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Summary: Simon Peter felt like a failure. On the last night of Jesus’ life on earth, Peter made an impossible commitment: “I will never run away and leave you.” But only hours later, Peter shouted, “I told you, I don’t even know him. Leave me alone!” Now, Christ h

John 21:1-19

“Breakfast with Jesus”

by: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN

Simon Peter felt like a failure.

On the last night of Jesus’ life on earth, Peter made an impossible commitment: “I will never run away and leave you.”

But only hours later, Peter shouted, “I told you, I don’t even know him. Leave me alone!”

Now, Christ had died, Christ had risen, but Peter understood none of this.

He was literally at the end of his rope.

What had the last 3 years been about anyway?

Imagine one of those scenes that, in a few short weeks, will be duplicated all over the United States.

Imagine a brilliant, sunny day in late spring.

Outdoors on a university football field, or maybe in a high school gym…

…folding chairs will be set up, row upon row.

Proud parents and family members will be stretching their necks to see.

Down front, will be the squirming graduates, in caps and gowns.

They will look like the very picture of scholarship.

Suddenly feeling self-conscious, the grinning graduates will march across the platform, receive their diplomas and return to sit with the rest of their classmates…

…these special people they’ve felt so close to, most of whom they will never see again.

At the punch bowl reception a few minutes later someone will walk up to the graduate and say, “congratulations!”

Then, suddenly, with tear filled eyes, they may say, “You know, you may not realize it now, but these years you’ve just completed are the best years of your life!”

The person doesn’t mean it to come across this way, but these are among the deadliest words one human being can say to another.

It’s like saying, “You may think you’re at the threshold of something new, but don’t fool yourself, kid, it’s all downhill from here.” (adapted from Carlos Wilton)

Peter may have been feeling something similar when, in our Scripture Lesson for this morning, he tells the other disciples, “I’m going out to fish.”

What a wild ride it had been, but that was in the past.

What was there to look forward to?

The best years were behind him.

What was there to do now, but to go back to his old life?

Perhaps in the back of his mind, he knew that one day, holding a grandchild on his knee, he would say with a wink, “Did I ever tell you about the time Jesus invited me, a fisherman, to follow Him?”

And then, a little voice would pipe up, “Oh, Granddad, you’ve only told me 100 times!!!”

But, thanks be to God, that wasn’t the way Peter’s life would unfold!!!

For with God, there is no sad ending…

…only fresh new adventures, beginnings, and calls for ministry!!!

The Christian life is anything, but boring or finished, ever!!!

It only gets better and better and better!!!

In our Gospel Lesson Peter and six of the other disciples fish all night, but nothing is caught in their nets.

It’s interesting that the disciples, professional fishermen who probably could have had their own fishing show, had it been the 21st Century, never catch a single fish without Jesus.

Not a perch.

Not a minnow.

Not a guppy!!!

Then, when morning comes some guy on the beach calls out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?’”

“No,’ they answered.”

“He said, ‘Throw your net on the other side of the boat and you will find some.’”

And, “When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.”

… “but even with so many the net was not torn.”

The disciples’ net is symbolic of the Church.

“…the net was not torn…”

This gives us a glimpse of how successful we, as Christian disciples, can be…

…This indicates what can happen if all of us individually and corporately would fish as Jesus directs!

Are we fishing as God directs?

If so, we will catch fish!!!

East Ridge United Methodist Church will grow…

…and much, much more importantly…

…people will come to know God!!!

Our journey and our calling is always just beginning!!!

And as we mature in our faith, our responsibilities grow!!!

When Peter and the other disciples had finished eating their breakfast with Jesus…

…Jesus takes Simon Peter away, I would imagine…

…away from the others, for as we see in verse 20, “Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them.”

They are probably walking slowly along the shore.

And Jesus asks the question that goes to the heart of everything: “do you love me?”

And the question is asked and answered three times.

And what each question gets in return is not a pat on the back, not a “There, there that’s alright then,” but a command.

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