Summary: If we are honest we can all admit to having moments like Peter when we want to turn back to the old life. Go back to fishing instead of living for Christ. But friend: that can never be for you or me.
Jesus restores us
John Chapter 21
Last week we celebrated Easter and how Jesus rose from the dead and how He presented himself to the men and women who followed him.
Today we look at what is regarded as Jesus third appearance to the Disciples. It is a week later so it is another Sunday morning. We find there are 7 waiting where they were told to be by Jesus.
While they waited they did what any real fishermen would do they went fishing. We do not know how many days they were there or if they spent an entire week fishing while they waited but they were faithful to following Jesus instructions.
Have you ever received news that was so good you had a hard time believing it? Maybe one of those telemarketers telling you that you won a free trip or a cruise? Maybe one of those phony lottery tickets or some door to door salesman?
Well for many of the Apostles Jesus resurrection was a lot to take in; it seemed too good to be true.
Could they have all been victims of a mass hallucination or maybe suffering from a delusion of some kind? But that wouldn’t explain the individual sightings like Mary and the two on the road to Emmaus.
I’m sure Dr. Luke was taking his time evaluating the entire experience from a medical stand point. Jesus invited them to touch him to see that he had flesh and bones.
This was no parlor trick Jesus was alive but he looked different apart from the scars and his voice which Mary had recognized at the tomb. Here he was alive but different able to appear and disappear at will, able to eat and talk and walk.
Jesus appeared to them over the course of several days so that they could get comfortable with the idea of a living Jesus.
He explained from the scriptures how all of these things had to happen.
There was one person in the group – Peter - who could not be reassured. He had denied Jesus and lost the respect of the other followers as well as his position as a leader.
Sometimes we think we are so far gone from God that there is no going back. But with Jesus even the weakest among us has a chance to have our relationship with Jesus restored.
How about you friend? Have you failed to be everything you promised God you’d be that first day you came to faith in Christ?
This is why Jesus met the 7 there. They were all part of the leadership team that knew Peter best. They were fellow fishermen and Galileans.
Jesus met Peter in an environment where Peter was comfortable and with the men he was most comfortable with. Not in the Temple courts or the city streets but out on the lake where he had spent most of his life working – fishing.
It is as if Jesus was letting Peter take one last look back so that he could see how far he had come in 3 years as a Disciple. This was kind of an opportunity to weigh his next steps with Jesus.
Peter went back to what he thought he knew. Like so many of us we slip back when we realize we have failed Jesus. We seem to lack the humility to come to Jesus on our knees. We tend to try to pick up our old life but find that we somehow don’t belong there anymore either.
Peter discovered that for himself when after a long night of fishing he had caught nothing. It wasn’t for a lack of trying.
You see Peter had been changed over the course of those 3 years just as you and I have been changed over the course of our time with Jesus.
Once you take Jesus into your heart and mind and soul as Peter did you will never be the same person. No matter how much you deny it or how many times you try to deny the Lord.
Jesus knew how to reach Peter. From the shoreline Jesus shouted out to throw the nets on the other side. Could it be that easy? Is Jesus just on the other side of us just an arms length away?
They followed the instructions and the net got incredibly heavy full of fish. Jesus got the fisherman’s attention. But it was John who recognized the voice from shore as that of Jesus.
Peter did not connect the dots about the great catch. How such a thing was God’s doing.