Summary: Peter thought he had been disqualified from future ministry because of his denial. How can we understand the forgiveness and reconciliation that Jesus had for Peter. How does it apply to us today?

April, 2007

Father’s Day Sermon

I Go a Fishin’

John 21:1-15

INTRODUCTION: Peter, once again the spokesman of the group said, “I go a fishin’,” and the others said, “We’ll go with you.” It may have been just an overnight fishing trip or maybe he was getting hungry and just wanted to catch a few fish. Some say that this was an action of despair because he was going back to his old occupation as a fisherman. That may have been the case, or he may have needed some extra cash since he was “laid off” from preaching at the time. The ascension hadn’t taken place yet or the day of Pentecost. It was the “between time” before the early church began. Also remember, Peter had already denied the Lord three times just a while earlier. He may have thought that he would never have any future ministry. He had blown it--three strikes and you’re out. He had denied the Lord three times. Peter had seen the Lord three or four times after the resurrection, but there was still a sense of sin, guilt, and unworthiness over denying the Lord. He had not completely worked through this intense experience, and he still had doubts about his relationship to Jesus and his place in God’s work. He probably felt pretty worthless at the time.

In this ordinary fishing experience Jesus led up to dispelling these doubts and helped give Peter the special encouragement he needed to remove this cloud of denial that was still hanging over his head. Peter may have felt that he was already disqualified from further service to the Lord, but Jesus reconnected with Peter through an ordinary fishing trip and breakfast on the shore.

Although Peter in the past had risen to a position of leadership and had even been given the “keys of the kingdom,” (Matthew. 16:19), he had lost all of that.

How many times do we, too, feel that we have lost our testimony in the world and doubt God’s willingness to forgive us over and over again when we blow it? Sometimes second and third chances are not often available in families, communities, or workplaces. All you have to do is fail once too often and you’re out the door. You’re history. This happens in Christian circles too. You probably can think of a time when you were kicked off a team, out of the club, out of the house, kicked out of school, or out of a church. These probably were all important happenings at the time, but what is the closest that you have come to blowing it so badly that you thought God was never going to speak to you again? What did you learn about God in the experience?

Peter learned that the Lord offers boundless forgiveness to those who own up to their failures and repent. Can we offer any less to our families, friends, and co-workers?

This is where Peter was emotionally during this fishing trip. Although he was repentant and had wept bitterly over his denials, he still didn’t have the restoration he needed for his future in God’s plan. Although they had toiled all night, they had caught nothing. This was discouraging to these professional fishermen. They may have felt like a loser for sure. They may have thought that they had lost their skill.

Story: The story is told of a fisherman who had such bad luck that the fish would gobble up the bait from the lines on both sides of him but wouldn’t touch his bait. People would say, “Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.”

The fisherman decided that the only way he would be able to catch fish was to buy a boat. He bought an Old Cape Codder and called it “Meals on Reels” and the fish avoided it too. One day the boat sank. He raised it and refurbished it. Finally he ended up selling it. He just couldn’t catch a thing. The fish avoided the boat too.

One day a man in a small boat came up to him and said, “Could you use some fish? I’ve got far more than I can take care of.” The bad luck fisherman was a proud man and said, “Thanks,” but I only take home fish that I can say I caught.”

The man said, “Tell you what, you wade out a little, and I’ll toss a bluefish to you. Grab it with both hands. When you get home, you can say you caught it!”

That day the hard luck fisherman went home happy!!!

1. Jesus Came on the Scene: The disciples had a different than usual fishing experience too that day. After fishing all night and catching nothing a man on the shore yelled out to them, “Haven’t you caught any fish?” They probably felt humiliated because they had to say, “No, we didn’t catch a thing.” The man said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”

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