Summary: Gone Fishing - John chapter 21 verses 1-21 – sermon by Gordon Curley PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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(1). A Night of Defeat (vs 1-3).

(2). A Morning of Decision (vs 4-17).

(3). A Day of Dedication (vs 18-25).

(4). A Lifetime to Serve (vs 20-25).



• Explaining marriage to his four-year-old girl;

• The dad thought he was doing a good job.

• Bute she was as inquisitive, and as bright as a new penny.

• When he realised she was having difficulty in grasping the concept of marriage,

• The dad decided to pull out his wedding photo album,

• Thinking visual images would help.

• He turned over one page after another,

• Pointing out the bride arriving at the church, the entrance,

• The wedding ceremony, the reception, etc.

• "Now do you understand?" he asked.

• "I think so," the girl said, "is that when mommy came to work for us?"

• TRANSITION: Three years ago Peter started working (better word: serving) Jesus;

• He obeyed the call of Jesus; “To follow him”

• But as we pick up the story Peter has taken a detour.

• In fact he has been on an emotional roller coaster!

• In the previous week,

• He has gone from the giddy heights of Palm Sunday.

• Where he half-expected Jesus to be crowned king & maybe set up his kingdom.

• To the utter depths of despair on Good Friday.

• Where he watched Jesus nailed to a cross like a lump of meat!

• And then swept up to a mega high again, with the news of the resurrection.

• This has been one emotional roller coaster!

• In this chapter, Peter has gone home;

• Back to the ‘familiar’ shores of Galilee,

• (also known as the Sea of Tiberias and Lake Genesaret).

Peter and the other disciples are from that region and so they have gone back home:

• Note: You realise that Jesus and the disciples were northerners don’t you?

• Jesus like Peter and the others all had strong regional accents;

• (ill: And they probably liked mushy peas and brown sauce or the Israeli equivalent).

• There was one southerner among the twelve - Judas,

• But it’s probably best not to mention him!


• You might be wondering what are they doing in Galilee?

• Shouldn’t they have remained in Jerusalem,

• And that’s down in the South?

Answer: No! They should not be in Jerusalem.

• Twice in Matthew chapter 28 they were told to go Galilee:

• First: by an angel (Matthew chapter 28 verses 7).

• Second: by Jesus himself (Matthew chapter 28 verses 10).

• Who told them to go to Galilee, and he said he would meet them there.

Notice that no specifics are given as to exactly where in Galilee:

• So the disciples go home, back to families, friends and comforting surroundings;

• Back also to the place where they first met the Lord.

• I wonder if that’s what the Lord had in mind,

• Bringing back to this geographical location,

• Allowed him to once again remind them of their true calling?

(1). A Night of Defeat (vs 1-3).


• Charlie Brown was complaining because his team always lost their games.

• Lucy attempted to console him with the words;

• “Remember, Charlie Brown, you learn more from your defeats than from your victories."

• Charlie Brown responds by saying,

• "Then I must be the smartest person in the world!"

• TRANSITION: We pick up the story with Peter losing, defeated.

• Peter’s decision to go fishing was not a good one.

• In Luke chapter 5 verses 1-11 Jesus had called him to leave fishing & follow him.

• Peter in these verses is returning to the old life he had before he met with Jesus;

• Notice everything in this scene speaks of defeat.

Four insights to that fact:


• It was dark – “It was night time” (vs 3)

• Is this a picture that Peter was no longer walking in the light?

• ill; Chapter 3:2 - John tells us that Nicodemus came “at night”;

• A picture of him being in spiritual darkness.

• ill; Chapter 13:30 - When Judas went out to betray Jesus we are told “It was night”.

• Once again a picture - his actions were evil – he was walking in darkness.

• For Peter he was working in the dark (vs 3)

• I can’t help but feel this is a picture of his spiritual condition.


• They had no direct word from the Lord.

• Instead of waiting and praying and fasting and seeking God.

• Peter decides to “Lean on his own understanding”,

• He decides to go fishing.

• His impatience distracted him into unproductive activities;

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