Dean Bruer - Things Jesus Brought to the Meeting - Johannesburg, South Africa - 2013

I sure appreciate being here with you this morning, and for your spirit and the bread you shared. Fellowship with brethren is beneficial, but fellowship with God is essential.  


In John 20, we read of a meeting Jesus had with His disciples. Verse 19, “Then the same day at the evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, 'Peace be unto you.'” Verse 20, “And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”


The disciples were gathered together, and a great difference came when Jesus came into their midst. As we are gathered here, it is wonderful the great difference that comes when Jesus comes here. Jesus is the essence. I was thinking a little about what Jesus brought to that meeting that day; what made it a wonderful meeting to them that day. So often we wonder what can we bring to a meeting; what will be a help. We can think a little about the four things Jesus brought to this meeting that helped to make it such a wonderful meeting.

The first thing that Jesus brought was peace. Jesus came and “stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, 'Peace be unto you.'” This is so important that He repeated it again in verse 21 when He said, “Peace be unto you.” Peace is the first and foremost thing we need to bring to a meeting. There had been many fears and apprehensions in their minds; they knew not what the future was holding for them; “the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews.” In spite of their fears and apprehensions, when Jesus came into their midst, He brought peace. 


This is true for all of us. Even when we have fears and doubts, it is wonderful if we could still bring peace to the meeting. I don’t know of anyone who could say they had a harder week than Jesus had had. There had been the betrayal, the denial, false accusations, the mocking during the trial, He had been spat upon, flogged, He had been rejected by the crowd, hit in the face, the nails in His hands and feet, the wound to His side. After the resurrection, when Jesus appeared in the midst of His disciples, He brought peace. So often, it happens that a little something happens during the week and we’re disappointed in ourselves, it is wonderful if we can have peace to share. First and foremost, we need to bring peace. 


The second thing Jesus brought to this meeting is victory. Jesus was there in their midst because of victory; and we all are here because of victory or a measure of victory. Jesus showed them His hands, then His side and this must have been touching. First they would take a glimpse at His hands, but later, they would take a good look at His side. These marks of death would be evidence of the risen, living Christ.


So it is today, the marks of death to self that give evidence of being risen with Christ. When we visit someone who had been operated on, they show us the wound that was made to help them. So it was with Jesus. They saw the nail-pierced hands, and His spear-pierced side and they would have realized that Jesus had shed His blood and He had shed it for me.  When we consider the hands and side of Jesus and how He was wounded for our sake, we are humbled. We can often relate to the weaknesses and failures of another, but when we bring victory to the meeting, this is what uplifts and inspires. Our weaknesses and failures may inspire our adversary, but when we bring victory, it will inspire the brethren. 


The third thing that Jesus brought and shared was example.

In verse 21, Jesus said, “…as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” This is a very special little message to us who are in the ministry. Jesus had given them an example and then they would follow it. Jesus brought an example to the meeting; a Godly and Christ-like example. Jesus was not asking anything of them, but that He had already done it. Coming to this meeting, Jesus would never ask anyone anything He wasn’t doing or willing to do Himself, and so we appreciate the example of our Lord and our Master.


The fourth thing Jesus brought to this meeting was the Spirit.

Verse 22, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost.'” His breathing of the Spirit would be unseen, but it would have a definite effect. Although the Spirit is unseen, we feel it. The disciples could leave that meeting with more of the Spirit than what they had when they came there. In verse 25, we read of the testimony of this meeting; the result of this meeting.


Thomas wasn’t at this meeting, and those who were there were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord.” When the meeting was over, I am sure they were rejoicing; they were thrilled with this experience, and their testimony was “We have seen the Lord.” It is wonderful when we can leave a meeting and have this feeling, this testimony that “We have seen the Lord;” we have been in His presence and we believe that He is risen. I am sure they were glad to see each other, but they did not go away from there saying we saw Peter; but they said, “We have seen the Lord.”


If we can try to bring peace in spite of whatever, and if we can bring victory and if we can seek to bring the Spirit, we can see the Jesus and we can continue to have this testimony that “We have seen the Lord.” Earlier in this chapter, Jesus was having another little meeting.  


In verse 11 at the sepulcher was Mary. She wept. She had found the tomb open, she looked into it and saw two angels sitting there but the Lord wasn't there.  Verse 13, “And they say unto her, 'Woman, why weepest thou?' She saith unto them, 'Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.'” Verse 14, “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.” 


Verse 15, “Jesus saith unto her, 'Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?' She supposing that Him to be the gardener, saith unto Him, 'Sir, if Thou have borne Him hence, tell me where Thou have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Verse 16, “Jesus saith unto her, 'Mary.' She turned herself, and saith unto Him, 'Rabboni;' which is to say, 'Master.'” Or even, my Master. 


Here in the garden of the resurrection, we have a weeping soul seeking Jesus. She had this feeling within her that she wanted Jesus. It wasn’t enough that Jesus had been crucified, whom she had followed. Joseph of Aramathea had buried Jesus, and now early the morning of the first day of the week, she found the grave empty. The door opened and the body is gone. Now, where is Jesus? Jesus spoke her, but she didn’t recognise Jesus at first. There she was with tears running down her cheeks and eyes stained with tears, asking to have Jesus. Give Him to me, and I will take Him.


I wonder if it didn’t well up in the heart of Jesus that it was all worth it. Because of the love, the desire, and adoration of this weeping soul saying, "I will take Jesus. Even if nobody else wants Jesus, I will take Jesus. The Romans and the Jews did not want Jesus, but I will take Jesus."


