Hooked on Jesus
John 21: 1-22
A pastor woke up one Sunday morning ready to preach one of the best sermons he felt like he had ever prepared....then he noticed what a beautiful day it was outside and he started to get a bit ambivalent about ....
- what a great day it would be to go fishing
- bright idea - assistant Pastor
- called - “Do you have an old sermon in your files that you could preach this morning?”
- being the great associate that he was “YES”
- so the pastor went off.... fishing
- caught biggest bass
- again - caught the biggest rainbow trout
- angel sitting on the shores of heaven watching
- God - he’s looking might proud of himself - look at him there.....
- God: I’ve got things under control - “Who’s he going to tell.”
Little Eddie came several minutes late to Sunday School, and the teacher asked why he was late. He said, “I wanted to go fishing, but my dad wouldn’t let me, so we argued, and that’s why I’m late.” The teacher said, “Good for your father! Did he explain to you WHY you needed to come to church instead of going fishing on a Sunday morning?” “Yes ma’am,” replied the boy. “He said there weren’t enough worms for both of us.”
Pray: Lord, whether we’re here because we want to be or not, change our hearts. Teach us what we need to hear today - guide us by your Holy Spirit and may everything we think and say be honoring to you. Amen.
* * * *
You’d have done it yourself. Jesus was dead and gone. He had told them before he died to go north and so they had. Now here they were, by the sea of Galilee, their home turf. They were waiting for Jesus to appear to them again. He had appeared already, twice, but with his cruel death burning in their minds, did they really yet believe that Jesus was alive? Did they really assume that he would appear to them again? Why had he told them to go north? It was back to their old stomping ground - back beside the lake. And yet Jesus told them to go there and wait for Him.
What would you have done? Here they are waiting for something to happen that may or may not happen and finally the tension gets to be too much. Maybe they’re sitting around by the lake, stringing a few nets just to pass the time, talking, and laughing together to cover up their obvious sorrow.
Then Peter, impulsive Peter, - he can’t stand it anymore. That old urge of doing what he knew he could do, gripped him. “Well, I’m going fishing,” he says, and the others come right along - “We’ll go with you.”
Now notice, the disciples were in the will of God when they made their way back from Judea to Galilee. But they were restless. They weren’t sure of the meaning of Christ’s appearances, they weren’t sure of their place in evangelizing and carrying on the work of Christ in the world. So they go fishing. They go back to their old occupation.
Now there’s nothing wrong with fishing, but it does seem that going fishing at this particular time, when they should have been waiting for the manifestation of the Lord, implies the activity of the flesh.
It’s so much easier to go fishing than to give yourself to prayer and patience!
They wanted to get up - they wanted to do something!
- aren’t we like that - we just have to do something - I know I do - when God says wait - it’s just about all I can do to WAIT! - especially if I have failed - I want to do something to “make it better”
-Remember Peter? He had failed his Lord miserably. In his greatest hour of need, he cursed and denied even knowing that Master. Now here he was, back on the shores of Galilee where Jesus had first called him to be a “fisher of men.” Peter probably thought, as the memory of the denial around the campfire at Jesus’ trial burned in his mind, “There’s not much chance of me being a ‘fisher of men’ now.. It might have been different if I had proved true when that girl asked me if I knew Jesus. Oh, and I can’t get the sound of the wretched rooster crowing out of my head. So much for being called Peter, So much for being “the Rock.” I can hardly expect Jesus to trust me now, so I’d better get back to what I can do.”
Is that what it’s like for you? When you make a mistake. When you fail the Lord. When you sin and then you ask forgiveness but you still feel horrible inside. Do you go back to what you know.
- (sometimes when the pressure of the pastorate, and my studies, and my allergies .... are getting to me, I comfort myself and I say, I can always go back to into business. I was good at it. I didn’t need anybody - I didn’t need to be dependent - I didn’t need to trust God with my life, with my schedule, with my bills, with my health.) I didn’t NEED anybody.
Have you ever been there? The disciples have. And I believe they responded exactly as we so often do. They went back to what they knew. And look what happened?
