One more day.
It is hard for me to believe that I have one more day left on my goal of running at least a 5k every day in the month of May (2016)… and then for a full year… and then through the following May (2017). Today was my 395th day in a row of running at least 3.1 miles every single day.
The streak will end at 396.
But I plan to go out with a bang.
I have a full marathon (26.2 miles) planned first thing in the morning tomorrow in Akron, OH. It looks like I will be joined by a rockstar group of Sully, Pope, and my brother Brian. I am super excited. We will be testing out the 2017 Akron Marathon course. I will not be able to run the actual marathon on September 23 because I will be emceeing an event called “Dare 2 Share LIVE” (which is possibly one of the coolest events ever imagined!), so I am excited to get to run it tomorrow.
Please pray for me!
In continuing with my taper strategy, I ran another easy 5k this morning. I ran a total of 3.1 miles at an average pace of 7:37 per mile for a total running time of 23 minutes and 45 seconds. I am hopeful that I have done everything right and that my legs will be ready to run tomorrow. We are not planning to break any records, but I would like to maintain something around an 8 minute per mile pace (plus or minus 30 seconds).
In case you were wondering, the answer is NO. I will not be stopping running altogether after tomorrow. I will definitely be taking June 1 off, but I will pick right back up on June 2 and will be training even harder (but smarter) for my next goal. More on that tomorrow…
A huge highlight of 5k Every Day in the Month of May 2017 has been the Bible reading. THANK YOU to everyone who joined in on the challenge and participated in the daily discussion. That has been rich.
I will not be able to limit my commentary to only one thing that stood out to me today while reading through the last two chapters of John and the first chapter of the book of Acts.
Today I will limit myself to only pointing out one main thought per chapter… and even that is difficult.
John 20: I LOVE the purpose statement blatantly sitting at the end of John 20.
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. – John 20:30-31
Make no mistake about it. John wrote a first-hand account of what he witnessed while walking with Jesus for the sole purpose of helping people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in his name!
I love it!
That purpose statement makes me stop in my tracks and ask myself, “Why do I do the things that I do?”
There is no higher calling than to help people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing receive life in his name! I want everything that I say and do to be towards that end.
Why do I write and post this blog? To help people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing receive life in his name!
Why do I run? To help people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing receive life in his name!
Why do I sing? To help people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing receive life in his name!
Why do I love my wife? To help people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing receive life in his name!
Of course there are other reasons, beyond this foundational mission statement for why I do these things. But at the core, why do I do what I do? To help people believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing receive life in his name!
John 21: I want to be very clear when I say that I do NOT believe you need to know and understand Greek or Hebrew in order to understand the Bible. I believe that God has given us everything that we need in order to live lives of godliness. In short, I believe what Peter has written in his second epistle.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence… (2 Peter 1:3)
With that being said, we sometimes miss out on the richness and depth of the scriptures when we only read it at face value in English. I think this is true of John 21, especially in Jesus and Peter’s campfire conversation.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. – John 21:15-17
This conversation is not exactly as it appears. The English language misses it. I want to help you see it.
First, we should back up far enough to catch the heart of Peter, the disciple who abandoned Jesus and denied him three times -pretty immediately after saying he would NEVER deny Jesus.
Good intentions. Bad follow-through.
When Jesus shows up on the shore at the beginning of John 21, Peter has gone back to his old way of life. Remember that after denying Christ, Peter was ashamed of himself and ran off, weeping bitterly (see Luke 22:62). Now he is out fishing, no doubt trying to just forget about the whole thing.
But Jesus doesn’t let him go that easily. Jesus is on the shore while Peter, along with some other disciples, are out fishing on the lake. The fishing stinks and they haven’t caught anything (though I doubt they were honestly fishing as much as they were just thinking). The mystery man on the shore, whom we all know to be Jesus, says to put the net on the other side of the boat.
Of course this is ridiculous. If the fish are not on the left side, they are certainly not going to be on the right. But the ridiculous idea works. They haul in 153 large fish. We’ll skip past that number and simply say that the disciples recognized this miracle as being the hand of God, and they realize that Jesus is the man on the shore.
