Text: John 21:1-25
Introduction: We have become acclimated to our Christian culture. It has been around for 2000 years now and we have come to accept as common place the supernatural foundation of Christianity. Imagine Paul walking into a city 200 years ago and announcing, “A man who has come down from heaven, lived on earth among us without sin, was cruel crucified but rose after 3 days in the grave and even now is alive. If you will believe in him, you too will know the resurrection from the dead.
Anybody today did that we would think he was crazy, but because we have heard it about Jesus all our lives it has become commonplace, but it is not commonplace. It is the most extraordinary, supernatural event that has every taken place and it is just as extraordinary today as it was on the first Resurrection morning.
We need to be reminded sometimes of just what a miracle we are through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We need to be made a little more excited by the resurrection. Maybe if it was a little more real to us like the story of three friends who die in a car accident, and upon their arrival to heaven, they are all asked, "When you are in your casket and friends and family are mourning upon you, what would you like to hear them say about you?"
The first guy says, "I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor of my time, and a great family man."
The second guy says, "I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher which made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow."
The last guy replies, "I would like to hear them say "LOOK, HE'S MOVING!!!"
That would be a very dramatic and striking event because someone that was dead was now alive. It is dramatic, it is miraculous, and it should make us take notice when we come in contact with someone who has returned from the dead. And we as Christians should understand this because we are in contact with Jesus Christ, every day. We need to be reminded and challenged of the reality of Jesus as our resurrected Lord.
Our passage today is the epilogue of the gospel of John. The climax was the resurrection of Jesus from the grave and now John is wrapping up the rest of the story with the appearances of Jesus after his victory over the grave.
Removed from Service
John 21:1-3 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
Apostles return to their former life
They were in Galilee waiting for Jesus as the angel had told them to do. Twice befor this they have seen him alive since the crucifixion and discovering the empty tomb. Now they wait, but while they wait they return to what they used to be, fishermen.
Seems a little out of place doesn’t it? These men who had known and served the most powerful man who has ever lived have gone back to fishing? These men who have seen Jesus raise the dead, heal the sick and cast out demons have gone back to mending fishing nets? These men who have performed miracles themselves, who once stood on a mountain and saw Jesus changed before their eyes to shine like the sun, these men who saw Elijah and Moses are going back to selling fish in the marketplace?
No, they could not go back. They may have been mistaken, or they may have been just killing time but one thing was sure, they could never be the same again. They had been in contact with the resurrected Lord and nothing would ever be the same again.
Can Life Be As It Was?
This should make us consider the same question. Can my life be as it was once I have met Jesus who has saved my soul and conquered death itself? No, you will never be lost again. No, you will never be alone. No, you will fear the powers of Hell and death.
Your life can never be the same once you’ve been saved and forgiven. Once you have met the very same Jesus that the apostles met, the same Jesus that calmed the storm, multiplied the loaves and fishes and walked water. Your life has been permanently altered because your soul has been made new in the power of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Does your life reveal the reality of this truth? The reality of the resurrection not on the pages of you Bible but in the story of your life. You are not the same, you are a child of God, you are on your way to heaven. Your values have changed, your thoughts have changed you are not the same person you were. Do others know this, can they see this or like the apostles are you, “going fishing” just like you did before the reality of the resurrection.
Illustration: Invasion of the Body Snatcher.
Ever see the movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Really scary. Aliens come to earth as little spores from outer space and settle next you when you sleep. Then during the night the spore grows into a pod and inside the pod is an exact replica of you. It looks like you and talks like you but it’s not you. Your body has been snatched.
Well guess what if you’ve been saved, that’s right your bodies been snatched. You may look the same and talk the same but on the inside you’re a whole new person. Oh, but the big difference is that instead of being one of the pod people, you’re now one of the God people.
Reminded of the Savior
John 21:4-14 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, and hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead
Reality of the Resurrected Savior
The Lord chooses the worst moments to make himself, real doesn’t he?
Here they have been waiting patiently for Jesus and nothing happens then the first time they go fishing…. Jesus shows up. Even worse he shows up when Peter is undressed! I wonder if He had been waiting just for that moment.
Reminds me a little of the Pastor who went out visiting his member without calling first. He arrived at the first house saw lights on and knocked. He was sure he heard fast footsteps but no one came. So he took out his card and wrote on the back, “Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” The next Sunday after services one of the men who counted the offering brought the pastor that same card which the member had put in the offering plate under the quote from Revelation they wrote, I was in the shower, “Genesis 3:10 I heard thy voice …. and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
Peter must have felt like that for the Bible says he was naked in the fishing boat. Now this probably meant he was stripped down to his waist, but still not the way he wanted the Lord to see him.
The disciples had fished all night and caught nothing but then this stranger on the shore tells them to “put their nets on the right side and they shall find.” This was something they had experienced before with Jesus in the same way. They knew as the net filled with fish, it was Jesus.
Peter pulls on his cloak and jumps in the water to swim to shore. When the rest of the disciple come to land they find Jesus with a fire and fish already prepared and He must have smiled when he said,
“Come and Dine.”
Reminded of the Reality of the Resurrection
You know what the cure is for still acting, looking and thinking the same as before you were saved? You need face the reality that you serve the resurrected Lord.
That will often happen in the same way it happened to the disciples. You’ll will be toiling in your life the way you used to and will seem as empty as wasted as the empty nets of the apostles. All your knowledge, training and will power will not give you what is needed in your life.
