Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you

               weeping? Whom do you seek?” Supposing

               him to be the gardener, she said to him,

               “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell

               me where you have laid him, and I will

               take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

               She turned and said to him in Hebrew,

               “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus

               said to her, “Do not hold me, for I have

               not yet ascended to the Father; but go to

               my brethren and say to them, I am ascend-

                ing to my Father and your Father, to my

               God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went

               and said to the disciples, I have seen

                the Lord ;....

                                               John 20:15-18a


          Every person who has had an encounter with Jesus alive

          from the dead feels a pressure on their heart to tell



                    “I have seen the Lord,”


          They may not feel at liberty to talk about all the ins

          and outs of what they saw, but they will testify to

          Jesus with a certainty and with a confidence they never

          had before.


          Mary Magdalene had to tell the disciples that Jesus

          was alive...weird and confusing as it might sound when

          you try to talk about it. And soon the disciples were

          driven by the same inner pressure to tell people what

          they had seen with their eyes and had touched with

          their hands. The crucified Jesus, whom they had

          watched die, was walking around in a new kind of body

          more alive than they had ever seen him. In time this

          was to become the blazing obsession of their lives.


         But what happens to people who have encountered the

         risen Lord and spoken of it boldly to others but then,

         after a while, the zeal cools down and they don’t

         talk about it much any more?


When this resurrection light within us finds no way

         to express itself, it begins to die. It’s either going to

         be the driving passion of our lives or it’s going to turn to

         stone within us. When Jesus, alive from the dead, ceases

         to be the well-spring of our whole life then our vision of him

         fades and becomes a negative thing...

                               like a pain,

                               a guilt weighing down the heart.       


         Shortly after the resurrection Peter and the disciples

         went back to Galilee and started fishing again.

         They were being drawn back to their old life...they

         were already in danger of losing their vision. So

         Jesus came to them to renew the vision of the re-

         surrection before it faded away....


               Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood

               on the beach; yet the disciples did not

               know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to

               them, “Children, have you any fish?”

               They answered him, “No.” He said to

               them, “Cast the net on the right side

               of the boat, and you will find some.”

               So they cast it, and now they were not

               able to haul it in, for the quantity

               of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved

               said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”....      

                                                      John 21:4-7a


         He was calling them back to the real fishing for human

         souls...back to the vision they were beginning to lose.


         They bring their catch to land. Jesus serves them

         breakfast, and after breakfast he says to Peter,


              “Simon, son of John, do you love me more

               than these fish?”


              “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.”


              “Feed my lambs.  Give them living bread,

                            talk to them,

                            tell them about me.

               Peter, if you’re going to keep the vision

               you’ re going to have to keep following me,

               feeding my lambs, tending my sheep. Come

               on, Peter, follow me!”


         Peter answered that call and he never again went back

         to his fishing. He spent the rest of his life, until

         the day of his own crucifixion, fishing for the souls

         of men...telling people about Jesus crucified and

         risen.  And his zeal stayed with him right up to the



         And what happens to us when we meet the resurrected

         Christ, spend a few years telling the world about him,

         and then cool?


               “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea

               write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful

               and true witness, the beginning of God’s



               I know your works: you are neither cold nor

               hot. Would that you were cold or not! So,

               because you are lukewarm, and neither cold

               nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.

               For you say, I am rich, I have prospered,

               and I need nothing; not knowing that

                you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind,

               and naked. Therefore I counsel you to

               buy from me gold refined by fire, that

               you may be rich, and white garments to

               clothe you and to keep the shame of your

               nakedness from being seen, and salve to

               anoint your eyes, that you may see.

               Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten;

               so be zealous and repent, Behold, I

               stand at the door and knock; if any one

               hears my voice and opens the door, I

               will come in to him and eat with him,

               and he with me.... "


                               Revelation 3:14-20


         This is not a message to people who have never met



              “Behold I stand at the door and knock,”


         is a message to people who have met him and known him

         but have turned away...they’ve become distracted,

                                              they’ve shut the door, and

         don’t even know it.

