The End Brings A New Beginning
(by Elsa Day)
Read John 21:1-19
I am so glad that John includes this incident after all the excitement of Jesus return.
Did you notice Peter says ‘I’m going fishing’ not, ‘Who’s coming with me?’ Peter, leader of the Disciples knows that he is no longer worthy of being a leader, Why? Because he is a failure. No longer worthy of even calling himself a ‘Fisher of Men’…he has taken a good look at himself and realised he was after all just…. a Fisherman.
The fact that the others joined him tells us they still view him as leader but were also all feeling much the same failures.
Who doesn’t recognise this place? I remember giving my life to Jesus when I was 14yrs old; but about 1 year later I went hear the young Billy Graham preach at Harringay Stadium in London and, yes, I went forward again knowing in just 12mths I had failed miserably.
My wise minister took me aside and said, “Don’t feel too badly, we all fail, just remember Jesus understands our weaknesses, He knows we will fail Him but He forgives us. He knows your heart and He still loves you, Elsa, and He still wants you as His follower.” How could he be so sure? Doesn’t Good Friday tell us that?
The sky was black, the storm raged, throwing lightning bolts across the heavens, the earth shook, the great Temple Curtain tore into two…. was God about to finish with the world once and for all? We deserved it…. and then came that cry………..‘Father, forgive them!!!’
How could The Father, despite His Grief, deny His only Son’s last request… Father, forgive.
This group of disillusioned friends knowing that each of them had failed their Lord, even failed as fishmen that night for they had caught nothing…then came a call from shore “No luck with the fishing?” “No,” came their reply. “Throw your nets on the right side of the boat, you’ll find some there” and they did. Their catch was enormous.
Hadn’t someone once before called out those very same words when they had first been called to follow Jesus… this was deja vu for the friends. John it was who first realises who this stranger must be, but it is Peter who first jumps into the water, followed by the rest.
I had to smile, when in response to Jesus request to bring some fish to cook on the fire Peter began to haul in the whole net full! So typical, larger than life Peter.
They had a meal together….I get the feeling, don’t you of Peter distancing himself from Jesus…
Then Jesus calls to Peter to come and sit with Him.
“Do you love Me?” he asks him. “Yes Lord, You know I do.” Twice Jesus puts the question, “Feed my sheep.” is the command. Then it comes a Third time, and this time Peter’s response is, “Lord You know all things, You know that I love You.”…Peter has opened himself up to the scrutiny of Jesus …nothing hidden, “Feed my sheep.” once more Jesus give him this authority. But…
Jesus doesn’t finish there. He goes on to predict the kind of death Peter will die… It will be a Crucifixion… Peter knows what will happen to him in the future, yet Jesus calls him once again to “Follow Me” confident that Peter will.
Yes, Peter had denied Jesus because of fear, in that courtyard of torture, Jesus allows Peter this opportunity to affirm his love, and three times He’s recommissioned, Jesus still wants him as Leader which is his gifting, but reminds him that he is also His beloved Follower.
Jesus doesn’t change… we all mess up, we all fail we all meet difficulties with various responses. Sometimes we overcome, times when we keep smiling, sometimes we keep faith but more often we Fail, we get disillusioned and angry and hurt and we can blame God, but more often we blame Ourselves. Yet Jesus still holds out His hand to us… He has dealt with sin…Yes, even ours!!
What He still asks us is this most important question… “Do you… love Me?” What He longs to hear is our “YES LORD, YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT ME… YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU.”KNOW that He still chooses you and me, to Serve Him using whatever our gifts may be, and to keep Following Him, our Victorious and Gracious Saviour, Lord and King… Praise Him!!!