesus reached out to them in mercy and resolve. He did not abandon them in their difficulties, accusing them of doubting His promises, unfaithfulness or betrayal. They probably did not deserve Jesus' forgiveness and re-instatement in their calling. But Jesus did so without their asking for it. Is it possible for us to be like Jesus in this regard?

2. Jesus honored the doubts and demands of Thomas, because he knew that it was all due to Thomas' ardent desire to see his Risen Master and Lord. Our honest doubts and demands will be honored by our Lord and He will appear for us. Thanks be to His mercies. Thomas' response to Jesus became for us believers a true confession of faith, "My Lord and my God!"

3. Peter failed miserably, but he cried bitterly. He denied the Lord three times, saying, "I don't know him", "I don't know him", "I don't know him". The Lord in his kindness allowed Peter to re-affirm his love to Him again and again saying, "I love you", "I love you", "I love you". He will do the same for you even if you fail him miserably, if your heart is pure. Your sin of ignorance, fear and weakness will be pardoned.

4. Jesus question to Peter, "Do you love me more than (these) others? was based on Peter's own promise, "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be" (Mark 14:29). Of course, Peter meant what he said at that time. But under extreme fear of his own death, he denied the Lord again and again. You may ask, "How do I deny Him today?" "I go to Church, I pray, I fast, I give alms. I am active in the church. I serve as secretary, treasurer, or a priest." But why do you do all these? What motivates you to do what you are doing? Do you do these because you love as Jesus loved?

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another." (John 13:34) To know the love of Jesus in ourselves is the greatest of all learning. This is a learning in relationship with Him. As He lives in us and we in Him, the constant interchange of his love in the innermost part of our being can transform even you and me to be a vehicle of His love in our world.

May He empower you and me through His Holy Spirit. Amen.

See Also:

Restoring Simon Peter
by Rev. Fr. George T, Ireland

Do You Love Me More Than These?
by Rev. Fr. Mathew Chacko

Devotional Thoughts on Second Sunday after the New Sunday
by Rev. Fr. George T, Ireland

Devotional Thoughts for the 2nd Sunday after the New Sunday
by Watchman Upon the Wall

Devotional Thoughts for 2nd Sunday after the New Sunday
by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

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