It will be at those times of emptiness that Jesus will appear. You may not recognize Him at first. It may have been awhile since you’ve really spent time with Him. Or it may be that you have forgot the way it felt when Jesus walked with you daily.
But Jesus hasn’t forgotten. He will know exactly what to say, what to do or what to ask to remind you, “You’re not the same person you were before. You are my servant now, you are my friend now. I have touched your heart and secured your soul. You are not your own you have been bought with my outpoured blood. Remember who you. You are mine and I will not let you go back to what you once were.”
The Jesus looks us straight in the heart and says, “Come and dine. Come be with me, come fellowship with me,”
That’s what I need to bring me back to the reality of who I am. I need fellowship with Jesus. He knows that and if you are His you will hear him call over and over again in your life, “Come and Dine. Come and be with Me. Come and experience the love and power of one who has defeated death and wants to share that love and power with you.”
Illustration: Song, Come and Dine
This was a favorite song of my Grandma George. She loved to think of the day when she would be in the presence of her Savior.
Jesus has a table spread
Where the saints of God are fed,
He invites His chosen people, "Come and dine";
With His manna He doth feed
And supplies our every need:
O 'tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!
"Come and dine," the Master calleth, "Come and dine";
You may feast at Jesus' table all the time;
He Who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine,
To the hungry calleth now, "Come and dine."
The disciples came to land,
Thus obeying Christ's command,
For the Master called unto them, "Come and dine";
There they found their heart's desire,
Bread and fish upon the fire;
Thus He satisfies the hungry every time.
Once Jesus had brought the disciple back to himself, once he had fed them and with 153 fish, shown that he would provide for them and their families it was time to recommission them into his service and to appoint a pastor to take his place.
Recommissioned to Shepherd
John 21:15-19 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
Three Questions of Love.
Three times he is asked, “Do you love me?”
The first two times, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you agape?” It was the word that Jesus had taught the disciples a new word for love, agape, it meant sacrificial, self-giving and unconditional love. Peter answers with another world for love, the normal word for love, phileo. It means love as much as man can love, love as great as I can love. Jesus aske Peter twice, “Do you love me with a sacrificial love and twice Peter responds, “I love you as much as I can love you.”
Then the third time Jesus asks, “Peter, lovest (phileo) thou me.” And Jesus uses the word in his question that Peter had been using in his answer, phileo. In other words, Jesus seemed to be saying
“Peter do you really love me even that much?”
Now we understand why Peter’s heart brakes, and he weeps before the Lord. An this is just what Jesus needed to happen. For you see this was Peter who on the night of Lord’s crucifixion had told his Savior, “Though all others leave thee. I will never forsake thee.” Peter in his own strength would not run. Peter in his own power would not betray, Peter in his own will would not curse and deny the Lord, but just as Jesus had told him, before the rooster crowed, Peter that night denied his Lord and Savior.
This he did not once but three times, even cursing and swearing to make his point. Three denials from Peter that night, and now this morning three questions from Jesus. Peter, lovest thou me? The question were asked and Peter’s heart broken, not for the Lord’s benefit but that Peter might realize the truth if he was to pastor the Lord’s church once Jesus was gone. Peter had to realize that it was not Peter’s love, or strength or will but God that would never fail.
When Peter broke down and cried out, “Lord, thou know all things you know that I love thee,” the lesson was learned, and Peter was recommissioned as the shepherd of the Lord’s most precious possession, His church.”
Our Three Questions
I think we should consider three questions this morning that we might understand ourselves in light of our relationship with Jesus Christ.
1st Do you know who you are?
Child of this world do you know who you are? If you’ve never met the resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ you are lost. Without hope without peace with joy in a world that will use you up and then discard you. If you have refused to hear his voice speaking to your heart and calling you to himself then you are on your way to a place prepared for the Devil and his angels. A place that God has done everything within his power to keep you from.
2nd Do you know who I am?
Jesus asks us about our knowledge of Himself. For this knowledge make all the difference of eternity itself. The only difference between heaven and hell is knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. The only difference between a life wasted and a life worthwhile is knowing Jesus. Do you know who Jesus is in your life everyday.
3rd, Do you know I love you?
I believe the Lord asks us all if we really know how much he loves us. To the lost he asks, “Have you seen my hands, my feet and my side? These are the marks of my love for you. I poured my love through the wounds of my body and so great was my love for you that it broke my heart upon the cross. Do you know how much I love you?
To the Christian he asks do you know how much I love you? I love you so much that the grave could not hold me and death could not contain me. I love you so much that each moment at my Fathers side I plead for. I love you so much that I will never leave you, I will always be there in every trial, every pain, every sorrow. I love you so much I’ve called you into my service. I love you so much I’m coming back one day to take you home with me. Do you know my love?
How you respond to these questions determines how God will respond to you. Will you have a life worth living, a life that counts for eternity or only a life that’s lived and then it over.
Illustration: Sir Walter Raleigh's Trust.
After Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded they found this poem in his Bible.
Even such is time, that takes in trust.
Our youth, our joys, our all we have.
And pays us but with age and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days.
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust!
On that first Resurrection Day after the disciples realized that Jesus was truly alive it changed them forever. No longer were they afraid for Jesus had conquered death, no longer were they hiding in the upper room for Jesus was alive and in this world.
What a difference it can make in our life if could just realize with that same kind of wondrous shock, Jesus is really alive and he is my Lord, Savior and friend.