2 SAMUEL 19:11-20:13 | JOHN 21:1-25 | PSALM 120:1-7 | PROVERBS 16:16-17
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David is on his way back to Jerusalem after possibly several months or even years of having had to flee his palace because Absalom, his son, had wished to usurp the throne. But now that Absalom has been killed, it was only right that the king return to the throne. This David does, and on his way back, there are a number of interesting things that take place.
First, the man Shimei, a Benjamanite who had cursed King David while in flight comes to offer apologies to the king. The advice that David receives is that the man ought to be put to death for his insolence, but David spares the man his life. Second, Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson that David had shown favor to and had installed with servants and a house, etc. comes to see the king to inform him that he had had no designs on the throne at all, and it was actually his servant Ziba who had instigated the rumor.
Again, David deals kindly with the man, and sends him on his way. Also, there is an account of an old man, Barzillai who comes to bless the king and wish him well as he returns to Jerusalem. David offers to take him along, but Barzillai is of old age and declines the offer, and so David agrees to show the same kindness to Barzillai’s servant in taking him back with him and having him properly looked after in Jerusalem.
But there is trouble in the kingdom as soon as David returns. Evidently, another rebel by the name of Sheba is calling for an open rebellion, and David must take measures to quell it. Earlier, David had appointed a new commander-in-chief as a replacement to Joab—a man by the name of Amasa—and now David sends both Joab and Amasa to take care of things. But alas, it is Amasa whose end is near. In an act of stealth and under the guise of comradeship, Joab stabs Amasa to death even as he approaches him in a welcoming gesture. This is a most terrible thing that is done, but Joab appears to be confident of himself, and leads his men on the mission of pursuing Sheba.
Turning now to our reading in the gospel of John, we see a glimpse of the resurrected Jesus—at ease with his disciples, appearing out of nowhere sometimes, spending time doing simple things like sitting around a fire and eating breakfast, and just enjoying his disciples’ company. What glorious days those must have been! It was hard enough to imagine that this supernatural act had just occurred, i.e., a dead man had arisen, but now that he had, he was walking amidst them as if nothing had happened at all! I cannot begin to imagine what each of his disciples must have thought and felt in those early days following the resurrection.
On one such occasion, Jesus calls out to Peter and some others who are in a boat, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some” acknowledging the fact that they have been unsuccessful in their fishing efforts so far. The men do just that, and what they find is that the net comes up overflowing with so many fish—in fact, somebody even counted the exact number to be 153—and although the net was at bursting-point, yet it does not break! Such were the miracles that Jesus performed soon after he rose from the dead!
With this particular post-resurrection miracle, allow me to share a deeper significance and meaning that I have gleaned from the story: in saying “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some,” Jesus is exhorting each of us to do two things: first, to not lose heart when you fail, and second, to seek out new and different avenues and pastures for opportunities.
Because when you do these two things, two other things are sure to happen: first, you will have demonstrated obedience and faith in the Lord’s exhortation, and second, you will be rewarded for it. Is that a magnificent revelation, or what? To me, today, it is an amazing epiphany!
Continuing on in this final chapter, we find Jesus asking a very pointed question to Peter: Do you love me? And just as before, Peter is most vehement in answering in the affirmative, not once or twice, but three times in all. However, this time, I do believe that Peter is a changed man, and he has learned and grown much from the life experiences of the past three years. This time, I am sure that he would have taken Jesus’ command to heart.
Jesus says to him: Feed my sheep and also Follow me. Two simple commands. And these two things Peter does indeed do very well for the rest of his life as we will soon learn from our reading and study of the other books of the New Testament, including the books that Peter himself authors.
Turning now to our reading in the psalms, we are finally finished with the very long Psalm 119, and have for our reading pleasure today, Psalm 120. The very first verse of this psalm is one that I would like to proclaim with as much confidence as David did in writing it:
1 I call on the LORD in my distress,
and he answers me.
And finally, one take-away verse from our reading in the book of Proverbs. May it be that we remember these words and bind them to our hearts:
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold,
to get insight rather than silver!
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.