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John 1:44-50, 21:1-14

Nathanael was with Jesus at the beginning of His ministry and at the end of His earthly ministry.  Near the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Nathanael wondered aloud about Nazareth if “anything good could come from there.”  Soon, he found himself talking with Jesus, who amazed him by saying he had seen Nathanael by a fig tree before he was called.  He became a disciple.  Nathanael was from Cana, less than 10 miles north of Nazareth.

Why did Nathanael make that disparaging remark about Nazareth?  For an answer, I referred to R. C.  Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible which says, “Nathanael apparently expresses contemporary skepticism that a prophet could arise from Galilee.  Nazareth was an insignificant village, not mentioned in the Old Testament or other Jewish literature of the time.”

At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, when He was making one of His unforgettable appearances, this time causing the near net-breaking fish catch at the Sea of Galilee, Nathanael was there.  Interestingly, Nathanael’s hometown of Cana is over 10 miles west of the Sea of Galilee, so he had a farther distance to travel to the Sea of Galilee than Peter, who was from Bethsaida, less than 2.5 miles away.

Nathanael wondered how something good could come from Nazareth.  Nathanael soon got to experience Jesus’ miracles.



Luke 2:8-20, 6:12, 9:10-17, 13:10-17

On Good Friday night, my family watched the movie, Jesus (1979).  We had watched it several times before, but this time I took notes.  This movie is based on the book of Luke and is careful to adhere to Scripture.  Still, I wanted to analyze how the movie helped enrich our understanding of what Jesus and others might have experienced.

In Luke 2:8-20, at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, shepherds reside in fields at night, guarding flocks from whatever lurked in the dark.  They would surely have been prepared for any predators.  What they didn’t expect was an angel.  The Bible lets us know that the shepherds were frightened.  The movie did well showing shepherds initially doing their job with one shepherd even playing a flute-like instrument.  But when the angel arrived, the flute playing stopped and you see one shepherd stop petting a lamb, get up, stagger, and stare.  It felt realistic.

In Luke 6:12, it’s mentioned that Jesus spent the whole night praying.  There was a convincing scene for that.  Imagine staying up the entire night praying!  That’s amazing!

In Luke 9:10-17, Jesus miraculously fed more than 5,000 people with a small amount of bread and fish.  Everyone ate until they were full.  The movie added cheering people when the food was being distributed, which I thought was a nice touch.  It could have happened-Who doesn’t want a free all you can eat buffet?

In Luke 13:10-17, A woman who must have had kyphosis, praised God after Jesus healed her.  In the movie, the elderly actress spoke heartfelt dialogue as she moved to frame Jesus’ face with her hands saying, “Praise to the Lord!  God keep you Rabbi.”  I got teary with her believable lines.

Jesus is a good movie.  It prepared our hearts for Easter Sunday.   The movie makes me think of a framed quote in my dentist’s office that says, “It was not the nails that held Jesus to the cross but rather his love for us.”


Mark 8:1-10, Luke 5:1-11, Luke 8:22-25

Jesus was familiar with boats.  After one instance of feeding thousands, He went with his disciples in a boat to Dalmanutha.

He taught from a boat.  He then stayed in the boat to perform a miracle of many netted fish that caused some sinking.  Since there were so many fish, I wonder if some of them were squished by the fish?  If they were, I guess that would have been a happy problem since there had been no fish before.

Another time, Jesus and His disciples were sailing, and He slept on the boat during a storm.   The storm caused the boat to take on water.  The disturbed disciples woke Jesus up and He stopped the storm.  With things calm again, maybe He went back to sleep.


Matthew 3:13, Matthew 8:26-27, Matthew 14:28-32, John 4:7-18, John 21:1-14

I realized the other day that Jesus was often in close proximity to water.  Last week, I mentioned Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist.  Jesus planned to be baptized by him.

Jesus didn’t do things on a whim.  He is our deliberate deliverer.  So, when he was in water (the baptism), on water, or near water, it was deliberate.

When Jesus walked on the water, he was teaching a lesson in faith.  And when He calmed the wind and waves from a boat, that was also a lesson in faith.

Jesus was near water when he talked with the Samaritan woman at the well.  He taught her a lesson on eternal life.  And when Jesus was on the Sea of Galilee’s shore, he cooked fish for the disciples.  Although he fed them, meeting a physical need, I think one greater purpose on the shore was appearing again as His resurrected self.



Matthew 4:18-20, 17:27

Have you gone fishing before?  When I was younger, my family and I went fishing with Grandpa Topping many times.  It felt good to catch a fish.

Jesus provided Peter, a professional fisherman, a fun way to pay taxes.  He asked Peter to get a coin from the mouth of the first fish he caught.  Imagine Peter’s excitement to catch that fish and find money inside!

This is not a fish story.  Jesus is powerful and can do whatever He wants.


John 6:1-15

My husband and I have an anniversary coming up soon and we’ve been celebrating with our kids.  I made a white cake on Friday and we’ve been enjoying the tasty leftovers.

Jesus miraculously fed thousands with five little loaves and two little fish.  When everyone had eaten, Jesus spoke to the disciples saying, “Gather the pieces that are left over.  Let nothing be wasted.”  They were able to gather enough pieces from the loaves to fill 12 baskets.  Knowing Jesus, filling 12 baskets probably had special meaning.  Maybe each of the 12 disciples had a basket.  From reading the above passage, it sounds to me like the leftover bread ended up being more than the five little loaves Jesus started with.  Jesus’ disciples must have been in a near constant state of amazement with the magnitude of His miracles!



Panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee

Panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee

Matthew 4:18-20, John 21:1-10

The Sea of Galilee was important in Jesus’ ministry.  It is where the first disciples followed Him and where Jesus performed the massive fish catch miracle.

The Sea of Galilee is Israel’s biggest freshwater lake.  It is about 13 miles in length, about eight miles wide, and the deepest area is about 141 feet deep.  For more interesting facts, check out:


Jonah 2:10, Matthew 12:40

I finished reading Jonah not long ago and stopped to think about the above verse which is about Jonah being vomited out of an extremely large fish.  Even a little vomit is gross to clean up, so I can’t imagine what it would have been like for Jonah to be in all of that vomit.  Since it was an enormous fish, I’m guessing it was a copious amount of vomit.  I wonder if Jonah even swam in it and dripped vomit afterwards.

Even though Jonah was thankful to have survived, he may have been so grossed out by the surrounding vomit, that he even vomited himself.  If Jonah wouldn’t have tried to sail away from God in the first place, he wouldn’t have experienced what was surely a nauseating moment.  So let’s learn from that vomit.  Let’s try our best to obey God.



John 6:1-15

I have come to realize that largely, we don’t “just” do anything.  For instance, one day, I thought I was “just” going to the grocery store.  I was getting some milk when I noticed a handicapped woman arrive in a motorized scooter.  I offered to get her some milk and she accepted.  We started talking and she shared personal problems with me.  I listened and said encouraging words.  She did most of the talking and I mostly listened.  She needed someone to care about her and that day it was me.  When we parted, I told her I would pray for her and I did.

You’ve surely heard about Jesus’ miracles in the Bible.  One day, thousands were following Jesus.  There was a boy there that might have thought before he left, “I’ll just bring five little loaves and a couple of little fish.”  You probably know that Jesus ended up using the boy’s loaves and fish to feed all of those people.  There was even some left over!

The next time you think you’ll “just” go grocery shopping, mow the yard, etc., think twice.  It could be that your seemingly insignificant activity is suddenly significant.