So, as we conclude this Gospel, we see this coda, “This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they written in detail, I suppose even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”
An Ordained Anointed Minister of Jesus Christ to Minister His Gospel, to this online Church; House of the Nazarene, To spread the Good News of Salvation to the four corners of the Earth. All Christians have, in profession at least, received Jesus Christ the Lord, consented to him, and taken him for theirs. We cannot be built up in Christ, or grow in him, unless we are first rooted in him, or founded upon him. Being established in the faith, we must abound therein, and improve in it more and more. God justly withdraws this benefit from those who do not receive it with thanksgiving; and gratitude for his mercies is justly required by God. There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word “complete,” is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. “In him,” not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
Notice the movement here; tend My lambs, shepherd My sheep, and tend My sheep. The three times here is important because it reverses Peter’s three times of denial. That is no accident. The charcoal fire is another symbol of this. Peter denied Him three times before a charcoal fire, and now he is restored three times before a charcoal fire. This, to me, is no accident.
Now, let’s move on and take a look at verses 12 to 17. Here we are going to see that we are shepherds. The real issue here is also going to be related to the issue of love. So, there is a change here, from being fishermen, to moving into the realm of the shepherd or having a pastoral impact on other people.
So, let’s take a look, first of all, at the first 11 verses, which concerns the issue of being ‘fishers of men’. This is an image they could understand, because seven of the twelve disciples were fishermen.
Now, in verse 22, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’.” Now, not only does He commission them, what does He do? He empowers them to fulfill that which they need to do. Without the Holy Spirit they would not be able to fulfill the commission, but now He empowers them.