What Is That to You?

Lou Lotz

Read: John 21:20-23 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” (v. 21) Imagine that after Jesus assured the penitent thief, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43), the thief nodded at the criminal hanging on Jesus’ other side and whispered, “And how about that fellow over there? Will he be in paradise today also?” You wonder how Jesus would have responded. Our receiving God’s lavish grace is in no way dependent …

Healing a Painful Memory

Lou Lotz

Read: John 21:15-19 Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you. (v. 17) Fish wasn’t the only thing that got grilled that morning as the disciples sat with Jesus around the campfire. The Lord repeats his challenge to Peter—”Do you love me?”—three times to match Peter’s three denials in the courtyard of the high priest, so the theory goes. Jesus is offering Peter a way to heal the sting of a painful memory—three affirmations of love to wash …

Watching from the Shore

Lou Lotz

Read: John 21:1-14 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore. (v. 4) It happened “just as day was breaking.” A pencil line of pink across the eastern horizon, and patches of mist and fog rising up from the water. The gentle sound of waves slapping against the boat. Blazing torches held aloft as tired, frustrated fishermen gaze at the surface of the sea, looking in vain for a flash of silver signaling a school of fish. They …

Light in Our Darkness

Lou Lotz

Read: John 20:1-10 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark. (v. 1) On Easter morning, says John, Mary Magdalene arrived at the cemetery “while it was still dark.” Luke says it was “early dawn” (24:1). Matthew says it was “toward the dawn” (28:1). Mark says that “the sun had risen” (16:2). But John says it was dark. Which is how our encounters with God almost always begin—in the …

It Is Finished

Lou Lotz

Read: John 19:28-30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (v. 30) Hanging on the cross, wracked with pain, suspended between heaven and earth as though neither one wanted him, Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” This is not an expression of defeat. It is not a death rattle. It is not a gurgle of surrender. Rather, it is an expression of achievement and completion. …

Stand by Me

Lou Lotz

Read: John 19:23-27 But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (v. 25) It has been my custom, over the years, to read a poem every day. One day last week I chose Rudyard Kipling’s “Mother o’ Mine”: “If I were hanged on the highest hill, / . . . / I know whose love would follow me still, / Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ …