What has Jesus done?

John 21:15-24

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Tulips-II | London, England | April 2023

What is this that you have done? I hope never to be asked that question by God. Adam and Eve got themselves into plenty of trouble when they took the forbidden fruit and ate it. Their eyes were opened. They felt shame. They hid from God. They started blaming God, the serpent, and one another for their troubles. The results of their disobedience have traveled down through the ages, generation to generation. Blame, shame, disease, and death are their legacy to us. And we perpetuate it ourselves. We can’t point the finger of blame to them. We keep it going, passing along our sinful nature to our children, and they to theirs. The world itself suffers in the wake of their fall. 

I could list any number of ways in which I’ve added to the guilt, shame, corruption, and brokenness of the world. And so can you – if you’re honest. So let’s be honest. From failing to fear, love, and trust in God above all things to failing to love our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps this is a good time to remember some of those things (but only for a moment, and for a better purpose than a self-imposed guilt trip). All those sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus. He took them all upon himself. He suffered in our place. And then he rose from the grave to prove his sacrifice was sufficient. He has done many things that adorn this incredible sacrifice and gift of salvation. He has done things in my life for which I thank God.

He gave me godly parents who took me to Sunday School and church each Sunday. God was a part of our family’s life. My earliest memories are of standing on my parents’ bed singing “Jesus Loves Me.”

He brought Jerry and me together in high school. I was standing on my crutches in the hall waiting for our first-period class to begin when Jerry opened the door of what I thought was a closet and invited me to come in and sit down. It was a darkroom! Jerry was a faithful Lutheran Christian who knew he wanted to be a Lutheran pastor. He was instrumental in getting me to become a pastor. Jesus was the center of all of that.

Jesus saw to it that there was a power outage on the night of a crawdad supper at the Lutheran Campus Center. When Diane walked in and saw me working on the crawdads she pitched in and helped. She was a biology major and knew all about crayfish – including how to tell the difference between girl and boy crawdads! She was also a faithful Lutheran Christian. Our marriage two years later was nearly a commissioning service. We would dedicate the next 48 years of our lives to serving in the church. Jesus was right there in the process.

Jesus was also present the day we sent our youngest son to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. What we thought might have been dreaded diagnosis turned out to be nothing. Jesus attended my prayers for the six weeks we waited for tests to confirm a clean bill of health.

Jesus was with me when I sought help from a Christian counselor. I learned just how deep my need for God’s grace truly was, and how richly he provided it. 

Jesus has been with me in service as a pastor for the past 44 years (though I’ve been semi-retired for over 2 years now). He has been the center of my preaching and the source of the will to go on. 

Jesus has moved hearts to love me, encourage us as a family, support us in mission work around the world, and center our lives on his love, grace, truth and mission. 

These are just the highlights of Jesus’ work in my life. There are many more. And there will be many more, for Jesus’ mission is not finished. Until the Great Last Day, Jesus will work in the world and in our lives for the sake of his kingdom. He wants all people to be saved, for he died for the sins of the world. Thanks be to God for Jesus’ ongoing work!

  1. Barbara Rogers said:

    Amen and Amen!

  2. Barbara Eldridge said:

    Love this!

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