Summary: The fourth sermon in the Lenten Series "The Signs of John." In this sermon we look at the fishing trip the disciples took after the resurrection and focus on how Peter’s reaction illustrates the change in his and Jesus’ relationship.
Large Catch of Fish
A. I’d like to start out this evening with a passage from another Gospel that recalls a similar incident between the disciples and Jesus
B. Luke 5:1-8 On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." 5 And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets." 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
C. What a marked difference we see in Peter’s reaction to Jesus.
1. Recognizing what this could mean about Jesus he out of fear tells him to leave him
2. Whereas in the passage in John we see Peter jumping into the water to get back to shore he is so excited to see Jesus.
3. This is a significant change, so what happened?
D. What changed is the relationship of Peter a sinful man and God.
Transition – How is that you ask, isn’t getting saved the establishment of a relationship with God?
II. A significant change in relationship
A. A common refrain for witnessing Christians is that people need a personal relationship with Jesus
1. A noble sentiment but not the right one, everyone has a relationship with God – the question is, “is it good or bad?”
a) for us on a purely human level it is impossible to have a relationship with everybody else. However, we do establish a relationship with everybody we encounter, whether it is passing by each other on the road. Or a close friend whom we confide in.
b) but with God everybody has a relationship with God because that is how he created us. It is the reason we have the inbuilt need to know God. Our problem is with sin hanging around we make all the wrong things God.
1) An article in The New York Times in December 1990 told how a group of 50 Japanese engineers held a religious ceremony at a Buddhist temple to pay their respects to ‘old computer chips’. The chief priest dressed in purple robes, bowed low and chanted as a large tray covered in used parts was placed before a statue of the Buddha, waiting to be taken up to heaven. The priest, Shogen Kobayashi, said that he had “no doubt that revering the chip will pay off for the Japanese people”. As well as performing these annual ceremonies, the engineers said that in time they intended to put up a monument to these loyal but now defunct computer components.
2) this is just an extreme example but it does highlight our tendency to look every where but to God. While a good number of people go to great lengths to formally worship man made things in temples, even more people engage in a more subtle form of idol worship chasing after thrills, books, movies, expensive toys, money, even people.
C) so what remains is not so much do we have a relationship, but what kind of relationship do we have with God?
Transition – and in comparing these two different events on the lake we can see how Jesus is the great relationship healer –Revise term
III. Christ is the God who changes that relationship.
A. Outside of Christ an encounter with God is a frightening ordeal.
1. A quick glance at Biblical accounts can show what means to be confronted by God
a) Exodus 20:18-19 8 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die."
b) Isaiah 6:4-5 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"