Summary: Jesus reinstates Peter are his failings (PowerPoint slides for this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Coming to Terms with Your Calling
Reading: John chapter 21 verses 1-17.
• The year was 1920.
• The scene was the examining board for selecting missionaries.
• Standing before the board was a young man named Oswald Smith.
• One dream dominated his heart. He wanted to be a missionary.
• Over and over again, he prayed,
• “Lord, I want to go as a missionary for you. Open a door of service for me.”
• Now, at last, his prayer would be answered.
• When the examination was over, the board turned Oswald Smith down.
• He did not meet their qualifications. He failed the test.
• Oswald Smith had set his direction, but now life gave him a detour.
• What would he do?
• As Oswald Smith prayed, God planted another idea in his heart.
• If he could not go as a missionary,
• He would build a church which could send out missionaries.
• And that is what he did.
• Oswald Smith Pastored The People’s Church in Toronto, Canada,
• Which at that time sent out more missionaries than any other church.
• Oswald Smith brought God into the situation,
• And God transformed his detour into a main thoroughfare of service.
As we start to look at the final chapter in John’s gospel:
• Peter has taken a detour.
• That the last few days had been an emotional roller coaster for Peter.
• In the last week, he had 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.
• And then swept up to a mega high again, with the news of the resurrection.
• Now Peter has gone home;
• Back to the ‘familiar’ shores of Galilee (also known as the Sea of Tiberias and Lake Genesaret).
Peter and the others had gone back home:
• Note: You realise that Jesus and the disciples were northerners don’t you?
• Like Peter they all had a strong accent;
• (ill: And 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,
• He would once again remind them of their true calling?
(1). A Night of Defeat (vs 1-3).
• 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.
• 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;
• Had he waited – his wise use of time & energy would have yielded a much better return
• Their fishing expedition ends in utter failure;
• Verse 3: “That night they caught nothing”.
• All night long they fished
• And they caught nothing!
• How frustrated Peter and the disciples must have felt;
• When time after time they lowered their nets and they pulled them up empty.