Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Peter Restored by John

Peter Restored
John 21:1-19

1. Simon Peter has certainly been the most prominent disciple in the minds of many people since early times.
(1) Fox’s Book of the Martyrs has an appealing story about Peter’s death. He was condemned to be crucified. He did not try to get out of it, but requested That he be crucified upsidedown so that no one would confuse him with Jesus.
(2) The Catholic Church declared him to be the first Pope. That insured them that no other denomination could claim a direct lineage from the apostles.
(3) Catholic theologians also declared Peter to be the keeper of the keys of the kingdom of heaven. I believe they misinterpreted Mt. 16:17-19. which says, “Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’” In v 16, Peter had said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
2. Peter’s future held great promise. God chose him to lead the way in the evangelization of the world!

I. God chose Peter to lead, but Peter failed.

1. His personality fit what we think of as a hero. He was bold, quick-acting, a real man’s man, and he seemed to be fearless.
2. In reality, he had some great weaknesses like we all do.
(1) On the plus side, Peter was willing to die with Jesus.
(2) On the negative side, it had to be on his own terms.
3. He was willing to go out in a blaze of glory fighting for his belief in Jesus, but he was not willing to die as a common criminal on a cross.
4. As far as I can see, Simon Peter did not understand that God’s plan was to bring triumph out of tragedy.
5. His lack of vision caused him to deny the Lord three times. You know the story.
6. Each time he denied Jesus, he did it more vehemently, and by the way, you will discover, if you haven’t already, that we all do the same thing. Each time we deny the Lord, we get worse. Our denials become louder, stronger and more harsh.
7. Jesus had already told Simon Peter that Satan desired him, but that he had prayed for him. He prays for us, too. You can count on that brethren. Hebrews 7:24, “Because Jesus lives forever he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
8. All of us hate to fail, don’t we? I’m sure the thought never entered Peter’s mind.
9. Well, what happens when a Christian fails to accomplish what God has called him to do? (In a regular job, you would be fired, right?)
(1) Well, two things are for sure! God does not punish him, and He does not throw him aside! Romans 11:29 says, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”
(2) That means our failures become stepping stones on the way to victory in Jesus!
(3) Peter became victorious, and God will make us victorious, too!
(4) God never fails, and He never fails with us!

II. It was not an easy road, but Peter fulfilled God’s plan for his life!

1. At the time of our text, Jesus had already arisen from the dead, and He had appeared twice to the disciples.
2. I think Simon Peter was probably on pins and needles, don’t you.
3. I’m sure he had no idea where he stood with the Lord.
4. Can you imagine how he must have felt?
5, God had already given him an inkling about how He treated His children.
(1) Thomas refused to believe Jesus was alive.
(2) Peter saw how tenderly and how lovingly the Lord treated Thomas.
(3) In his heart, I’m sure he hoped the Lord would be just as kind to him as He was to Thomas!..
6. The apostles were at loose ends, without direction. They had orders from headquarters in Mt. 18:18-20, but I doubt they even realized at that moment what God planned for them to do.
7. Peter, God’s chosen leader took over.
(1) Simon told the other apostles that he was going fishing..
a. He didn’t suggest that anyone go with him even though it was definitely not a one man job.
b. I’m sure he hoped someone would come along.
(2) He had not fished, as far as we know, in three years!
(3) But he obviously planned to return to his old life.
8. The sons of Zebedee were fishermen, too, and they and others went along with Peter. It didn’t seem like it to them, but Peter led them astray!
9. That happens when we stop looking to Jesus and start looking to men!
10. What happens to us when we go astray?
(1) Well, the apostles fished all night without catching a thing!
(2) That’s frustrating, tiring, and it usually means you have deprived yourself of food and water. That makes it harder. You feel defeated!
(3) I’ve done that, and nothing is much more tiring than fishing all night without anything to eat, and probably cold, even in that country!
(4) Daybreak came, and someone yelled at them from shore, “Have you caught any fish?” It was Jesus!
(5) Then He told them to cast their net on the “right side of the boat, and you will find some.” They did and suddenly the net was filled with great fish! (Usually the fish in that lake were about hand size, so these were much, much bigger.)
(6) It was John who told Peter, “It’s the Lord!”
11. I think Peter forgot all of his troubles and fears in that moment. He put on his outer clothing, leaped into the water and swam to Jesus.
(1) That’s just the opposite of what a person does who is going to take a swim. Why did he do that?
(2) He was ashamed!
(3) But he did the right thing! He went to Jesus!
12. When he got to the shore, he discovered a fire of coals. (Now I don’t know how much you know about fires built out in the open like that, but it takes quite a while to get a fire of damp driftwood going, and then a lot longer to get it reduced to red hot coals.)
13. Jesus must have waited and watched all night for his disciples to find out they would not catch fish without the Lord’s blessing!
14. Jesus told them to bring some of the fish.
(1) He knew they were hungry, and He knew they needed to be fed.
(2) Their bodies needed nourishment so that they could take in the spiritual food He was about to give them.

