Summary: Apostles, Pt. 22
SOMETIMES PETER, BUT NEVER JUDAS (JOHN 21:1-22)
A group of prospectors set out from Bannock, Montana (then capital of the state), in search of gold. They went through many hardships and several of their little company died en route. Finally they were overtaken by the Indians who took their good horses, leaving them with only a few limping old ponies. Then they threatened them, telling them to get back to Bannock and stay there, for if they overtook them again, they would murder the lot of them.
Defeated, discouraged and downhearted, the prospectors sought to make their way back to the capital city. On one occasion as they tethered out the limping ponies on a creekside, one of the men casually picked up a little stone from the creek bed. He called to his buddy for a hammer and upon cracking the rock, he said, “It looks as though there may be gold here.” The two of them panned gold the rest of the afternoon and managed to realize twelve dollars’ worth. The entire little company panned gold the next day in the same creek and realized fifty dollars, a great sum in those days. They said to one another: “We have struck it!” They made their way back to Bannock and vowed not to breathe a word concerning this gold strike. They secretively set about re-equipping themselves with supplies for another prospecting trip. But when they got ready to go back, three hundred men followed them.
Who had told on them? No one! Their beaming faces betrayed the secret!
At Jesus’ death the disciples were the greatest bunch of doubters, cowards and losers. Judas hanged himself, Peter denied Christ three times and all of them stood far away when Jesus was crucified (Lk 23:49). After seeing the resurrected Christ, they were transformed men. They built the first church. They were the first evangelists, the first missionaries and the first martyrs, fearlessly withstanding danger and risking death. The transformed lives of the disciples were arguably the strongest evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. No argument was more convincing.
The Resurrection of Jesus not only meant that Jesus Christ had defeated Satan and conquered death, but that He has returned to claim, redeem and empower the disciples. The disciples had an opportunity to correct themselves, experience God’s power and speak of God’s transforming power in their lives. The disciples had a second chance - well, more like a third chance (v 14). All in all, the Risen Christ appeared to more than five hundred (1 Cor 15:6) over a period of forty days
(Acts 1:3). Almost like until they get it.
What was life like for the knowledgeable fishermen and disciples without the transforming power of the Risen Christ? What does it mean to be given a second chance? How would you respond given an opportunity to make things right? Why does it require both divine intervention and personal courage?
Rise From a Life of Futility to Fruitfulness
21:1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “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. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 6 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. (John 21:1-6)
A minister was full of energy and enthusiasm for the Lord. One day he went to the hospital to visit one of his parishioners who was critically ill. The minister entered the room and saw the man lying in bed with a whole host of tubes and wires attached to his body. Without any delay the minister strode to his bedside and began to exhort him to be of good cheer. Soon the man started to wave his arms. This encouraged the minister, and so he exhorted him more and more enthusiastically.
Finally the minister ended with a rather lengthy prayer. At the final “Amen” the minister opened his eyes just in time to see the man reach for a pad of paper and a pencil. Quickly he wrote something and handed it to the minister. Then the man turned his head and died. The minister was deeply moved to think that his visit to this man had occurred in the nick of time. Then he looked at the pad and read these words: “You are standing on my oxygen tube.”