I realized about a year ago that I had never read through the entire Bible. The foundation on which I build my life, and yet there are all kinds of holes, even just in my exposure (I don’t think there will ever not be holes in my understanding). So I started this reading plan recommended by a friend, the Professor G Horner Bible Reading System. You read ten chapters every day; ten cross-sections of Scripture. Each of the ten lists is a different group of books, and when you complete one, you start back at the beginning of that list, so you’re never reading the exact same cross-section again. It’s beautiful to read the Bible as a big picture, to allow the New Testament to shed light on the Old Testament and visa versa. There have been innumerable breathtaking connections that I would have missed if I just started at the beginning and read straight through. Lately, I’ve been reading through Exodus, where Moses receives the law, while finishing up Hebrews and starting Romans, both of which illuminate Christ’s (and resultantly, our) relationship to the law.
I don’t always get through all ten chapters in one sitting, and I’ve been doing this for many more days than chapters I’ve read, but I recommend it.
Anyway. Today, I read the last un-read chapter of the New Testament on the list so far. I have a long way to go before I complete the Old Testament, and so I just start back at the beginning of the New Testament, but it’s this little celebration in and of itself, since before now I had never read even this portion of Scripture in its entirety. It was John 21. You should just go read it. There is so much beauty and truth and conviction that I just sat in the corner of Caribou weeping through it. Now, granted, I am pregnant and hormonal and little bit crazy these days, I couldn’t move past it and instead read it over and over and decided to come write about it.
I was convicted by the fishermen fishing. What has Christ called me out of, that I have returned to simply because it’s something I know well, something I can control and predict? Where has my faith in and reliance upon Christ decreased, and my dependence on my own experience increased? (vs. 1-3)
I was blessed by Peter’s excitement – the immediate return of his childlike faith. When Jesus appears and is identified (not by his voice, or by his face, but once again by a miraculous catch of fish), Peter jumps into the water and rushes to him. I love that John points out that the boat was only a few hundred feet from the shore, as if to say, Peter didn’tactually have to jump overboard and could have waited with the rest of them. But I was moved by Peter’s excitement. Like get. me. off. of. this. boat. He actually “threw himself into the sea” in order to not waste a single moment of being in his Savior’s presence. Despite the potential setback in returning to his former profession, he gave no thought to leaving it behind once again. I am desperate to allow my own soul to experience and express this joy in the presence of my Savior. (vs. 4-8)
I was moved once again by Peter’s conversation with Jesus (I blogged about it once here); by his inability to redeem himself; by Jesus’s very simple command as Peter’s expression of that love: “Feed my sheep.” I know in my pride I search for something more glamorous, but in the recent days that God has been shaping my heart as wife and mother, these words took on a deeper and more challenging meaning. (vs. 15-19)
I was kicked. in. the. butt. by Peter’s comparison to John. “If I have to suffer, doesn’t he??” How often do I ask that question in my own heart, as the Lord calls me to a life that seems too hard, or even too simple and unrecognized, and I sit here pointing and asking, “What about her?” I think Jesus’s response is true for me too: “What is that to you? You follow me!” (vs. 20-23)
Lastly, I wondered, do I believe the world itself cannot contain the magnitude of what Christ has done? Do I realize he’s that big, and that good, and that much? (vs. 25)
I guess I’m just a verbal processor and needed to get all of that out rather than sitting here crying over my Bible in the corner of Caribou Coffee. So. The End.