A few days ago, the streets of Jerusalem were echoing when the crowd saying, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.” In the judgment hall, there were mockery and false accusation; and there too those words echoed, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him,” and “Release unto us, Barrabas.” All those words of rejection, but now in the garden of the resurrection a seeking, weeping soul saying, “I will take Jesus.” 


Jesus would have felt it was worth it all. It was worth leaving the glory of Heaven; coming down to this earth; growing up as a child; it was worth the experiences of a teenager; the time He was working as a carpenter; leaving home and going into the ministry; telling the gospel; it was worth the rejection; the crucifixion; it was worth it all because one seeking soul was willing to have Him. Because of our love, our adoration and our desire, Jesus could feel today that it was worth it all. 


I remember my first year in this ministry, and we were working a mission in a certain place. After some months, my companion gave the opportunity for some to express their desire. A woman did, with tears rolling down her cheeks. I remember this thought welled up within me – it was worth it all. What I left behind wasn’t even in comparison with what Jesus had left behind.


In John 21 was another wonderful meeting with the risen Christ. The disciples were at the sea of Tiberias. Peter went fishing and some others went with him. I don’t condemn what Peter did, as I’m a little less likely now than what I used to be. In Matthew 26:32 Jesus said that “…after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” In Matthew 28:7, the angel at the grave said unto the women, “And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him. Lo, I have told you.” 


And verse 10, “Then said Jesus unto them, 'Be not afraid. Go tell thy brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.'” They went to Galilee, because they did what Jesus said; and they wanted to see Jesus so they made the journey to Galilee. Most of Jesus’ appearances after the resurrection were around Jerusalem, and now He appeared in Galilee. 


It says in I Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus “…was seen of above five hundred brethren at once.” Peter and the other disciples knew the brethren were coming, and they were coming by their hundreds and it was wonderful. But now, how to feed them? In a natural sense, they felt the need to do some preparation for feeding all of them. They went fishing and they weren’t catching anything. It is a beautiful study of the miracles that Jesus repeated. Twice He fed great multitude by multiplying the bread. Convention is a repeated miracle; the Lord fed them once and He fed them again.


Luke 5:5, “We have toiled all night, and we have nothing to share.” Their obedience to Jesus led to a full net, a full boat that could overflow into a fellow boat and they could share with others. Obedience to Jesus brings a full heart; a full life with an overflow we can share with others. Jesus had done this before, and now He was going to do the same again. John 21:3 “…that night they caught nothing.” Verse 5, “Then said Jesus unto them, 'Children, have ye any meat?' They answered him, 'No.'” In verse 6, Jesus gave them further instruction, and as they followed that “they were not able to draw the net for the multitude of fishes.” 


In verse 7, Simon Peter just wanted to be nearer Jesus and he “did cast himself into the sea.” In verse 9 when they had come to land, where Jesus were “…they saw a fire with coals, and fish laid thereon, and bread.” Verse 10, “Jesus said, 'Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.'” It was already prepared when they got there. Jesus was the first one preparing and prepared for the meeting. He had bread there and fish on the fire. The fire gives light and warmth in the early hours of the morning. They were all gathering there around the fire, and I appreciate that Jesus fed them there. 


If you could just try and picture Jesus taking a piece of that bread and then reaching out to Peter, and giving it to Peter. First Peter would see the bread; then he would see the hand; and then he would see the nail prints and he would realize the cost. This bread is precious bread; it cost my Master’s life and my Master’s blood. He would look at the face of Jesus, and into His face and he would see the heart of Jesus and he would be more thankful.


When I went first into the ministry, I received a letter from a woman I didn’t know and have never met. I think she just wanted to encourage this young servant. I responded to it, and received a few more over the years. The years passed, and then I was in another state in the United States, and we were travelling and we came to the town of this old sister. I told the workers with me about these letters and they asked if I would like to see her. 'Yes,' I said, so we found her house. I knocked on the door, and then this woman opened the door. She extended a gnarled, withered hand. I looked at the other hand and it was the same. Then this thought shook me: this is the hand that wrote these letters to you; that shared these thoughts of encouragement with you; this is the effort she put forth in giving you that bread.


So this just helps us a little to understand the cost for the Lord to share this bread with us. Jesus was anxious for Peter to share of this bread with others. In verse 15, He asked him, “…lovest thou Me more than these?" He saith to him, "Yea Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee." He saith to him, "Feed My lambs.” Then Jesus asked Peter that question again and again. Such an important question. Peter could prove his love for Jesus by feeding the lambs and feeding the sheep.


First of all, Jesus gave him something to eat and then Jesus gave him something to do. This would give Peter the opportunity to manifest his love for Jesus. Jesus was so concerned about what Peter loved the most. This is such a vital, important question that Jesus asked him that more than once. And this question comes to us again and again. What do we love more than anything, and anyone else.


If a father’s son is to marry a lady, and this father is not sure if this lady loves his son more than anyone else, he wouldn’t be too happy. Our love for the Lord should be above our love for anything and anyone else.  


In Acts, we read of another wonderful meeting Jesus was at after the resurrection. He now turned back to Jerusalem. Verse 8, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Verse 9, “And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”

Verse 10, “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold men stood by them clothed in white apparel;” Verse 11, “Which also said, 'Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.'” When Jesus left His disciples on the earth, He left them looking up. Their thoughts were heaven–ward. This is what they were looking for; this is what they were waiting for – the return of Christ.