Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

18. From disappointment to delight – Part 2

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John 21:1-14

Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. 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. 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.At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”“No,” they replied.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.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. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. 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.

It’s here in the midst of the mess that second we see the disciples:

  1. Misery Vs 3

Despite working hard all night their fishing resulted in a fail. Remember it wasn’t from a lack of effort or expertise, there were at least three professional fishermen in the boat that night. But no matter how hard you work in your own strength to find success apart from the Savior you will not succeed. We can do nothing apart from Christ. Are you leaning on your ability or on the Almighty? Satisfaction and success is not found in your old life. It’s here that we see the disaster of dealing with things our way because it only leads to more disappointment. Now Peter was not only a failure at following but also fishing. Looking for feel goods instead of looking to God doesn’t work. Yet many of us are trying to deal with our disappointment by doing the same things over and over. Insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. You can’t minimize your mess doing things your way because running to self-reliance always results in ruin. Why did Peter try to do it his way, because he had a problem that plagued his life called pride. Just moments before Jesus revealed Peters future failure on the way to the garden of gethsemane the disciples had just been arguing about who was the greatest. Pride is the inflated sense of one’s personal status, it is preoccupied with self and its own strength and leads to a smug self-reliance.  So, when we see Peter’s powerful proclamation of seeming sacrifice, of being willing to go with Jesus to prison and even death, we need to realize that it was not the result of relying on the Savior and true spiritual service but self-strength. Peter’s problem is the little word “I” which wars within each one of us. Pride caused him to see himself as superior to others and even pushed him to disagree with Jesus’ prediction about his future failure. Pride caused Peter to try and serve the Savior in His own strength. Have you ever experienced the shipwrecked of self-strength? Not only do we suffer but so do those around us because we end up dragging them into our disappointments. Your decisions impact others. It’s here in the mess and the misery that we hear the:

  1. Mandate Vs 4-6

In the midst of their misery Jesus shows up, and notice that the Savior starts with a question: “have you caught any fish”It’s a great question that God often asks, “Are you being successful doing things in your own strength?” So, let me ask you, is doing it your way working? Jesus knew the answer, but the disciples needed to face the facts. They had to admit their failure. When you go fishing and have nothing to show for it it’s hard to admit you have been skunked. Many of us are tempted to make up stories and try to fake it, to pretend that doing it our way is working. But you can’t fake it with the Father. At some point we have to face our empty nets of self-reliance. When they were honest about their self-reliance and listened and obey the Lord they went from failure to full, from overwhelmed to overflowing. Success is simply surrendering to what the Savior says, but until you face your failure you won’t follow Jesus. Now Jesus moves from a question to a command: “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” From a worldly view point why would you listen to a carpenter about fishing when you are the expert? Simon was raised on the Sea of Galilee he knew these waters; he understood fish, their habits when and where they would feed. But from God’s perspective why wouldn’t you listen to a carpenter if He was the one who created the lake and the fish! Whose view point are you looking at obedience through? For Simon it came down to Jesus word vs Simon’s wisdom. What is the authority in your life God’s Word or your Wisdom? Obedience always involves self giving way to the Savior. Jesus reminded them of both His power and His plan by repeating the same miracle that called Peter to follow Him in the first place. You see Jesus wants to do a miracle in your life, but you have to listen to the Lord. The key to a blessed life is obedience. Take a look at your net, what do you have to show for doing things your way. Instead of fish there is failure. Now look at the overflow of obedience. Obedience to Jesus is the key to what we end up with in our net. Success is found with Jesus failure without Him. Without Jesus it was a long night, but with Jesus it was a short day. Without Jesus their nets were empty with Jesus the nets had extra. Without Jesus there was only failure but with Jesus there was only success. When we try to deal with our disappointments in our own strength our disappointments only deepen. What about you, are you tired of living in the mess and the misery, then do what Peter did and start listening to the Master. Where in your life do you need to start obeying Jesus?

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