Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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19. From disappointment to delight – Part 3

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 depths of his disappointment when Peter can’t even fish without failing that the Mandate results in a:

  1. Miracle Vs 6

The question becomes do you want to live in the miracle or in the mess, because miracles come when we obey God’s mandates. There were really 2 miracles, the first was a net full of fish but second was that Jesus not only blessed them with a bounty of fish, but He did it without breaking their nets. God’s miracles fill our lives they don’t fray them. You see we have a God who can bless without breaking. Much has been made of the number of fish that were caught 153, but instead of speculating let’s look at the obvious lesson, when God moves it results in a miracle and we can experience a bounty of blessing. Where we fail God can fill. It’s not about the number of fish it’s about the faithfulness of the Father. We have a God that goes beyond. As I already mentioned Jesus had done this exact miracle once before. So, the question becomes why would Jesus do this a 2nd time? The first time it got their attention and convinced them following Christ and we could say Jesus was trying to convince them to once again stop fishing and start following. But if you look at the first time Jesus performed this miracle you will see Peter’s powerful response to the Savior: “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’”(Luke 5:8) When Peter saw the miraculous Messiah he saw his mess. You can’t see the Savior without seeing your sin. The first time Peter realize he was a sinful man, and now Jesus has done that same miracle all over again all because Peter ALREADY believes he’s a sinful man. And not just a sinful man… but an empty, useless, worthless man. Peter needed something only the Savior could give, he didn’t need a feel-good Peter needed forgiveness. We see our sins but instead of seeking the Savior we deal with sin in the strangest ways. Some try to deal with their sin by trying to hide it behind good deeds. That’s what we call karma. Karma is the belief that if you do enough good stuff in your life you can cover up the bad stuff. Instead of trusting in Christ Peter trusted Karma. He worked at being more righteous than the ones around him. When Jesus said the disciples would betray Him Peter said, “Even though THEY all fall away, I will not.” Why would he say that? Because he believed he was more righteous than they were. He tried to impress Jesus with his superior righteousness, so Christ wouldn’t see the dark struggles and doubts that lay just beneath the surface. He was trying to hide his sinfulness behind the fact that he could be more righteous than others. Self-righteousness and self-reliance go hand in hand, they both depend on me not the Messiah. Instead of trusting Jesus we spend our lives trying, instead of leaning on the Lord we spend our lives trying to look better. Self-righteousness gets us to focus on our success and others sins. It causes us to compare and to compete. It’s like the 2 men who get chased by a bear one stops to sit on a stump and put on running shoes. “Are you crazy?” says the 2nd man. “You can’t outrun that bear?” “I Don’t have to outrun the bear,” said the 1st man. “All I have to do is outrun you.” They think that if you can “out-righteous” the next guy (religiously out-run them) then God will pay more attention to the other guy’s sin instead of yours. The only problem is you can’t out run that bear. Unless your sinfulness is removed you can out-run/out-righteous anyone you want to… but the bear is still there. Your sin WILL catch up with you and kill you. While some people try to deal with their sin, by hiding it behind good deeds others try to hide THEMSELVES. That’s what Peter tried to do, he went back to his fishing so that he didn’t have to face Jesus again. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden who tried to hide their guilt from God, but you can’t hide from God. While Peter won’t come to Christ and confess, Christ comes to Him. Trying to hide or be a self-righteous hypocrite doesn’t work, what we need to do is rush to the Redeemer. When Peter realizes that its Jesus he jumps in and heads for shore. Peter forgets about his failure and even the fish because His focus is now on Jesus. It’s here that we discover the:

  1. Message Vs 7-14

What we need is Jesus and it’s time to get out of the boat and go to God. The Master is more important than the miracle. The purpose of the miracle is to point us to the Messiah. So often we get caught up in the miracle instead of the Messiah and we end up focusing on the fish instead of Christ’s faithfulness. But when we come to Christ like Peter we will discover that our disappointments don’t limit the Lord. Your messes don’t minimize God. Because when we come to Christ we go from failure to fellowship, from brokenness to breakfast. Are you hurting and floundering in your failure then come to Jesus and let Him and heal your broken heart.