Summary: In spite of our call to follow Jesus, in spite of the mountain top experiences we often fail and find ourselves doubting our usefulness to God. Jesus’ first and last command is simply to "Follow Me".
Following Or Falling In The Footsteps Of Jesus
(This message was preached the first Sunday following a two week tour of Israel in October of 2001. Along with the message a PowerPoint presentation interspersed with pictures of locations referred to in the message was used. For information on the PowerPoint presentation please email the author.)
Text: John 21:1-16 and various
"Later Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas,…Nathanael, James and John… and two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Friends, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get plenty of fish!” So they did, and they couldn’t draw in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and swam ashore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only out about three hundred feet. When they got there, they saw that a charcoal fire was burning and fish were frying over it, and there was bread. “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. And no one dared ask him if he really was the Lord because they were sure of it. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead. After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me…”
It started out on the shores of Galilee. He was a business man and a hard worker. He typically worked the night shift as all fishermen did. It was while he was cleaning his nets following a night of fishing that he first heard the call…
The Lord had performed a miracle in Peter’s life and as a result Peter had given his life to Jesus. That’s when Jesus asked Peter to “Follow Me”.
It wasn’t an easy decision, it never is – Peter had just seen the greatest business success of his lifetime, and how he was being asked to leave it all behind and follow Jesus – who knows where, to focus on people (something Peter did not do very well) instead of fish.
[He made Jesus a part of his personal life]
Mark tells us that the first thing Peter did was take Jesus home!
(Mark 1:21,29-31)“Jesus and his companions went to the town of Capernaum, and every Sabbath day he went into the synagogue and taught the people.. After Jesus and his disciples left the synagogue, they went over to Simon and Andrew’s home, and James and John were with them. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. He went to her bedside, and as he took her by the hand and helped her to sit up, the fever suddenly left…”
Mark chapter five tells us that not only was Peter’s mother-in-law healed, but the leader of the synagogue, Jairus’ daughter was raised from the dead while they stayed in Capernaum. Many were healed of disease while others were freed from the demons that possessed them as Jesus sat in that very sunagogue.
[He took his call from God seriously]
Peter took the call of Jesus seriously. He willingly left everything behind to follow the Lord. Peter shared in Mark ten, “We’ve given up everything to follow you,”
[He stood up for who Jesus really was]
Peter was with Jesus when they were asked who they really thought Jesus was…Many others misunderstood Jesus and assumed He was just another prophet or rabbi, but Peter’s bold proclamation was” “You are the Messiah.” (Mark 8:29)
It was Peter, along with James and John, who walked up the steep slope of Mt. Tabor and stood as Jesus was transfigured before them and they say Him in all of His glory
(Mark 9:2-4)As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance changed, and his clothing became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly process could ever make it. Then Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.