Immediately the disciples head back to shore to be with Jesus. Peter, however, puts on his outer garment and jumps into the water.
I have heard many sermons in which the Pastor claims that Peter was so excited to see Jesus that, without thinking, he put on his outer garment and jumped into the water – attempting to beat the boat back to shore.
I don’t think so.
I believe Peter was hiding.
I believe that Peter also realized the man on the shore was Jesus, but he was afraid to speak to him face to face because he knew he had failed him. I believe that Peter put on his coat and jumped in the water behind the boat, hiding himself, and making sure he was the last disciple to get to shore.
His plan of avoiding Jesus didn’t work.
I’m sure that Peter was silent during the meal, and Jesus waited patiently until after breakfast was over and Peter had nothing in his hands or mouth.
Once the time was right, Jesus began a life-transforming conversation.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” – John 21:15
More than what? More than fish? More than the disciples? What are the these? It doesn’t matter. The focus on the conversation is not actually on the these, but on the difference between Jesus’ question and Peter’s response!
Can you see it?
No, probably not.
Let me help.
Jesus is using the word agapé, which gets translated into English as love. It is a fair translation, but it poses a problem for English readers. Agapé is the strongest form of love that Jesus could have used at the moment. It is a committed, willful, expressive, active delight in type of love. Husbands and wives show agapé love towards one another. John says that God the Father shows agapé love towards us (see 1 John 3:1), and Jesus calls us to show agapé love towards Him (see Matthew 22:37).
In this moment, Jesus asks Simon Peter if he (agapé) loves him. Simon Peter says “Yes”, right? No.
He actually says, “You know I (phileō) love you.” Peter changed the word.
Phileō is a term translated to “love” which is more of a brotherly love, necessary, family kind of love.
“We’re family. Of course I love you.”
Not the same word.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus asks the same basic question three times?
Well, first off, I do personally believe that the three times coincide with the three denials. But second off, he doesn’t.
The second question is the same. “Simon Peter, do you (agapé) love me?” “Yes, Lord, you know I (phileō) love you.”
The third is different.
This time Jesus changes the question.
“Simon Peter, do you (phileō) love me?”
This time Peter is grieved. Why?
This is beautiful, but easy to miss. Jesus changed the question because he wanted to meet Peter where he was at. Jesus essentially lowered himself to Peter’s level as a starting point, to give Peter something he could agree with. Peter hadn’t actually agreed with Jesus the first two times!!
Peter, on the other hand, is greived not because Jesus asked the question three times, but because he changed the question on the third time. He missed his chance. He couldn’t bring himself to declare that he (agapé) loved Jesus, so he grieves and declares, once again, “Lord, you know that I (phileō) love you.”
It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful. At this point, Peter still feels like a mess-up, but Jesus can work with a mess-up like Peter, and like me, and like you!
In fact, Jesus met Peter right where he was, and led him into becoming an amazing man of God, as seen in the book of Acts and in First and Second Peter.
Unfortunately, this is easy to miss in the English.
Acts 1: Sometimes things are just plain easy to miss, period. That is what stood out to me in the first chapter of Acts.
“… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:8-11
This is the last time that Jesus is on the earth with his disciples, and in this moment he gives them a very clear directive: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
So what do they do with their clear directive? They march straight to Jerusalem, right?!
They just stand there, staring into the big, empty sky.
Thankfully two angels snapped them back into reality. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?”
They had a job to do.
And so do we.
We are called to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. No hidden Greek words there. But too often we are just standing around, staring… Doing nothing of eternal significance.
I love what the old English preacher from the late 1800’s once said:
“Brethren, do something; do something, do something! While societies and unions make constitutions, let us win souls. I pray you, be men of action all of you. Get to work and quit yourselves like men. Old Suvarov’s idea of war is mine: `Forward and strike! No theory! Attack! Form a column! Charge bayonets! Plunge into the center of the enemy! Our one aim is to win souls; and this we are not to talk about, but do in the power of God!’” – Charles Spurgeon