Summary: Jesus asks Peter if he loves him and if he is truly ready to become a disciple. It is a question that Jesus asks of us today. If we know he loves us, how come we don't always do what he wants us to do which is to spread his message to others.
Our reading this morning comes from the book of John Chapter 21: verses 1-19.
It is a story that we might be familiar with, but if not it is an easy story to follow.
It was written by the Apostle John, who by now if many of you don’t know is my favorite Gospel writer.
John to me is the epitome of who we as Christians should be.
According to our understanding John’s family was well to do.
He was a very eloquent writer, his message was very well thought out and he is the only writer that clearly sees Jesus as being one with God.
I always picture John as someone who spends a lot of time in thought, and contemplation before speaking, or in the case of the Gospel message one who always knew what he was going to write before he put pen to paper.
I love John, if I had a choice I would want to be John.
But unfortunately like most of us today in the audience, most of us are like the other character in the story today, and that is Peter.
Now don’t get me wrong, Peter is a great guy.
He had to be.
Jesus said to Peter that he was going to use him to build his church, and Jesus was not going to put someone who was incompetent in this position of church builder.
Matthew 16:8 quotes Jesus saying to Peter, “that upon this rock, meaning Peter, I will build my church.
So Peter, in Jesus eyes had a lot of potential.
Just like those of us sitting in the pews today.
But you see the Apostle John, if we had to put a face to him would probably be like Pierce Brosnan, you know the actor that played 007 in the movies.
Good looking, somewhat tall, piercing eyes, handsome, smart, can always think his way through tough situations.
Someone you would trust your life with.
Peter on the other hand reminds me of Mo, in the three stooges.
Short, pudgy, always running around getting himself into trouble.
Never thinking out the situation before he acts.
Really loving the people he is with, but never really understanding how to get through the situations he encounters.
So you see we really have two completely different characters here.
But in our story today, we will see that Jesus really does not make a distinction between the two of them in fact, in the story there are more than just Peter and John there, and although it does not say this I am sure that Jesus loved them all equally, just as Jesus loves each of us equally.
But enough of that, because we really don’t have time to analyze the characters so let’s look at where the story begins.
The story that I am going to read today, is the third encounter that the disciples have with Jesus after he has risen from the dead.
The disciples have abandoned the ministry that Jesus had instructed them to do, which is to spread the Gospel message to all the corners of the earth.
Probably because of all the persecution they have endured, or because without Jesus there they might not have had any followers, which could have hurt their bank accounts, so they have returned to the place where they started, where Jesus first approached them, while they were fishing in the sea of Galilee.
They have returned to fishing, because it is the thing they know best, and it was probably a lot safer than talking about a risen savior among people that already did not believe in Jesus, a people who killed Jesus and who would probably kill them for continuing the message.
So let’s begin with the reading.
You can find the reading on page ___ of your pew Bible if you would like although I am going to read the story this morning from Gene Peterson’s the Message.
1-3After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed "Twin"), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, "I'm going fishing."
3-4The rest of them replied, "We're going with you." They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn't recognize him.
5Jesus spoke to them: "Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?" They answered, "No."
6He said, "Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens." They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren't strong enough to pull it in.