What Does it Mean to Believe in the
Part 3: Call
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John 21:15-18, 19b-20a, 21-22
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said
to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him,
‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of
John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know
that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to
him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter
felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love
me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know
that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep…. After this
he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following
them… When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what
about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until
I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’
What Does it
• Emotional reaction
• What’s the setting?
• Who are the characters?
• How would you
• What happened
• What scriptural
references do you pick
• It is possible to believe in the
fact of the Resurrection
without naivety, bad faith, or
• It depends on your parti pris
• Resurrection as
transformational / existential
• Suffering “reveals” the
meaninglessness of life
• In the crucifixion, God experienced the
meaninglessness of life from the
• The paradox of the Cross
• Resurrection and vindication
What is the
Meaning of the
“Meaning of Life”?
What levels of experience and
reality would “meaning” have to tap
to be adequate?
The Nature of
• Knowledge = justified true
• Deductive and inductive proof
• What would constitute adequacy
in the context of a belief system?
• In April a joint report by Mission Australia
and the Black Dog Institute found nearly
one in four Australian teenagers met the
criteria for having a "probable serious
mental illness" — a 20 per cent increase
from five years ago.
• Is anxiety the same thing as, or related to,
the sense of meaninglessness?
The Influence of
• Do you think we live in an
• What makes it seem
• Why is it anxious?
The Death of the
• Does the collapse in meta-
narratives (e.g. progress,
communism) lead to greater
• Does it have something to do with
greater consumer choice?
• Public / curated nature of life in
the age of social media?
• Too much exposure to bad
Am I Going To Be
• How do you answer this –
given that on average you’re
no more than 5 years away
from something terrible
happening to you or someone
• What does it mean to be “OK”
in that context?
• Neurologist & psychologist
• Holocaust survivor
• Man’s Search for Meaning
• Existentialist psychology,
focussed on the centrality of
finding meaning in one’s life.
What man actually needs is not a
tensionless state but rather the
striving and struggling for a worthwhile
goal, a freely chosen task. What he
needs is not the discharge of tension
at any cost but the call of a potential
meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him -
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for
• It doesn’t seem to have an
ethical framework built in
• Could you find meaning in
doing bad things just as much
as good things?
• Too human centred?
Meaning is something we
defiantly wave at the univers
“Ultimate meaning necessarily exceeds and surpasses the finite
intellectual capacities of man... What is demanded of man is not,
as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the
meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp
its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms. Logos is deeper
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Trust and Resurrection
• The Resurrection enacts God’s ultimate trust-
• Everything is, fundamentally, going to be OK
• But not in a way that doesn’t involve us
.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon
son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt
hurt because he said to him the third
time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to
him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you
know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him,
‘Feed my sheep…. After this he said to
him, ‘Follow me.’ John 20:17,19b
Call – Joining the Dots
• Life calls you to adventure
• Not just to any old meaning, but to
realise the meaning held by the
universe as a whole
• There is one who means something
by the universe, and part of that
meaning is our participation
• Does life have a meaning?
• Are you ready for the
adventure of trusting yourself
to that meaning?
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.
Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage;
hold fast that which is good;
render to no one evil for evil;
strengthen the faint-hearted;
support the weak;
help the afflicted;
honour all people;
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit
And the blessing of God, the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit be amongst us and remain with us ever