Updated: May 20
The disciples were ecstatic to see the risen Lord! He's risen!! Our Messiah is alive!! But the temporary joy seemed short lived, Yeshua would visit His disciples some on the road to Emaus some in the room shut tight for fear. It's interesting to look at this time of waiting, before the Holy Spirit was poured out, before they received the power from on high. If you look at these times pre-Pentacost you see a simular image to the children of Israel in the wilderness. God performs a miracle, Horray! And then it's only a few days before they're ready to throw in the towel, or in Peter's case, go fishing! It's even curious to look at the dialog of the disciples and Yeshua on the road to Emaus how sad they were even after hearing that He was risen! Faith seems such a fickle thing and in the flesh it truly is. This Pre Holy Spirit time gives us a glimpse of the church before the Holy Spirit and after God's empowerment, but just as important is the work that God was doing in this time of waiting. Notice Deuteronomy 8:2 "And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not."
The Waiting is God's time of testing and refining, He breaks off the old to prepare us for what's next.
Let's look to John 21. The disciples are sitting around, it's probally been a while since they last saw Jesus. They went back home to the Galilee, and Peter had enough of sitting and waiting, 3“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus is the ultimate example, here He is risen, defeated death, took the pain of sin and our punishment, and then He cooks Breakfast!!! What a loving father, what a loving King! But His work wasn't done with breakfast.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
It's no accident as many of us know that Jesus asked 3 times.
3 times Peter denied Jesus, 3 times he failed the one he swore to never forsake.
In times of waiting be sure that the Love of Jesus will compel Him to confront the snares and shame that ties us down. Think, it's been weeks, Jesus waited. He could have confronted Peter on day one, but He waited till the right time. It's amazing how tender God is with us. In the time that He's calling us, it's always the right time, He pursues us. Peter didn't apologize first, Jesus pursued him to bring reconciliation.
The time of waiting refines us.
Thomas's doubt, the disciples on the road, Peter fishing...
And then on the 40th day He accends to heaven. Remember there's 10 more days until He sends the promise of the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine how difficult that last bit would be? What thoughts were going through the disciples' heads?
Think of the Children of Israel, amazing miracles, then wandering in the desert, they didn't know where they were going but that God's promise awaited. Some had a difficult time, took up complaining, and God in His mercy provided, showed up, brought fresh vision by His Provision. Then they reach their destination. Mt. Horeb. The meeting place of God.
Just as the Lord showed up in a consuming fire on Mt Horeb, tounges of fire decented on His disciples on Pentecost! But He refines our character in the desert.
Will we learn from God's provision? Will we take account of the encounters with Jesus and trust him in the days it seems He's far away? Will we remember the words of the prophets or be forgetful like the disciples traveling on the road? The waiting is the hardest part, but it's in this time of waiting, of remembering the couting of anticipation that teaches us to wait on God, to anticipate His return, His breakthrough, His presence. He refines us in this time and prepares us for our mission, gives us vision.
May you meditate on God's faithfulness in this season. Take time to read the prophets and how they speak of our Messiah's first coming and the Kingdom shortly to come. In this time have a expectation for His return, don't be caught as the disciples were, fearing and doubting, but faithful and trusting! As we count down to the celebration of the greatest Gift from the Father, let's press in to receive fresh vision and enpowerment as we wait with expectation.