During seminary, and even as an undergraduate, I rarely raised my hand to ask a question or contribute to the discussion. When I did, my heart pounded hard and fast. Far from bold, I was afraid of being wrong or sounding stupid. I remained safely sponge-like, soaking in all the stuff.
Can you relate? Your response to my last post was near silence – ‘crickets’ as they say. We journeyed together through John 21’s miraculous catch and I asked you to contemplate and share. One lone cricket chirped.
I find comfort knowing the disciples ‘knew’ it was Jesus, but weren’t quite sure even after their miraculous catch:
None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jn 21:12
Uncertainty is OK. Here’s the thing:
Difficult things are often for our good.
When COVID forced virtual classes, the online structure required participation – contribute a personal contemplation about the assigned reading then respond to two or three other students. I had to shape my own assessment and share it… publicly! Yikes! However, by actively considering the readings, God led me to personally meaningful discoveries.
My own exploration last week compared the two miraculous catch stories from Luke before they became disciples and from John after the resurrection. God pointed me to the tremendous growth in the disciples’ humility – their willingness to follow the suggestion of a stranger. I paraphrase their indignant push back in Luke as “We’re professionals, mister. Don’t you think we know how to fish?” In John, they instead humbly try the stranger’s approach as in “We’re frustrated and tired, but what do we have to lose?”
God needed me to learn humility.
This week I’m struck that the disciples’ knew it was Jesus, yet dared not ask. A bit of word study shows that ‘knew’ means perceived by observing the evidence. The word is often translated ‘saw’ elsewhere but never for this verse. I think that’s because if they actually saw Jesus, they’d have no desire to question “Who are you?”
“None dared (or ventured) ask” indicates a lack of boldness caused by fear. It is often used when Jesus answers a question in such a way that no one dares asks another. Is this fear of being wrong? Fear of looking stupid? Fear of inciting Jesus’ anger?
I learned that if you have a question, odds are someone else has the same question. Still, I was never bold enough to ask. Neither are any of the disciples, even though all of them probably want to.
Something doesn’t sit quite right. The miracle could only be of the Lord, but they’re not 100% certain. In previous appearances, Jesus proved his identity by showing his scars. This time they don’t seem to recognize his physical appearance. They know they should know, but confirmation sure would be nice.
This is about trust, about recognizing Jesus even when He uses a different mode of communication.
Last week this story taught me the humility to realize I don’t have all the answers. This week God wants me to trust what I know is from Him and be bold.
Perhaps that’s because in a few days I’ll attend a writer’s conference with a boat load of published authors, editors, agents and publishers. I plan to seek interest in a project I believe God has called me to write. This story gives me confidence in the evidence I have seen. It helps knowing that others are probably asking the same question: Is this really God’s call?
These two relevant messages from the same story demonstrate God’s desire to speak to us personally. My hope is that the Bible study method shared in last week’s post teaches you one way to contemplate scripture independently rather than settle for a lesson meant for someone else.
Take the bold step. Click on any of the colored words in this post to explore scripture or revisit the Bible study method. Then share your questions and discoveries in the comments!
#SeedsofScripture #biblelesson #scripturestudy #readthebiblebetter #personalmessagefromGod