Summary: Jesus’ call is greater than my fall
This is a manuscript, and not a transcript of this message. The actual presentation of the message differed from the manuscript through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is possible, and even likely that there is material in this manuscript that was not included in the live presentation and that there was additional material in the live presentation that is not included in this manuscript.
Last Saturday, Maximum Security crossed the finish line in first place at the Kentucky Derby. However, after an objection was filed by two jockeys, Maximum Security was disqualified and a 65-1 longshot, Country House, was declared the winner.
So this week on Monday, the owner of Maximum Security, Gary West, declared that his horse would not run in the Preakness Stakes, saying there was no sense in rushing his horse into another race since it no longer had an opportunity win the Triple Crown.
Unfortunately, I think we can often respond to adversity or failure in a similar way when it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ. Because of some failure, or shortcoming, or weakness in our life as a disciple of Jesus, we are prone to just throw in the towel because we feel like that flaw disqualifies us from continuing to serve Jesus.
That can take many different forms.
• There are some of you here this morning, who feel like you can’t serve God because you’re too old. And at the other end of the spectrum, there are some of you young people here today who think you are too young.
• There are some of you here today who feel like you can’t serve God because you just don’t know enough. You feel like you need to know the Bible better before you are ready to serve God.
• There are some of you who feel like you’ve failed God so greatly in the past that there is no way He could ever use you now.
• There are some of you here who have been hurt so deeply by someone else, maybe even another disciple of Jesus, that you don’t think God could possibly use you.
If that even comes close to describing how you feel this morning, then I’ve got some great news for you. The passage that we’re going to look at this morning reveals that…
Jesus’ call is greater than my fall
Today’s message is the 4th in our current series – 40 Days with Jesus. We’ve been studying the various encounters Jesus had with His disciples in the 40 days between His resurrection and His ascension to His Heavenly Father. So far, we’ve looked at His meeting with Mary Magdalene just outside His open tomb, His conversation with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and His two appearances to His disciples as they hid in fear in Jerusalem.
This morning we’ll look at an encounter that takes place some time after that. The disciples have finally made it to Galilee, where Jesus had commanded them to go both before and after His resurrection. Let’s pick up the account at the beginning of John chapter 21.
[Read John 21:1-14]
We don’t really know how long these seven disciples have been back in Galilee waiting for Jesus. But late one afternoon, Peter decides to go fishing and the other six agree to go with them. We just don’t have enough information in the text to know if Peter planned to go back to fishing on a permanent basis or if this was intended to just be a one time thing. Maybe his wife was ready to get him out of the house for a while or maybe they were running low on food and Peter figured he could make a few bucks selling some fish at the local market.
In any case they headed out to fish at night, which was the best time to fish there. They fished all night, but caught nothing, which had to be a bit embarrassing for these professional fishermen. Early the next morning, some guy on the shore is basically taunting them. This is one of those places in the Bible where we see that Jesus had a good sense of humor. It’s hard to see in our English translations, but Jesus basically says to the disciples, “You haven’t caught any fish, have you?”
The disciples don’t recognize Jesus yet and dejectedly answer “No.” Jesus tells them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat, something they have probably already tried multiple times that night. But they are so desperate at this point, they figure “why not?” The net was immediately filled with 153 large fish. As you might imagine, Bible scholars have come up with all kinds of explanations for that 153 number – most of them pretty farfetched. The most likely explanation is that John, as an eyewitness, includes this detail to give evidence that this was a real event and to document the magnitude of the catch.