Audio Sermon “God's Miniature”

Oct 23, 2017
“God's Miniature" No.12 by Rev. Toru Asai
Eph 5:1-2, John 21, etc.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Eph 5:1-2)

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Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph 5:1-2).

Here, note the phrase, "as dearly loved children." In order to love with God's love, you need to know first how much you are loved by God. Once you know how God loves you, you also love others by imitating him.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13:34).

Here, if the clause, "As I have loved you," is removed, this command would simply be the command, "Love your neighbor as yourself," as in the Old Testament. Thus, what makes this "new command" different from the old one lies in the phrase, "As I have loved you"—as he laid down his life for them so that they would have eternal life. It is crucial to know that while the old one served as a condition to determine life or death, blessings or curses, the new one no longer carries such conditional nature since whoever believes in him has eternal life and is redeemed from the curse of the law unconditionally—by faith, not by deeds. However, the disciples that time, hearing the word, "command," all understood it still in the conditional sense of the old covenant. So Peter came up to insist strongly on his ability to love and follow Jesus as follows:

Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you (v. 37).

Yet, after this, everything went in a completely unexpected direction for Peter. As the story unfolds in John's gospel, a keen contrast is observed between how Jesus' loved and how Peter failed to love in spite of what he said he would: while Jesus' love was fulfilled and made complete at his death on the cross, Peter's love was not, and ended with a bitter cry. As a matter of fact, in Peter's case, instead of his words, the following words of Jesus came to be fulfilled:

Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times (v. 38)!"

If Peter, having been in this condition, could realize the incompleteness of his love, and the powerless nature of his flesh, it would be by God's miracle. In fact, it is by this miracle that all believers come to walk according to the spirit and love others as the fulfillment of what Jesus said. Surely, the event in John 21 put an end to old Peter and brought him a new birth. It had been some weeks since Jesus was raised from the dead, and according to John, Jesus had already appeared to the disciples twice. By this time, they had been taught the meaning and purpose of Jesus' death and resurrection through the scriptures, and directly given the words concerning their commission to go and preach the good news to the world. At such a stage, Peter's decision of "going out to fish" was not fitting at all. For him, it was another mistake like his denial of Jesus. They worked all night, but caught nothing. At dawn, Jesus stood on the shore. Whenever we make a mistake, Jesus is right there to work it for something good. So his turn came to say:

"Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some (21:6)."

They did so, and caught a large number of fish. As they came up to the shore, there they found breakfast ready for them to eat. Nobody said anything because they were all feeling the emptiness of their flesh inside. As they finished eating, Jesus said to Peter:

Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these (v. 15)?

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