Psalm 30 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of David. For the dedication of the temple.
1 I praise You, Eternal One. You lifted me out of that deep, dark pit
4 Sing, all you who remain faithful!
6 When things were quiet and life was easy, I said in arrogance,
8 O Eternal One, I called out to You;
11 You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing;
Acts 9:1-20 The Voice (VOICE)
9 Back to Saul—this fuming, raging, hateful man who wanted to kill every last one of the Lord’s disciples: he went to the high priest in Jerusalem 2 for authorization to purge all the synagogues in Damascus of followers of the way of Jesus.[a] His plan was to arrest and chain any of Jesus’ followers—women as well as men—and transport them back to Jerusalem. 3 He traveled north toward Damascus with a group of companions.
Imagine this: Suddenly a light flashes from the sky around Saul, 4 and he falls to the ground at the sound of a voice.
The Lord: Saul, Saul, why are you attacking Me?
Saul: 5 Lord, who are You?
Then he hears these words:
The Lord: I am Jesus. I am the One you are attacking. 6 Get up. Enter the city. You will learn there what you are to do.
These are shocking, unexpected words that will change his life forever.
7 His other traveling companions just stand there, paralyzed, speechless because they, too, heard the voice; but there is nobody in sight. 8 Saul rises to his feet, his eyes wide open, but he can’t see a thing. So his companions lead their blind friend by the hand and take him into Damascus. 9 He waits for three days—completely blind—and does not eat a bite or drink a drop of anything.
10 Meanwhile, in Damascus a disciple named Ananias had a vision in which the Lord Jesus spoke to him.
The Lord: Ananias.
Ananias: Here I am, Lord.
The Lord: 11 Get up and go to Straight Boulevard. Go to the house of Judas, and inquire about a man from Tarsus, Saul by name. He is praying to Me at this very instant. 12 He has had a vision—a vision of a man by your name who will come, lay hands on him, and heal his eyesight.
Ananias: 13 Lord, I know whom You’re talking about. I’ve heard rumors about this fellow. He’s an evil man and has caused great harm for Your special people in Jerusalem. 14 I’ve heard that he has been authorized by the religious authorities to come here and chain everyone who associates with Your name.
The Lord: 15 Yes, but you must go! I have chosen him to be My instrument to bring My name far and wide—to outsiders, to kings, and to the people of Israel as well. 16 I have much to show him, including how much he must suffer for My name.
17 So Ananias went and entered the house where Saul was staying. He laid his hands on Saul and called to him.
Ananias: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, sent me so you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
18 At that instant, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see. So he got up, received the ceremonial washing of baptism[b] identifying him as a disciple, 19 ate some food (remember, he had not eaten for three days), and regained his strength. He spent a lot of time with the disciples in Damascus over the next several days. 20 Then he went into the very synagogues he had intended to purge, proclaiming,
Saul: Jesus is God’s Son!
Revelation 5:11-14 The Voice (VOICE)
11 When I looked again, I heard the voices of heavenly messengers (numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands). They surrounded the throne, the living creatures, and the elders.
12 Thousands of Messengers (with a great voice): Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and beneath the earth and in the sea and all things in them echoing the messengers.
Every Creature: To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
14 And the four living creatures kept on repeating:
Four Living Creatures: Amen. Amen.
And the elders fell down and worshiped [Him who lives forever].[a]
John 21:1-19 The Voice (VOICE)
21 There was one other time when Jesus appeared to the disciples—this time by the Sea of Tiberias. This is how it happened: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (the Twin), Nathanael (the Galilean from Cana), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
Simon Peter (to disciples): 3 I am going fishing.
Disciples: Then we will come with you.
After Jesus’ death, the disciples don’t know what to do with themselves, other than return to their old livelihood of fishing. This band of fishermen is lost and lonely, but just when they think things can’t be stranger, Jesus shows up. He tells them to fish on the other side of the boat. They do, and they are suddenly overwhelmed with fish. The nets are bulging.
What He shows here is that not only will their old ways of living leave His followers as empty as the nets, but their old habits will not work either. He has impacted their lives in a way that changed them forever. They can’t go back. And He knows they don’t know how to go forward.
They went out in the boat and caught nothing through the night. 4 As day was breaking, Jesus was standing on the beach; but they did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus: 5 My sons, you haven’t caught any fish, have you?
Jesus: 6 Throw your net on the starboard side of the boat, and your net will find the fish.
They did what He said, and suddenly they could not lift their net because of the massive weight of the fish that filled it. 7 The disciple loved by Jesus turned to Peter and said:
Beloved Disciple: It is the Lord.
Immediately, when Simon Peter heard these words, he threw on his shirt (which he would take off while he was working) and dove into the sea. 8 The rest of the disciples followed him, bringing in the boat and dragging in their net full of fish. They were close to the shore, fishing only about 100 yards out. 9 When they arrived on shore, they saw a charcoal fire laid with fish on the grill. He had bread too.
Jesus (to disciples): 10 Bring some of the fish you just caught.
11 Simon Peter went back to the boat to unload the fish from the net. He pulled 153 large fish from the net. Despite the number of the fish, the net held without a tear.
Jesus: 12 Come, and join Me for breakfast.
Jesus reveals to His disciples a world where God is intimately involved, the main actor in the drama of history. These fish, all 153, are a sign from God representing the community of men and women transformed by faith. Some of them sit down and don’t say a word as they ponder all of this. Others busy themselves in work. Each in his own way thinks, wonders, and prays.
That’s how John always begins and ends his stories of Jesus: reminding believers to become the sons of God. The resurrection of Jesus shows the world He is the resurrection and the life. That isn’t life after death; it is the reality that through Jesus believers can have abundant life, a full and meaningful life, here and now through faith.
Not one of the disciples dared to ask, “Who are You?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus took the bread and gave it to each of them, and then He did the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time the disciples had seen Jesus since His death and resurrection. 15 They finished eating breakfast.
Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these other things?
Simon Peter: Yes, Lord. You know that I love You.
Jesus: Take care of My lambs.
16 Jesus asked him a second time . . .
Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
Simon Peter: Yes, Lord. You must surely know that I love You.
Jesus: Shepherd My sheep.
17 (for the third time) Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
Peter was hurt because He asked him the same question a third time, “Do you love Me?”
Simon Peter: Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.
Jesus: Look after My sheep. 18 I tell you the truth: when you were younger, you would dress yourself and go wherever you pleased; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and take you to a place you do not want to go.
Ever since the night Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied knowing Christ three times, Peter has felt small. He has felt he betrayed Jesus too. Matching the three denials, Jesus has Peter re affirm his love for Him three times. At the same time, Jesus reaffirms Peter’s call to ministry each time by challenging him to serve as a leader. The conversation on the beach that day affects him profoundly. From then on, Simon Peter is one of the most humble followers of Jesus, but he is also one of the great leaders of the early church, as Acts explains.
The disciples all learn a lesson that day. No matter what someone may have done, the Master wants the miracle of forgiveness to restore that person to be whom He made and called him or her to be.
19 Jesus said all this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After this conversation, Jesus said,
Jesus: Follow Me!
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