Summary: The miracle of forgiveness in the restoration of Peter in John 21
MIRACLES OF JESUS: BY THE BAY
INTRODUCTION Option 1… CSI Effect (www.sermoncentral.com illustration)
A crime scene investigator from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was dusting for fingerprints in a home that had been burglarized. The investigator was challenged by the homeowner with these words: "That’s not the way they do it on television." Captain Chris Beattie, who heads the L.A. County Science Services Bureau, also called the crime lab, calls this "the CSI effect." With 60 million viewers a week for the three CSI programs on CBS - CSI, CSI:Miami, and CSI: New York, there is a lot more interest these days on how crime scene investigations are done. Robert Hirshhorn, a jury consultant, cites a study that showed that 70% of a jury pool were viewers of CSI, or A&E’s Forensic Files, or NBC’s Law and Order.
These shows have helped make jurors more receptive to scientific evidence, and another positive outcome is the demand by jurors for better investigations. There are also downsides. The public now has unreasonable expectations that every crime can be solved quickly and conclusively like it happens on TV. Jurors have unrealistic notions of what science can deliver. Criminal science is not infallible and it cannot absolutely insure that the right criminal will always be caught.
The CSI Effect is an offshoot of our faith in science. From earliest schooling we are conditioned to believe that what is real is that which can be experienced with our five physical senses. What is real is that which can be measured, tested and verified through scientific experiment. The material world - space, time, energy and matter, is what is really real. We firmly believe that we can develop laws, theories, and best practices that are consistent, stable and dependable. Science teaches us to trust what we can observe, either with our naked eye, or through a microscope or telescope.
INTRODUCTION Option 2... Robotic Bees
I heard the other day on the radio (I think it was NPR), that scientists have discovered the language of bees. They have observed bees and concluded how they communicate. Scientists have constructed a small robotic bee that is able to communicate with other bees. Their first attempts were failures, but they succeeded in having the robotic bee communicate with real bees. It can tell them which fields need to be pollenated and where to build hives. It is truly amazing. Science can explain amazing things to us these days... but science cannot explain everything. Some things must be taken on faith.
This morning we turn to someone who stands outside our contemporary scene and is definitely someone we cannot test or measure. We will look at a miracle of Jesus Christ. This is a Person that has done countless miracles… and miracles are certainly something that go against the laws of science and reason. Miracles are part of the realm of belief and faith and the Divine. Let’s look at Jesus this morning in John 21.
In case you need a little help in placing John 21, John 21 takes place after the death of Jesus on the cross (John 19) and after Jesus rose from the dead three days later (John 20). John 21 takes place sometime between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension back into Heaven (Acts 1). John 20 records for us the second visit of Jesus with His disciples in which Thomas sees the wounds on Jesus’ hands and His side. Jesus spends time with His disciples after His resurrection and this passage that we will read this morning details the third time that Jesus met with His disciples (John 21:14). Let’s read through John 21 this morning, make some observations, and then talk about the Truth God has for us.
READ JOHN 21:1-6
John 21:1-6: “Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. "I’m going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We’ll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, "Friends, haven’t you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.”
Verse 1 begins by telling us that the disciples, at least a few of them, were hanging out by the Sea of Galilee. I can imagine the disciples still in sort of a daze. They have seen Jesus, He is alive, but He is different. He has visited with them and everything seems to be in limbo. Thomas has certainly seen Jesus and is blessed for his exclamation of faith (John 20:28-29). In this daze and limbo, Peter decides to go and fish. This is something familiar. It is comforting. It is something he is an expert and can give him some direction. The other disciples who are with Peter decide to go with him… and the passage tells us they caught nothing.