Bible Study: April 29, 2018
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passages: John 21:4-6, 15-19
-- When have you seen other believers endure great hardship as a result of choosing to follow Jesus?
-- How could God be using the difficulties He has allowed in your life to draw you closer to Him?
Food for Thought:
We have all heard it: "There are only two certainties in life -- death and taxes." It's a trite saying, but it is true. Death will come to all, and often before we are ready. Taxes on the other hand come exactly when we expect them. Still we are rarely ready for them (and are often unhappy). We can add one more certainty to the list for followers of Christ: trouble. Jesus promised we would have trouble in this world. The question isn't if trouble will come but when. Will you follow Jesus faithfully -- even to the end?
In John 21, after His resurrection Jesus appeared to seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (more commonly known as the Sea of Galilee). These disciples were Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John and two unnamed disciples (v. 2). They had spent the entire night fishing but caught nothing. In the early morning Jesus appeared on the shore. Although the disciples did not immediately recognize Him, surprisingly they followed His instructions to cast their fishing net on the right side of the boat. The catch was so great they could not haul the net into the boat. They knew it was Jesus.
Peter's elation in v. 7 revealed his love for Jesus, his repentant heart and his confidence in who Jesus was. Peter had failed miserably and wasn't sure what the next step was. But he knew Jesus had not given up on him. Good news: He hasn't given up on you and me, either!
Peter denied Jesus three times, and three times Jesus asked Peter to publicly confess his love for the Lord. Each time Peter did so, and each time Jesus assured him and informed the other disciples that Peter had not lost his usefulness in kingdom service. This is a reminder for believers today, that all service done for Christ on behalf of His people is to be performed out of love for Him.
Failures are serious, but they are not always final. Peter experienced restoration to Christian service, and restoration means being trusted by God in the very places we fail Him.
Following Jesus always comes at a cost. Jesus promised we would have trouble in this world. Again, the question isn't if trouble will come but when. This personal cost is part of the "suffering" Jesus spoke of in John 16:32-33. Whatever cost we pay for following Jesus does not compare to the price He paid on the cross for us. Still, no matter the obstacle -- even in death -- He will provide the power for us to remain faithful to Him.
When hope is fleeting, when faithfulness is questioned, even when death is near -- follow faithfully!
Intentionally focused on urban and multicultural believers, YOU is biblically based with culturally relevant and affirming lessons to help people connect, grow, serve, and ultimately be engaged in impacting the world for Christ. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals, and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online downloadable teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.