Summary: Letting Jesus tell us how to run our life is hard but fruitful. Trust Him in all things. Fits all groups but targets men.
John 21:1-14 – Father’s Day Advice
Someone wrote these humorous words called, "The World According to Dad." These are words that most dads have said at some time or another to their children.
- This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.
- Bring back all the change.
- How should I know? Ask your mother.
- I’m not made out of money!
- When I was your age I walked 5 miles to and from school each day and it was uphill both ways.
- You are going and you will have fun!
- Who’s paying the bills around here, anyway?
- I wasn’t asleep. I was just resting my eyes.
- If you break your leg don’t come running to me.
- Don’t put your feet on the furniture. Your mother will kill you.
- Get down before you kill yourself. On second thought, go ahead.
- Quit playing with your food.
- Be quiet! Can’t you see I’m trying to think!
- Why? Because I said so!
- If you don’t quit that I’m going to call your mother.
- You better get that junk picked up before your mom gets home.
- Just wait till you have kids of your own.
Dads seem to give advice a fair amount, but do we take it well? Do we listen when someone tells us what to do or how to do it? Why are we so unteachable?
Today, Father’s Day, we will look at an interesting fishing story from John 21. As we wind down in our series on the words of Christ after the resurrection, today we will see how Jesus gives advice to a group of men. And perhaps, we will all get a glimpse of how to listen when Jesus speaks to us. Read v1-14.
This is the 7th appearance of Jesus after His resurrection, and v14 tells us the 3rd time appeared to the disciples as a group. The wording of v1 tells us that He not only just appeared, but He showed Himself. He showed who he was: His character, His love, His forgiveness. Jesus wants to show up in your life, and be more than a story – He wants to show Himself real to you.
Now, let’s picture what the disciples were thinking and feeling right about now. Jesus had risen from the dead, and had showed Himself. He had given them orders to make other disciples all around the world. But He obviously wasn’t with them 24 hours a day as He had been before His death. They probably felt a little lost. "Well, what do we do now? Where do we go from here?"
So they went back to what they knew, what they were familiar with, what they were comfortable with. Folks, in times of crisis or uncertainty, we all want to cling to safety nets. We all want to feel in control of our circumstances. We retreat into our safe places.
Another reason the 7 were out fishing was to earn a living again. While they were with Jesus, they survived on what people gave to Jesus’ ministry. Now that Jesus had gone, they had to support themselves and their families again. Fishing would do that.
Now, the desire to retreat when things got rough wasn’t totally wrong. The desire to eat and to provide for their families certainly wasn’t wrong. But these guys had been called not to fish for fish anymore, but for people. Jesus had given them a new purpose in life. They were not just running from uncertainty; they were running from obedience as well. They were called to trust Him for their emotional, physical and financial well-being.
Some of you today are running and hiding from what God wants for you. Maybe not a call to the ministry as the disciples got, but maybe so. Maybe your call refers to a ministry in this church or in town. Maybe your call involves some issue of faith or trust. Maybe your call refers to some issue in your life that you just don’t want to surrender. Whether you have good reasons or bad ones, Jesus is still asking you to step up to the plate and follow Him.
We can see a couple of threads of truth so far in this story. First of all, it’s wonderful to see Jesus show Himself to a bunch of disobedient witnesses. In v5, He calls them “children”. Not because they were child-like but childish. They were being immature. But Jesus showed up anyway. You know, as a pastor, I often struggle with this aspect. Loving people who should know better but don’t. Christians who are childish and immature. Yet we can see Jesus’ example: love them anyway.
But the second thought from this story so far is that running from Jesus’ call leads to frustration. V3 says they fished all night and caught nothing. These guys, most of them anyway, were experienced fishermen. To fish all night, throwing the nets into the water, tightening up the rope, drawing the net together, and pulling it up was hard work, and all the harder and annoying if there’s no fish in it.