Summary: Final thoughts about Peter, Jesus, and the Call of God
(Slide 1) This morning we begin with our text for today, John 21 verses one through nineteen. Let us hear the word of the Lord this morning:
Later Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.
Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
At dawn the disciples saw Jesus standing on the beach, but they couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Friends, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get plenty of fish!” So they did, and they couldn’t draw in the net because there were so many fish in it.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and swam ashore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only out about three hundred feet. When they got there, they saw that a charcoal fire was burning and fish were frying over it, and there was bread.
“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.
“Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. And no one dared ask him if he really was the Lord because they were sure of it. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
Once more he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know what kind of death he would die to glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
Here we have Jesus and Peter with a lake (the Sea of Galilee) and a boat together again. It is a scene that we are now very familiar with these past two months having spent time in Matthew 14.
But it is different this time.
This time it is quiet on the lake. Some of the disciples are fishing, and have been, all night long.
There is no raging water. There is no terror or fear. There is no storm.
Jesus is present in this story, too.
But, He is not walking on the water this time. He is on shore, with feet planted firmly on terra firma. He is also the cook in our story and, perhaps to the frustration of the fishing professionals, a critic of their fishing patterns.
But there is water, a boat, Peter, and Jesus… together again in the same story.
Another thing about this story is that it takes place after Christ’s resurrection, as John makes clear in our text. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
Much has changed since that dark and fearful night on the lake perhaps two or so years earlier. Jesus had been arrested, judged, crucified, and rose from the dead as He said that He would be.
Peter is different, too. Perhaps wiser (perhaps). Perhaps quieter. Perhaps less sure of many things than he once was.
Since that ‘out of the boat’ water walking night, Peter had failed in his commitment to Jesus. A fear driven denial, not once, not, twice, but three times, had come from his lips as Jesus said it would.
He wept and probably fled, into the night… and, as we have read this morning, eventually returned to what he knew best – fishing.