Chapter seven (revised): the Jerusalem Fish Gate Mystery revealed
John 21:1-11 Breakfast by the Sea
In this passage, the resurrected Jesus showed Himself the third time to the disciples. The disciples led by Peter went fishing at the Sea of Tiberius whole night and caught nothing. Jesus came and asked them to cast the net on the right side of the boat, and they did, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. This was one happy occasion. When Jesus dealt with fish He made miracles happened.
However, almost every Biblical mention of the Jerusalem Fish Gate involved either corruption of the people; or the aftermath of it. 2 Chronicles 33:14 recorded how King Manasseh repented (from idolatry), cleansed the city from false religion, and built a wall outside the City of David as far as the entrance of the Fish Gate. In Nehemiah 3:3 the sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. In Zephaniah 1:10 God pronounced His judgment in the future and would start from the Fish Gate: “And there shall be on that day,” says the LORD, “The sound of a mournful cry from the Fish Gate…”
Today Jack puzzled over the light and salt business of a Christian. He tried to figure out how to apply Jesus’ teaching and command. When he read about the Jerusalem Fish Gate, he began to understand the mystery revealed. This gate depicts the responsibility of spiritual leaders for the market place. When a society becomes corrupt and godless it shows up in the places of worship and in the business world. Jesus told a Samaritan woman at the Jacob well that God is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. He also promised to the religious crowds in Jerusalem that out of these worshippers will gush forth a fountain of living water. (John 4:14, 23; 7:38)
Jesus not only shepherded His sheep, He brought them to green pastures with clear water. He is a provider and sustainer of life on this earth and for eternity. Light and salt aptly described what He had given to the disciples and the world. Jesus also said that He would make His disciples into fishers of men, for the kingdom of God. When Jesus spoke of disciples being the salt and the light for this world, He was not giving them an impossible task. He was pointing them to be Jesus-focus, the source of all good things. Even the Fish Gate could become a blessed place!
Spiritually, Jack was learning slowly while daily worshipping God and praying, without his own conscious knowledge. In his personal journal he recorded how he spent time reading King David’s Psalm 51 and took note of what cured David’s sin (and aging) problem. He wrote: “Washing from the Lord’s Good News (hear joy and gladness), confessions to God (not kept silent; silence results in groaning and groaning results in bones growing old) cured David.” He further resolved: “My daily actions: Read the Word, hear of the Good News of Jesus, confessing and praying to God.”
The following record is taken from Jack’s Biblical living journal, showing how he was relying much on his mind instead of the Holy Spirit to understand the Scripture. However, the Spirit led him to see a glimpse of light at the end.
Journal Day seven: be the salt of the earth and be a man in light
“You are the salt of the earth…” (Matthew 5:13)
I still cannot figure out much about the Christians being the salt of the earth other than salt being traditionally used as seasoning and preservative, having a number of culinary and therapeutic effects. Nowadays people are avoiding salt in fear of putting too much pressure on the heart. Salt are still hidden in a lot of foodstuff anyway. Does this mean we are needed in meeting the health and nutritious requirements in a variety of essential but unobtrusive ways? On the other hand, no matter how one tries to avoid salt, one just needs it to survive. Similarly the society needs Christians to survive. Incidentally food with a pinch of salt is always tastier. Life with Christians around should be more interesting too!
“You are the light of the world…let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Jesus so commanded those who followed and believed in Him (Matthew 5:14-16).
Jesus spoke about Himself: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12) In John 1:4, this is written about Jesus, “in Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” 1 John 5:11 further testified that “and this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
Light is associated with life. The life here refers to that which Jesus gives to His believers. When we have His life, we have His light. The light can shine before men. People can see how Jesus’ life shines through us.
It is important to take note that people in the world are not necessarily drawn towards the light. Jesus said this of them: “and this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) Jesus further pointed out that “for everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed”. (John 3:20)
However, Jesus commanded His believers to let their light/life (in the form of good works) shine before men. Why? There are two reasons:
1. He who does the truth comes to the light and he too will be saved. (John 3:21)
2. People who see and realize the good works are done in the name of Jesus will give glory to God. (Matthew 5:16)
My application: it is indeed amazing how fast God answers a prayer. Yesterday I wrote that I prayed for courage to stand up for my faith, and this morning I had to reply a friend about the difference between a believer and a member of a religious institution (e.g. a church, a temple, whatever.) A Christian believer has to meet the requirement of Romans 10:9-10 which I quote as follows:
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Therefore I told the friend boldly and truthfully that by becoming a church member will not automatically qualify anyone for heaven citizenship. A church that does not preach about Jesus and His salvation is not guiding people to heaven. Jesus Himself warned the Pharisees and scribes that they were in fact leading their converts to hell. (Matthew 23:13, 15)
As for today’s application, the Amplified Bible detailed the good works that Jesus referred to which include moral excellence, praiseworthy, noble and good deeds, that others can see and recognize and honor and praise and glorify out Father (God) who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Who can ever perform such good deeds? Only Jesus can. That is why I must always bear in mind that it is Jesus in me that will shine and not me. What a relief!