Thursday, February 7, 2013

Miracles of Jesus Part 3

Miracle of Jesus Part 3

This message was preached by Micahel Eaton at  Word of Grace Church. You can listen or download the audio message by clicking here.

John 21:4:
This is the last miracle of Jesus. There is a connection between this and Luke 5 at the lake of Gennesareth where they fished all night and caught nothing and then they put down their nets at Jesus’ command.
Jesus said to Peter he would catch men.

On both occasions Simon was involved, they failed to catch all night, they catch a huge quantity. Luke 5- it’s a call narrative. It is a call of Peter to be an apostle. In Mark Jesus says, “Come follow me”. Luke has this story instead (Luke leaves the Matthew- Mark stay out) which is similar.

It is a parable about ministry. The sea depicts the human sinfulness. Peter goes out into the rough sea- catching fish/people for God to save them.

Peter will be a key person in bringing people till James the Lord’s brother takes over. 3000 get saved on the day of Pentecost- very successful for God.

In the first occasion Peter is ashamed- ‘go away for I am a sinful man’. That is his immediate response to the call to ministry. That’s the way we all feel. Moses did the same. No one volunteers in the Bible. Only Isaiah volunteers- ‘here am I send me’. Saul of Tarsus did not volunteer. Suddenly Jesus steps into his life and demands his life. Even Jesus did not volunteer. The Father sent Him to be the savior. He did not take the honor upon Himself
Peter did not want it either-he thought himself as very sinful. Jesus did not take the slightest notice. He knows we aren’t, we’re sinful. Jesus does not deny it, He ignores it. You are not called because you are good. It is all grace- your salvation, your calling, your marriage, etc. when the Lord says ‘well done good and faithful servant’ you might argue there saying ‘well done good and faithful savior’. Even the reward we’ll get is grace.
Jesus gives them this overwhelming catch- a picture of the day of Pentecost- the amazing conversion of 3000.   

John 21 is a repetition of the same miracle, only it is 3 years later. Peter has here indeed been a sinful man- its 48 hours after Peter denied Jesus, where he cursed and swears that he doesn’t know Jesus. Jesus had warned him that Satan would try to sift you but Jesus prayed that his faith would not fail i.e. we would never cease to believe. A backslider is saved because he knows the gospel is true, not a pretender or false Christian.

Peter did not stop believing. That’s why he breaks down and cries.
So in John 21 he has sinned- let the Lord down badly. If anyone should be dismissed from ministry it should be Peter. But 6 weeks later he is leading 3000 to repentance at the day of Pentecost.

What Jesus does is he does the same miracle all over again.
Jesus is recalling Peter into ministry. Your ministry is not going to be taken away from you even when you are weak. It takes extreme rebellion for your ministry to be taken away. E.g.: King Saul. Even then, Saul did not lose his salvation. He was just not to be king anymore. He lost his kingship not salvation.

When Israel lost (Numbers 14) because they rebelled 10 times, they were not taken back to Egypt-they did not lose what they had got but they lost what they could have had- their inheritance.
Even that is rare (Hebrews 6). Peter even though he cursed and swore- we can be harder on ourselves than God is (Hebrews 4).

As long as you can hear His voice, Him challenging you, grip you- you will be O.K. He has not given up on us at all.
Q. When Israel was in the wilderness- did God give up on them? The best generation was the Joshua generation (Jeremiah 2). How did they come to be? I believe their parents taught them even though they would miss out. Numbers 14- God said, ‘I have forgiven them’. Even if you lose one ministry, God will give you another.
Peter does not want to answer Jesus’ questions. Jesus asks him, ‘do you love me?’ 3 times because Peter denies Him thrice. 3 times, Jesus restores him. He had not lost his call to be an apostle.

Peter’s ministry is to tend the sheep- there will be 3000 new converts. The amazing thing about God’s grace is God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28). It is so good you can hardly believe it.
Does this include the bad things and the sins- yes! The good things are good. It is the bad that needs to be made good. E.g.: Jonah. Have you sinned that it resulted in so much good?
Jonah- the sailors on the boat to Tarshish get saved through his running away. God can over-rule what you have done but should not have done.

When you go through the experience of falling it humbles you- you are sympathetic with the sinner and not be like a Pharisee. Though it is not a good way of learning mistakes but it is for your humbling.

If you have a doubt- look at the cross. Wicked men were used to crucify Him. They are there on the day of Pentecost. What they did in wickedness is for the salvation of the world.
God does not make sin happen but He can control it to fulfill His purpose- “You meant it for evil, but God worked it out for good.” God works all things for our good. You may say, “It does not matter what I do, God will over-rule it”. Yes, but God will take His time. It may take a long time because there will be a lot of pain and suffering. It may take time, so don’t misuse it.

All things for good- the condition being that you love God. So what does the Lord want me to do now? Confess your sin and hand your troubles, mistakes to Him. Samuel tells them they should not have chosen a King but now if they would obey God, the Lord will bless you.

The principle is that you start from where you are- that’s how we live every day. Every day we start from zero (though you have learnt a few things) in terms of your position- Phil 3. That’s where Peter is- a sinful man- he fell but God ignored his guilt then and now.

Jesus did not even raise the subject but re-commissioned him. A new start- that is where we all are every day.
One of the great secrets of the Christian life is not to depend on yesterday’s experience. Go to God for fresh grace every day and you live that way. If you don’t live that way the Lord may let you fall and show you something- how weak you are. Take it that you are weak and need Him every day. Grace is the most amazing thing that you could ever imagine.                

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