Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

Restoration

05 June 2020

I find restoration shows hard to resist. Whether it’s a boat, classic car or some treasured item that has seen better days, I’m hooked. There is something satisfying and it keeps me gripped to the very end of the show – the big reveal where the restored treasure is presented in its full splendour to the delighted owner.

 

It is perhaps too easy in these passages – so familiar to most of us – to miss the wonder and the amazement of the many restorations contained in these verses. There’s a lot to take in – death, resurrection, grief, joy, false accusation, confusion and clarity. This is no TV show. This is real life and real people. There is a rich feast of restoration, served generously throughout these chapters. There’s Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection; God’s master restoration plan – reaching out to sinful man and offering a restoration of relationship and release from sin. But there’s more. A grieving mother is entrusted to a caring family, a deserter is restored in relationship, faith and hope are renewed in grieving friends and disciples.

 

In John 20:11, Mary Magdalene weeps outside an empty tomb. She had come expecting to find a sealed tomb with Jesus’ body inside. Instead, she finds what she believes to be a desecration. She believes that Jesus’ body has been taken, a further injury to her grief. She doesn’t recognise the significance of the empty tomb. At this moment, none of those closest to Jesus understood ‘…the statement of scripture that he must rise from the dead.’ (v9). Even the appearance of angels can’t get through her grief. We see in verse 14 that she doesn’t even recognise Jesus straight away. It makes me wonder how often I have failed to recognise Jesus because of my grief and pain. We can be so blinded by our own situations and emotions that God seems, dare I say, absent?

 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Romans 8:35-39 reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Our Lord is right there with us, wanting us to recognise Him and receive the grace, strength and authority that are ours because of Jesus’ restoration rescue.

 

I find myself wondering what Mary’s expression was when she heard her name being called and began to recognise the scale of God’s restoration plan for the world. How simple and yet profound it is that she is called by her name. Jesus doesn’t just know your name. He knows everything about you. With every detail of your life laid bare, He demonstrated His love for you and all humanity through His death on a cross. He knows you by name…and He loves you.

 

Remember when the disciples were so excited about the authority given to them through Jesus name in Luke 10? Jesus shares their joy but then reminds them ‘…rejoice that your names are enrolled in heaven.’ (Luke 10:20). Mary isn’t berated for a lack of faith and revelation. She isn’t told to sort herself out. He calls her by name. Suddenly, all that Mary had ever heard Jesus preach and teach; every miracle she had witnessed, could suddenly be seen through newly opened eyes. He knows my name. I am His. Notice that the angels don’t deliver the news of Jesus’ resurrection to Mary. Jesus himself steps into Mary’s grief and sense of loss and restores all of her hopes and joy with a simple ‘Mary!’ and when she has recognised him as ‘Rabboni’ (Teacher or Master), Jesus commissions her to tell the other disciples that He is risen (v18).

 

As we read through this week’s chapters, my prayer for all of us is that we see God’s restoration power not only in the words we read in our bibles, but in the everyday experiences of Christ at work in and through our lives. If this week finds you in a difficult place, my prayer is that you too will be able to hear Jesus calling your name, renewing your faith and hope and restoring you to His calling in your life. The Master Craftsman of all of creation wants to restore you. He knows you by name.

 

 

QUESTIONS :

 

Day 160

John 17

 

In verse 13, Jesus prays that we may experience His joy. How have you experienced Christ’s joy in your life recently?

 

 

Day 161

John 18:1-23

 

In verse 20, we see how open and accountable Jesus’ life is, even when dealing with ‘authorities’ who had no concept of his ultimate authority. What are your tips for an open and accountable life as a disciple of Jesus?

 

 

Day 162

John 18:24-40

 

We will meet people this week who don’t yet belong to His Kingdom. How do we demonstrate the truth in verse 36 that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world? What values and priorities are conveying our Kingdom culture?

 

 

Day 163

John 19: 1-22

 

In verse 11, Jesus tells Pilate that his authority doesn’t really come from Rome, but is from above. Paul emphasises this in Romans 13:1. How has recognising the Lord’s authority in a situation helped you recently?

 

 

Day 164

John 19:23-42

 

The reading today is full of seemingly small details that link to scriptures that showed Jesus was the Messiah. Small details can sometimes add up to dramatic differences. How has God used a small detail in your life that has demonstrated Jesus’ power and love?

 

 

Day 165

John 20

 

In the reading today, one word (‘Mary!’) in verse 16 makes a massive difference. I have spoken about this in the blog. Here’s a challenge for today. Can you post a testimony today (240 characters or less!) of the difference God has made in your life recently? Sort of a twitter/tweet testimony, but without twitter, obviously!

 

 

Day 166

John 21

 

‘What about him?’ Does verse 20 resonate uncomfortably? Peter progresses from restoration to rivalry all in the same chapter. Such a change is not unique to him! Peter allows himself to get distracted from his calling. How do we make sure our egos stay surrendered (dead!), so that we can follow God and not allow competitiveness and jealously to distract us in our calling?


Photo of Mark Melhado

Mark Melhado

Youth Pastor
GoChurch Manchester