Summary: This sermon helps us focus on Jesus in times of despair.
Ottawa R. Pullen, Jr.
Senior Pastor, Light Of The World Church
7800 Bissonnet, Suite 260
Houston, Tx. 77074
Have you ever felt like giving up? Have you messed up everything in your life to the point that you feel that there is no need to carry on. There is a biblical character who fits “your” mold. His name is Peter, who vehemently expressed that he would never deny Jesus. Peter felt that life was no longer the same. Let’s pick up the story in John, Chapter 21:1
1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
Look at verse 3 again. Peter said, “I go a fishing.” The Greek translation of the word Peter used is “hupago.” It’s pronounced (hoop-ag’-o), and literally means, “I retire.” That’s right. Peter, the one who jumped out of the boat to walk on water, the one who said I will never deny you, feels like giving up. And look!! What he went back to wasn’t profitable anyway! In the same verse it is noted that the disciples that went with him caught NOTHING. Now what?
Maybe you’ve reached your point of giving up. “Now what?” Jesus has the same answer for you that He had for Peter. Verses 5, 6, and 7 show that Jesus came to the dissciples and met their need. However, they didn’t recognize that the man giving the instructions was Jesus. Finally, one of the disciples tells Peter, “It’s Jesus.” Peter jumps into the sea, swims ashore, and has a most interesting conversation. Let’s join Jesus and Peter in John 21:15-17.
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
What a woderful conversation! Peter is brought out of retirement and declared fit for the ministry because he didn’t give up! But a lot is lost in the translation. If you will bear with me, I’ll try to make it as plain to you as my Pastor did (Dusty Kemp, Bread of Life Church, Houston, Tx..). What Jesus is saying is, “Do you love me more than these fish or more than fishing?”But, as usual, Jesus is saying much more than meets the eye. The key is knowing that in the Greek language, there is more than one word for our English word……LOVE. Here is how it sounds when we take out the English word (love) and replace it with the Greek word originally used. In John, Chapter 21, Verse 15, Jesus said,…..AGAPAO thou me more than these? Meaning, “Is your love for me the Godly kind of love that exceeds your love for fishing. To this, Peter responded, “……Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I PHILEO thee.” Peter was saying that the kind of love he head for Jesus was not the Godly kind of love of which he had been so boastful….but a PHILEO kind of love, a brother kind of love. By his own choice of words, Peter was admitting that nothing he could ever do would ever measure up and produce the results he was looking for. To Peter’s response, Jesus said, “Feed my lambs, and feed my sheep.” If I may be allowed to paraphrase, Jesus was saying, “Now, I can use you, Peter. Now that you have learned that there is nothing you can do without me……Now, I can use you.”
As a matter of fact,in verse 17,the third and last time that Jesus asked Peter, "Lovest thou me?" Jesus did not ask again,"AGAPEO thou me?". Instead Jesus said,"Phileo thou me...?". In other words, Jesus came down to Peter’s level.
You see, Peter had never depended upon Jesus alone. He had depended upon himself….and failed….and ended up……giving up. PETER WAS NEVER SUCCESSFUL UNTIL JESUS CAME DOWN ON HIS LEVEL.....AND PETER ALLOWED JESUS TO RULE IN HIS LIFE......JUST AS HE (PETER) WAS. Isn’t that true of all of us.