Summary: This sermon explores the need to follow God’s lead and not worry about what others think. I do this through the lense of Simon Peter. It also encoureges people to share their faith in a simple manner in their everyday life.
Simon Peter poked the last bite of fish into his mouth; these were miracle fish, provided by the Master Himself. His mind seemed to whirling trying to process the events of the past couple of weeks. It started with the triumphal entry. Peter had thrilled that everyone seemed to be ready to finally make Jesus king. Peter had wholeheartedly joined in the hosannas as Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, the Capitol City of Israel. His mind zoomed forward to that Thursday night when he and the other disciples shared the Passover with their friend and master, Jesus. How sure of himself he had been when he had promised to follow Jesus even to the death. Yet when it seemed everyone was against Jesus he had denied even knowing Him. Then there was the terrible execution and the miraculous resurrection. Now Jesus was back with him and had forgiven him—but did the King of the universe still want such a week man as he to be one of the disciples? Just then his thoughts were interrupted by the voice of Jesus.
John 21:15-17—With these questions Jesus publicly established the genuine repentance of Peter and made it clear that He had restored Peter to his place as a disciple. He also set up the requirement for service—Do you love Me? Although you may possess every other qualification for service, without love for Jesus in your heart all your work will end up being failure.
John 21:18, 19—Jesus explained that the road for Peter would not be all roses. He would have other times when if he kept looking to see what others did he would fail. But Peter had been humbled; he realized that he would have to rely on Jesus for strength to remain faithful to the end. When this prophecy was fulfilled and Peter was being prepared to me executed through crucifixion Peter felt it was too great an honor to share in the manner of his Lord’s death so he asked that he might be crucified upside down.
John 21:20-22—Peter had praised Jesus when it was popular to do so. He had sworn allegiance to Him from the safety of a supportive crowd. But when he got into a hostile crowd he had withered in the pressure and denied Jesus. Now when Jesus told him how he would die, Peter again slipped into worrying about the crowd. He wanted to know what kind of death John would suffer. But Jesus told him, "Don’t worry about what I choose to do with him; your concern should be following me." Like Peter, many of us want to base our service to Jesus on what others do. We sing songs and praise Jesus when were in church or around Christian friends because it’s the in thing to do but when the others aren’t showing devotion to Christ we keep silent. We have an opportunity to invite someone to church or share a spiritual thought with them but choose not to because we don’t think they’d accept. Jesus’ words are still applicable today, "What is that to you? You follow me."
Acts 1:7, 8—Just a little later Jesus commissioned His followers to be witnesses to the world for Him. That includes us. God has uniquely gifted each of us in different ways to be witnesses for Him. We are to serve Him without watching to see how others will respond for when we choose our actions based upon popular opinion we will accomplish nothing worthwhile.