men! What a doleful answer, "No." "Cast ye out on the right side." Now they gee their orders from headquarters. There are plenty of fish in the sea and He knows where the net should be cast. Obedience is the great test. Whoever casts a net at His bidding will encircle fish. It was a great catch—153 great fishes. Why were they counted? In Luke 5:1-11, when they took the net full the net brake. They had many, but an indefinite number—there were rents in the net. John was the first to recognize the Master; Peter the first to go to Him. John is the most spiritual, Peter the most aggressive; they were well matched, for team work. ; Feasting and Fellowship. A fire was burning, fish were frying, but the Lord says, "Bring also of your fish." This is & beauti- ful scene and suggestive of the Millenium. First, think of the glorified Lord having a fire and fish, then of His inviting the disci- ples to bring theirs also. He supped with them and they supped with Him. The sower and reaper rejoice together. The sea rep- resents the world of men, the shore, the eternal side; the night the period of His ab- sence when out of fellowship and out of commission; the dawn, the coming of the Lord and the gathering from many nations. , Some H e - h as with Him. What a feast! What fellowship, when we partake of the mea} that the world knows naught of! probed Peter three times—to show him that he had' 'loved his boats and friends more than he had loved his Lord. The Lord then commands him to feed His sheep and lambs. There are two great functions for a fol- lower of Christ: one is the saving of souls , and the other the shepherding of the flock; 41 first gathering out of the worldf then father- ing into the fold. Is not the Lord asking many of us the searching question, "lovest 1 ^ The Master now reveals the future to Peter; He predicts tlie character of death he shall die. He had told him that!., he . would deny Him, now He tells him he shall die for Him. Peter was to .have a shep- herd's life of hardship and a martyr's/death. 4 Peter lived in'the conscieusij£ss:of-this pre-- diction, for he "states in 2 Pet. 1:14, * "I must shortly put off this' my tabernacle as the Lord hath shewed me." He was another Peter after the Holy Spirit filled him. and the love of God was shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). The Lord closes by . commanding, "Follow Me," Promise of His Coming. Peter is eager to know what awaits his partner. John whom Jesus loved. • The Lord rebukes the iri'quisitiveness- of- Peter- arid tells him not to be so concerned about oth- ers. The Lord has not predicted the,death of John as He did of Peter. • If it is His will that Peter should suffer a .martyr's death, that John should abide i n ' t he body until the Rapture of the Saints, Peter is to lovingly follow the ...path the Lord, .has Him- self had to walk, the path "assigned .to the, true. followers of the Lord arid, to .know much- of the joy..', of tribulation. , The book closes with the,.attention 'fixed* upon the great fact' that He will come again, thou Me?" Presiding and Commanding. PS
Lord has told them to meet Him in Galilee. Impulsive Peter wants to go back to the boat and net. He proposes fishing. Seven men resort to the lake—Simon, Peter, James and John, Thomas, Philip and Andrew and Nathaniel. Seven is the perfect number. Night and nothing. A sad comment on the seven fishermen. A perfect failure. They had not been sent out by the Master, but had gone out without Him. There js much of wasted effort, because work is un- dertaken in the energy of the flesh. He had said, "follow Me," and I will cause you to catch men. They were impatient and restless, wanted to be doing something; they might have been praying—it was love's labor lost. for them; what a long, tedious nighty Morning and Multitudes. "Watchman, what of the night?" "The morning Com- eth." When the morning came He was upon the shore. He knew all about their trials and failures . He knew their thoughts, had heard their conversation during that night. When He comes it is morning. Dark- ness flees from Him who Is the light of the world. They did not know Him, they were not expecting or looking for Him. Their eyes were veiled and holden as those of the two disciples on their way to Em- maus (Luke 24:16). "Children, have ye any food there?" What a strange greeting! What a strange question! What a familiar way for the risen Lord to speak to these Our last study gave us the lesson of rest and refreshment after labor. Those who minister in the name of the Lord Jesus are dependent upon Him. God supplies all need through riches of grace in Christ Jesus. The closing lesson points to the blessed hope of the believer—the Lord's return. Probing and Commissioning. The Lord addresses Himself to Peter, who had thriee denied Him (Jno. 13:38), and puts to him the searching question, "Lov- est thou Me?" Peter had boldly proclaimed that though he should suffer death yet he would never deny the Lord (Matt. 26:35). Peter meant it, he loved the Lord but he was depending upon his own strength; he felt sure he could go with Him to the death; but poor Peter did not know 'his own frail- ty. It is so easy to confess Christ in the church or on some special occasion in the midst of His friends, but it is such a dif- ferent thing to be loyal to Him when men are opposing Him. and when it may mean persecution and loss of friends and worldly influence. In this question the Lord seeks to bring Peter to see himself first of all. The word "love" that the Lord used the first and sec- ond time means devoted, unselfish love; the word that Peter used means a friendly love; a tender, affectionate love. The third time the Lord used the same word that Peter used. The Lord longs for a devoted love. Peter was conscious of his failure and con- fessed that he loved the Lord, but hot : wìt-h t-he intènse dévotion deirianded by the liw which said, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ad thy heart."' The Lord FAREWELL WORDS. Jno. 21:15-25.
Lesson LII.—Dec. 31st.
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