Advertisers, and authors, comics and speech writers all understand the power of three. The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in three are funnier, more satisfying or more effective than any other number. As a result, readers and audiences are more likely to remember things they hear in threes. Long before modern day writers understood this rule, God understood it. In fact God employed this rule to help us every day. Allow me explain.
When three elements are brought together whether they are three words, phrases, lines, sentences, stories or three entire books they are known as a triad. The use of three helps us to remember the stories, for example we have the stories of the Three Musketeers, the Three Little Pigs and the Three Blind Mice.
The Latin phrase, to describe this is “omne trium perfectum,” which means: everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete. The importance of three can be seen throughout the Bible. To begin with we have the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We know that Jesus rose on the 3rd day. Peter denied Christ three times. Jesus asked Peter three times “do you love me?” There were three crosses on Calvary.
This principle of three is employed many other times in the Bible. Since we are still in the Easter Season, I wanted to draw our focus today to three of Jesus’ appearances after His resurrection. In this triad of appearances we can find three messages to help us in our daily lives.
The first story I invite you to consider comes to us from John 20:1-18. In this story we see Mary of Magdala going to the tomb. Mary was filled with grief. Her Lord had been crucified and taken from her. But then Mary had her encounter with Jesus. Jesus said to her: “Woman, why are you weeping?” Jesus told her: “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Next, we are told that filled with joy: “Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.”
Here in this resurrection story, each of us is given the hope and joy of knowing that Jesus is alive and risen from the dead. I believe God allowed this story to unfold in this way so that by knowing this we too can turn to Jesus in our times of grief and sorrow and find peace.
Continuing on, we find the disciples filled with fear in John 20:19-31. They were gathered in the upper room with the door locked. They must have been discouraged with the events of the last few days. Their leader was gone. But then Jesus appears to them. And what does he say? He says “Peace be with you.”
In this second point of the triad we learn another important point. All of us will experience times of fear and discouragement in our life. When we experience these feelings we need to remember Jesus’ words of peace. God wants us to know who we should turn to during these times. It is only in His Son that we can find true peace. This story goes on and tells us: “But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” These words are our hope and source of comfort during the trials of life.
Finally in this third story of the trilogy John 21: 1-14, a very important message is revealed to us. Look what happed next: “Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast. And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.” What is the important message here? These disciples must have been hungry for the truth. They had been with Jesus for three years. He had died, and had been raised from the dead. There is no doubt that they must have been lost and confused. What did Jesus do? He fed them.
We will all have times of doubts and confusion in life. As we ponder the big questions of life and death what does God want us to know? In the third story He wants us to see that we should turn to Jesus to be fed. It is in Him alone that we can find our real nourishment. John 6:51 tells us this: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
To wrap up my point today we have three appearances to the Disciples and in these three stories we learn that during life when we experience grief, discouragement or hunger for the truth we must turn to one source and that source is the Son of God Jesus Christ. Through the use of these three stories God gives us the complete message that we can always turn to his Son.