Summary: After the resurrection 1. You have been chosen, 2. You have been equipped, 3. You have been given an assignment. .
“Every Member a Minister”
April 15, 2010
Read John 21
What a busy month spiritually it has been. We started with Palm Sunday, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem; then we celebrated the Lord’s Supper with Jesus on Thursday. Following that was the night of agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, with Jesus’ arrest early Friday morning. To them it was still Thursday, but nevertheless Jesus was taken in custody, tried in a phony, illegal, kangaroo court, beaten half to death and then crucified.
What a gloomy Saturday it must have been while Jesus was in the grave – but then - Resurrection Morning! What an eventful day. It kind of slowly grew from disbelief to overwhelming joy. But Jesus was alive! And the Bible tells us that He showed Himself alive with many infallible truths.
“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
How cool is that! For over a month Jesus appeared to them, spoke with them, taught them, encouraged them. But why? Why do you think He remained on earth for forty days before His ascension into heaven? Certainly to fulfill prophecy – but was there another reason? I think there was. I think it was to make ministers of His disciples.
What was the first thing Peter did post Resurrection? Understand that he had followed Jesus around for three years and been a part of His ministry. Understand that he had seen miracle after miracle. Understand that he had already seen the resurrected Jesus twice. But what did He do? He went back to fishing for a living. And there Jesus found him by the shores of Galilee. When Peter realized it was Jesus there on the shore – he jumped out of the boat and swam to shore. In the movie, Forest Gump, they tried to capture that moment when Forest jumped out of the boat to meet Lt. Dan – but nothing comes close to the real thing. Peter must have been so excited to see his beloved Leader! But Jesus questions that love. Listen again, to the conversation between them.
“After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"
"Yes, Master, you know I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
He then asked a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
"Yes, Master, you know I love you."
Jesus said, "Shepherd my sheep."
Then he said it a third time: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, "Do you love me?" so he answered, "Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I'm telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you'll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don't want to go." He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, "Follow me."
This is Peter’s call to preach. This is Peter’s call to change his life. This is Peter’s mission statement. “Feed my sheep”. And Peter was forever changed by it. He left his boat; he left his fishing; he left what he had been doing all his life -to live a life of obedience to Jesus. He gave his life feeding Jesus’ sheep and he died for the calling - just as Jesus had foretold.
I want you to know that, 1. You have been chosen and called by Jesus.
Jesus said, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
I believe Jesus says that to us today. Our ‘food’, our ‘strength’, our ‘nourishment’ is to do the will of Him who sent us – and to finish HIS work. We are called to go and finish what He began. We are called to be His hands, His voice, and His heart in our world today.
But let’s face it. We are like Peter. Our fleshly desire is to go back to the familiar and the well known. We want to be where it is comfortable and safe. A.W. Tozer says,
“The devil’s master strategy for us Christians is not to kill us physically but to destroy our power to wage spiritual warfare. And how well he has succeeded. The average Christian these days is a harmless enough thing. He is a child wearing with considerable self-consciousness the harness of the warrior; he is a sick eaglet that can never mount up with wings; he is a spent pilgrim who has given up the journey and sits with a waxy smile trying to get what pleasure he can from sniffing the wilted flowers he has plucked along the way.