This message was preached by Justin Jaykumar at Word of Grace Church on May 1st, 2016. To listen/download the audio please click here.
John 21: 1-14:
“Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”“No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.”
Week after week, we meet here and worship together. We are all at different places in our relationship with Christ. Christian life is a journey with Jesus.
Q. Where are we in our journey with Jesus?
The Disciples had a living, moving experience with Jesus.
3 things happened in this passage:
1. It is back to square one- the disciples go back to square one. They started in the Sea of Galilee. They left everything to follow Jesus. For three years! Do you remember the day you met Jesus and what happened to you? The excitement, the joy of reading God’s word- having our quiet time. A peace covered us- a longing to be with God and his people. The disciples also experienced this. They left their people, profession, possessions and place. But here in this story, something strange is happening. We see them going back to a very familiar ground- their comfort zone- their profession. They went back to that place.
Q. Why did they go back?
Familiar ground gives us self-worth and security and significance. They knew the Sea of Galilee like the back of their palm. It is a temptation for all of us. What if Jesus fails? When things get tough, we go back to the place which we think is the refuge. And Peter did not go alone. He took others as well. When you go back, you take others with you.
2. Jesus stood on the shore but the disciples did not recognise him. When you go back to square one you fail to recognise Jesus. We go away from Jesus. That initial love dies down. You no more recognise him- cannot hear his still small voice. God’s word does not bring you anything. When you are sliding, there is no interest in spiritual things. We need to take note of this situation.
3. They failed to catch fish: They toiled the whole night and failed in the very thing they went after. It must have been embarrassing. Peter’s journey began in the same place. The disciples were more concerned about the earthly kingdom. When Jesus was crucified, their dreams were shattered. They were in hiding.
Q. where are we in our journey?
Are our expectations not met? Do I also stand in the same place where I began, am I discouraged or disappointed? Are you wondering what are my accomplishments?
The passage ends with Jesus inviting them to eat with him. They cast the net where he asked them to. They realised it was Jesus and they came back to shore dragging the net.
Jesus came to where they are. He did not wait for them to return with shame. He came down into this world. He comes searching for us. He does not come to put us to shame. He calls them friend. He asserted their place in him. He wanted them to start their journey again with Jesus.
Even this morning, if you are stuck somewhere in your journey with Jesus, he still calls you his friend and calls you to resume a journey with him.
When we resume 4 things happen as we see from this passage:
1. Recognise that we need help- In verse 5 and 6, Peter recognised that they had failed. If we acknowledge that we have failed, the help comes from the Lord.
2. We need to obey Jesus- They cast their nets and they caught multitude of fish. As a result, their life was full of blessings. Obedience leads to blessing. Even with the net full, it did not break. We began worship by remembering the people who went before us who obeyed God.
3. Share your blessings: In verse 10 Jesus asks to bring the fish they just caught. Jesus involves you in his work. He calls us to share our blessings. You are called to surrender your blessing in the hands of Jesus. At the beginning of their journey he said, come I will make you fishers of men.
4. Come and eat with him- In verse 12 we see that the breakfast is ready on the shore- they went searching for fish but Jesus provided it for them here. What are you searching for? Whatever it is, it is available with Jesus.
We are all awaiting that great feast. As we make Jesus the Lord of our lives, our journey will be full of blessings. If you are stuck somewhere in your journey with God, respond to his invitation, obey his voice, share your blessings and commune with him again.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.