Summary: Jesus restores Peter and comforts the rest of the disciples after His resurrection.
The post-resurrection appearances John 21:13-25
An eighty year old man was out fishing one day when he heard a voice. Knowing no one was around he just thought he was hearing things. Once again he heard, “Psst-psst hey you.” The man looked around and saw a frog in the water. The man said, “Are you talking to me?” The frog said, “Yeah, pick me up.” So the man picked up the frog and then the frog said, “Kiss me and I will turn into the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.” The man put the frog in his coat pocket. Pretty soon the man heard the frogs muffled voice again. He reaches into his pocket and takes out the frog. And the frog says, “Hey, didn’t you hear me? I said kiss me and I will turn into the most beautiful woman you have ever seen!” “No thanks,” said the man, “at my age I’d rather have a talking frog.”
Now, you’ll remember last week we left Jesus’ sitting around a fire with His disciples where He provided a meal of fish and bread and the conversation that follows is focused on Peter and Jesus has two purposes for this, first, He wanted to let Peter know that his denial was wrong and then second, He also wanted him to know that he was forgiven. You see, Jesus had great plans for Peter’s life, but as long as Peter was walking around with his tail between his legs he was useless. And let’s face it, guilt is good in the sense that it lets us know when we’re wrong but it’s crippling if we don’t deal with what caused the guilt.
You see, guilt is the regret, the pain or the flashing red light of our conscience that let’s us know when we’ve done something offensive and guilt is something we’re all familiar with. And there are several types of guilt, there’s the guilt we have when we do things we know we shouldn’t have done and there’s also the sense of guilt we experience when we know there are things that we should have done.
Guilt can be a merciless taskmaster that can drive us far from God but at the same time it can also lead us back to a right relationship with Him. And however we respond to guilt will determine the quality of our lives as believers and then for non-believers it can even determine where they’ll spend eternity.
You see, guilt plagues all of us to some degree because we all have to lay our heads on the pillow at night and accept the fact that we haven’t done as well or as much as we could have or we’ve just done things we know were wrong. Just think, it was guilt that caused Adam and Eve to hide when God came walking in the cool of the day. It was guilt over his adulterous affair that caused David to say, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away from my groaning all day long." It was guilt that caused Isaiah to cry out "Woe is me for I am a man with unclean lips" when he came into the presence of the living God. And it was guilt that caused the Pharisees to drop the stones they were going to use to kill the woman taken in adultery when Jesus said, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." It was guilt that caused Judas Iscariot to take his own life after he betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and it was guilt that made Peter sit quietly at this meal and not say a word.
Guilt does funny things to us and makes us do funny things as well. The tax people once received a letter from an anonymous source. It said, "I have cheated on my income tax for the past seven years and tonight my conscience is troubling me to the point that I cannot sleep. I have enclosed a $100 bill as my way of saying ‘I am sorry.’ If I find that I still can’t sleep, I will send the rest of what I owe." There was a guy that was willing to pay at least a hundred dollars for some freedom from his prison of guilt.
Guilt is a consciousness of wrong but that doesn’t always mean that we’re ready to admit it and turn from it. I remember when John and Caitie were very small, he was about three and she would have been one and a half. Sally called me to come to Caitie’s bedroom and when I walked in John was pouring a whole container of baby powder over her head. And when he saw me, he was still holding the container with the powder pouring on her head and he said, “I didn’t do it.” You see, he knew it was wrong to do but that doesn’t mean he was sorry that he did it.