End of verse three - they toiled all night and caught nothing. I wonder if Peter and the others, remembered the night three years before when they had toiled all night and caught nothing (we talked about it just last week). That was the night Jesus called them to Follow Him. Now it’s happened again. They’ve worked all night, they’ve caught nothing and they’re drawing near to shore and someone yells out to them from the shore, “Friends! Have you caught anything?”
“No” was the answer. I can’t help but think that at that moment. That moment when expert fishermen admitted that they had toiled all night and caught nothing, they must have been thinking, “Even this doesn’t work anymore.”
See how gently and yet, clearly, Jesus calls them to see their real need. I think he would say to us today, when he sees we toil all night trying to make it work our way. He says, “Friends, Have you caught anything?”
Then, when we admit our defeat. He does what only God can do. He says, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find what you’re looking for.” And what happened - “they cast therefore, and they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.”
Then John said, “It is the Lord.” Oh, that pronouncement must have sent shivers through them all. Surely, if not before, now they remembered that other night when they fished all night and hadn’t caught anything. The night when Jesus originally called them.
Now three very important things happened and I want us to look at them carefully this morning.
The KJV says “Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat around him and did cast himself into the sea.”
KEY: Hooked on Jesus - now he’s hooked, he cast himself into the sea.
Nothing could hold him back now from the feet of Jesus, the Savior whom he had denied. At that point Peter became a Rock once again - his past failure was wiped out in the presence of His Lord. He left the other disciples to find their own way in with this great haul of fish. The fish didn’t even matter anymore!
1. The blessing God had given wasn’t nearly as important as being with the Master - being close to Jesus.
Oh that we would grasp the importance of that. That’s the KEY to being Hooked. The oxford Dictionary says that to be hooked, means to be addicted to, or captivated by...Peter was captivated by the Lord’s presence that day, everything else was secondary.
Something else happened that morning. Look at verses 9-11. It says, “As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there (we’ll get to that in a minute), and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus said to them, Bring some of the fish you have caught. So Simon went up and drew the net to land full of great fish for there were so many, 153 in all, and yet the net was not broken. What a beautiful touch this is! See, three years before when Jesus was with them in almost the same way, they had caught such fish that the net was broken - This time, the net didn’t break! And none of the disciples dared ask him who he was because they knew it was the Lord.
- all kinds of lessons just from that alone - you draw your own conclusions...
2. “As long as I’m with Jesus, my net won’t break....”
There’s something else I want us to notice before we conclude this morning.
Verse nine says when they had landed, they saw a fire of burning coals .... I think there was something significant about that. Where had Peter denied his Lord? Luke 22 says, “They made a fire of coals, and Peter stood by the fire.” The fire that Peter stood by the night of Jesus crucifixion was the fire of temptation and defeat. The fire he stood by that morning was the fire of God’s grace and mercy. Imagine - Jesus, the Son of God, cooking Peter’s breakfast! What love! There was nothing Jesus wouldn’t do for those he loved! What a beautiful replacement for Peter. To move from the fire of fear and temptation and ultimately defeat, to one of God’s forgiveness and mercy.
3. God covers our fears and temptations with forgiveness and mercy.
One final thing I want to point out to you in closing this morning. We all know what happened next - We all know the story of Jesus questioning Peter three times about his love for Him. But Peter never uses the strong language that he used before he denied Christ. There’s no boasting. There’s no pride of courage here. You see, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him using the word for love that is the highest possible kind of love, an absolutely pure, unselfish kind of love. The word challenged Peter and he knew he could not rise to it. He answered the Lord and he loved him. And the word he uses for love, is an affectionate, brotherly kind of love. But Jesus persists and finally Peter says, “Lord you know all about me. You know my failures, you know that I denied you, You know my heart - and yes, I still love you.” And with that admission, Peter is restored to ministry.
4. In my weakness, He is strong.
You see, Peter was loved just as much after his failure as before. But now, Peter knew his frailty. He knew his strength was not of himself. The proof that he loved Jesus was in the heart and mind of Christ. And that’s where the strength comes from. Jesus told Peter three times to “Feed my lambs” and then in vs 19, once again, just like three years previously he said, “Follow me!”