Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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17. From disappointment to delight – Part 1

John 21:1-14
Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. 3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. 4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. 6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. 7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. 8 The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. 9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. 10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. 12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.

Last time in our series “Living in the reality of the Resurrection” we saw how Jesus can take us from disciples of doubt to devoted disciples. Not only can Jesus deal with our doubt but we will see that he can also deal with our disappointments. At some point we all have to deal with disappointment, because disappointment is universal. All of us are predisposed to discouragement. It’s also recurring, being discouraged once does not give you immunity to the disease. It’s also highly contagious and can spread by contact. Discouragement comes in many different forms, from financial and physical to friends and family. So, the question becomes how do we deal with disappointment? It’s here in John 21:1-14 that we discover how Jesus deals with our disappointments. The story starts with the:
1. Mess – Vs 1-3
It’s here in John 21 that we see the disciples trying to deal with their disappointment in their own strength. But their story actually started over a week before when after the Passover meal the disciples followed Jesus to the Mount of Olives and on the way, He told them, “You will all fall away” But prideful Peter responded, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” Jesus turned to Peter and prophesied, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” Again, Peter proclaimed his pride as he said: “No!” Peter insisted. But we know the rest of the story, how Peter denied the Deity and the disciples scattered like sheep. It was not their finest moment! Three days later Peter is told that the tomb is empty, and that Jesus has been raised from the dead and he runs to the Tomb to discover that it is empty, scripture says that he “went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” (Luke 24:12) Then Jesus shows up while the disciples are living behind locked doors to free them from fear so that they can follow Him. Yet instead of following here we find Peter going fishing, why? Because from Peter’s perspective he had failed as a follower of Christ. From His perspective he had turned out to be a disappointing disciple. So, he decides to deal with his disappointment by going back to what was familiar, fishing. Peters way of dealing with disappointment was to go back to his old familiar life. He chose what was comfortably familiar over conviction because he was looking for a feel good instead of looking to God. When we fail one of the ways we try to deal with the disappointment is to look for a feel good. As a result, Peter let disappointment dictate what he would do instead of the Deity. Instead of following Jesus he followed his failure. Failure causes us to turn from faith to the familiar. Instead of rejoicing in the resurrection Peter chose to dwell on his disappointment and failure. He figured, I’ve failed at being a follower of Christ, BUT I know how to fish. I’m not good enough for God so I will just go back and pursue my past. But notice that Peter’s decision to pursue his past and do things in his own strength didn’t just affect him it infected everyone around him. You see Peter’s decision influenced the other disciples to disobey and turn from following to fishing. What you model will mold those who are following you, including your family and friends. What Peter modeled was that pursuing a feel good was more important than pursuing the Father. Are you trying to deal with your disappointment by going back to your past and pursuing the things that used to make you feel successful? Instead of following your feelings I want to encourage you to follow the Father. Or you will be in danger of being a crowd follower instead of a Christ follower.