Summary: Peter is excited that Jesus is alive but filled with guilt and goes back to his old way of life. Jesus isn't done with Peter yet and brings him back to his call to be a fisher of men. Do we think Jesus gives up on us when we fail or can we still be used
Series: Peter & Jesus
From Fisherman to Evangelist
April 23, 2017 LFC
Have you ever broken something very valuable of someone close to you? You tell them you’re sorry and they forgive you, tell you that it’s okay but yet you’re not real sure. Or maybe you just mess up a situation really bad and again you say you’re sorry. They say its okay and you hope it is. Or you betray someone’s trust or let them down in a key situation. You admit your mistake and they say that it’s okay.
They may or may not mean it. Even if they truly do mean that its okay or that forgiveness has been extended your still feel bad about it. Every time you see them or are around them you are reminded of the error or mistake that you made against them. In this it is just easier to avoid them. You do what you can to limit your contact with them. I’m sure that you have all had instances like that.
As we meet up with Peter and the rest of the disciples they may have some of these kinds of feelings about Jesus. A lot has happened to them in the past couple of weeks. They have gone through the events of the Holy Week. They experienced Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem. They watched as Jesus drove the merchants out of the temple. They sat and ate the last supper with Jesus. Peter and all of them pledged their allegiance to Jesus. They watched Judas betray Jesus, the ensuing trial and crucifixion. Jesus had risen and had appeared to them a couple of times.
Today’s scripture will be the third time that Jesus appears to them. Let’s read together from John 21:1-19.
Peter and his fellow fisherman, James and John along with Thomas and Nathanael are back out on the boats. Andrew seems to be missing for some reason. They have been absent from their boats for the past three years that they have been following Jesus.
Even though Jesus has risen and has appeared to them, they have gone back to what they know best and that is fishing. They followed Jesus and had a great run with him but things didn’t seem to turn out the way they thought. Even though Jesus has risen from the dead they appear to not really know what to do with themselves and so it is back to the boats.
I had a guy in our church in Indiana who sold insurance and investments. I think he was good at what he did but something happened in the office he worked for and so he decided he was going to do something else. He decided he was going to be a teacher. He began his quest to do just that but he could never quite pass the test to get his license. So then he wanted to become a state trooper. So he set out to do just that. He just couldn’t ever get over the hump to become a cop. I’m not quite sure what the problem there was but after a lot of searching he returned to the profession he knew and one that he had success in. He is now selling insurance and investments and doing well.
This is what I see these guys doing. They tried. The followed Jesus but ultimately it was an experience that at this point seems to have failed. What were they to do now? They didn’t seem to have a purpose anymore. They had failed to get Jesus into a new kingdom. They hadn’t been able to protect him and so it is back to what they know. Let’s go fishing.
We look specifically at Peter here. Peter seems to be the most outspoken of the disciples. He was so got him into trouble but he still followed.
I covered this some last week in my portrayal of Peter. When you read about the Last Supper in Mark 14 Jesus tells the disciples that they will all fall away from him. This was the second time that night that Jesus had talked like this. Jesus is now quoting Zechariah 13:7 when he said, “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.”
Peter jumps in here and kind of throws the rest of the disciples under the bus in his response, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” Unknowingly Peter is really setting himself up here.
Jesus then tells him that he will deny him three times before the rooster crows.
Again defiantly, Peter responds, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. But it was Peter who was the spokesperson. It was Peter that was trying to outdo his fellow disciples.