Welcome back! Thank you for all your support for my first book! I’m looking forward to doing more writing, starting right now.
I’ve been learning to look at everything through the dialectic of law and grace. It’s amazing to me how the whole Bible just opens up and begins to live, once I look at it this way.
The story in John 21:1-14 serves as a great example. That’s the story where the resurrected Jesus miraculously fills the disciples’ net with fish, right? So what happens?
The disciples fish all night and don’t catch anything. When morning comes, Jesus is already on shore. He has built a fire, and He’s already cooking His own fish. You can imagine the conversation. The disciples say, “Hey, you caught fish!” And Jesus replies, “Yeah, where’s your fish?” The disciples tell him, “We’ve been working all night, and we don’t have any fish!” So Jesus says, “Well, why don’t you throw your nets over there?” And they say, “Jesus, have you not heard us? We labored all night and have not caught anything.”
There it is. They labored all night. “Jesus,” they say. “We have worked all night, but we don’t have success. We have worked, and worked, and worked.” And Jesus says, “Yes, but hold on a second. When you live with me, my man, it’s different. I am grace. I am truth. And when I tell you to throw your net somewhere, you will catch fish!”
He goes on to tell them, “When I tell you to work in my wisdom, you will find your success. You have tried to do it all on your own. You’re trying to work and work and work to get your fish, but you don’t have any fish! Why don’t you just do what I say? I’ll show you the wisdom you need!”
So what did the disciples do? They worked in grace! They said, “Okay Jesus, tell us where to throw the net.” “Throw it right there,” He said. Boom, man, there was so much fish that their boat almost sank. There was so much fish that their nets should have broken, and miraculously didn’t. That’s grace! That is grace!
Jesus is telling us, “Apart from me, you can do nothing. You can work all you want. You can live by the law all you want. You will not find what you need to find. Live with me, and listen to me. I am grace. I am truth. I shall set you free. Work in grace, and you will have abundance.”
Jesus sat there, every single day, teaching in grace and in truth. “Come, live with me,” He says. “Apart from me you can do nothing, but with me, all things are possible.” Think about that! John’s story is an account of the disciples’ experience in grace and law. Everything in scripture is based on this dynamic between law and grace. One works and the other one doesn’t.
More on this next time, and in the coming weeks. See you Monday.