         We don’t think of ourselves as people who have shut

         the door on the Lamb of God. We don’t consider our-

          selves lukewarm. But we’re a lot more comfortable

         and settled in our ways than in those early days when

         we first started walking with Jesus. With our actions

         we are saying,


               “I am rich, I have prospered and I need



         not knowing how wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and

         naked we are.


         Today we’re not standing at the empty tomb waiting

         to meet Jesus alive from the dead...that happened for

         most of us a long time ago. We’re out on the sea of

         Galilee going fishing...we’ve shuffled our way back

         to our old life.


                   Our need is not a first-time vision of

                        the resurrection.


                   Our need is:

                Gold refined by fire that we may be rich.

                White garments to clothe us and keep the

                shame of our nakedness from being seen.

                Salve to anoint our eyes that we may see.

                Our need is to get back our zeal before we

                    lose it forever.



              “Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold

              refined by fire that you may be rich.”


         Gold refined by fire is the Kingdom.  We need to get

         back to Kingdom life, which always involves,


              — the pain of refining fire,

              — the pain of repentance,

              — the pain of casting off the old life again

                                                                  and again,

             — the pain of trial,        

             — the pain of persecution,

             — the pain of being a speckled bird in this world.


         The same Jesus who stood on the shore of Galilee, alive

         from the dead, and called the disciples back to their

         senses, is calling us to leave our lukewarm stupor and

         get from him that fire-cleansed gold of a life that is

         lived 24 hours a day in the Kingdom of Heaven.


              Our Father who art in heaven,

              Hallowed be thy name.

              Thy kingdom come,

                                ---- to us now.


              “I counsel you to buy from me white garments

                to clothe you and to keep the shame of your

                nakedness from being seen.”


         The white garment of his righteousness,

                                        his nature,

                                        his blood,

                                        his spirit,

                                        his mercy.


               “You are naked,” he says to us. “And

               you will be ashamed of your nakedness

               when you stand before the Throne unless

               you’re clothed in me. Come back

               to me.”


         Who of us can honestly say that our daily life has

         been clothed in the Spirit of the Lord?


               Our home life,

                      work life,

                      business life,

                      thought life,

               our attitudes,

        as we walk among people and deal with problems.


               Lord, give us those white garments!

               He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness

               for his name's sake.        


               “I counsel you to buy from me salve to

               anoint your eyes that you may see.” — Vision


               “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they

               shall see God.”

 see God as he is and to see the world

         as it is comes to those whose hearts continue to

         let go of the world and fix them on Jesus only.


         He holds out the salve to us and asks us,


              “Do you really want me to open your eyes?

               Are you willing to walk in the light that

               I give you? Are you willing to pay the

               price of being able to see God as he is?

               And the world as it is?


               Then draw near and I will open your eyes.”     


         The reason we have lost our zeal is very simple. We

         shut Jesus out while we set about getting ourselves

         comfortable. Our minds and our mouths may be full of

         “Christian principles,” but we have shut Jesus out.


         So Jesus is knocking at the door and what we have to

         do is open it and welcome him back into our lives.


              “Behold, I stand at the door and knock;

               if any one hears my voice and opens the

               door, I will come in to him and eat with

                him, and he with me.”

                                                      Revelation 3:20


         He’s knocking at the door we have closed, And the word

         of his Spirit to each of us now is: Open it.


                                        Open it.


                  “If any one hears my voice and opens the

                  door, I will come in to him and eat with

                  him and he with me.


                 “I will give her gold refined by fire that

                  she may be rich.


                “I will give him white garments to clothe

                 him and keep the shame of his nakedness

                 from being seen.        


                “I will anoint her eyes with salve that

                 she may see.


                  “Those whom I love,

                   Those whom I love , I reprove and chasten

                   so be zealous and repent.”


         If opening the door means falling on our knees, God

         help us to fall on our knees.


         If opening the door means coming to an altar crying

         for mercy, God help us to do it.


         If opening the door means throwing away all pride

         and self-consciousness, God help us to do it.



         God help us to do whatever we have to do to open the

         door. . . .


                           ....Let’s open it now!


                           ....Let’s open it now!