III. He Gave Peter a Significant Lesson.

1. After they had eaten, Jesus turned to Simon and motioned for him to follow.
2. Jesus led the way, and He asked Simon, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
(1) “These?” Who or what were the “these” that Jesus referred to?
a. Did He wave His hand toward the other disciples?
b. Did He point at the 150 fish? (I figure they probably ate three!)
c. Did He wave at the boat and the nets?
(2) We don’t know. Maybe Peter thought He loved Jesus more than John and the other apostles, at least, until he proved unwilling to die with Jesus.
(3) Maybe He referred to the business of catching fish for a living. There seems to be a lot of us who think we have to devote all our time and energy to making money!
(4) Perhaps He referred to the tools, the boat, the nets, the oars, things that Peter could hold in his hands like he held the sword when he cut Malchus’ ear off. We all do love our houses, our automobiles, our hand tools, all of these things of life, don’t we?
3. Oh by the way, Jesus used the Greek word “a-ga-pey.” That’s the highest form of love. It’s the kind of love God bestowed on us when He sent Jesus to die for us!
4. I think Peter’s head dropped to his chest as he said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Peter used the Greek word “phil-eh-o” which means the kind of love we have for our brothers and sisters.
5. I think by this time, Peter was aware that Jesus knew exactly what was in his heart! That’s a good revelation for him to have! We ought to have that revelation, too.
6. Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (For understanding let me say it this way, “Peter since you love me like a brother provide for my little, helpless, pet lambs!”
7. Jesus asked Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?”
8. Peter answered Him as before, “Lord, you know that I love you.” (They both used the same words as before.)
9. Jesus said, “Take care of, or shepherd, my sheep.” (Now lambs are “arn-i-on” in Greek, and old, mature sheep are called “pro-bot-ah.” Jesus definitely added another facet to Peter’s work!.
10. The third time Jesus questioned Peter, he used Peter’s own word for “love.”
11. Before Jesus asked for the highest, and now He lowered His sights to the lower (1) level where Peter was, and Peter was devastated!
(2) He longed to reach the highest mark for Jesus, but in his restored honesty, he had to admit his love was not the highest! (I remember the story about a young man declaring his love for the girl of his choice just before he went home. He said, “I love you so much, I’d climb the highest mountain just to get to you! I’d swim the deepest ocean just to get to your side! I’d fight off an army just to be with you!” As he left he turned and called out, “I’ll be over about seven this evening...if it doesn’t rain!” Simon Peter loved Jesus like that. Do we love Him more than that?
12. Jesus said, “Boske ta probata mou.” That means “Feed my sheep.”
13. Some students see a progression in the words of Jesus in these three commands, but I do not think so. He simply told Peter what every person called of God is to do. We are to feed the little ones the Word of God. We are to shepherd the whole flock of God, and we are to be constantly feeding the adults God’s Word!
14. What Jesus said to Peter, He actually said to all the disciples! We are His disciples, too, and they are commands to us!

Conclusion:

1. Peter’s life held great promise - so does yours!
1. Peter failed Jesus, not because he was cowardly, but because he couldn’t do it his way!
2. I’m sure he expected to be cast out of the family, but he learned that Jesus never stops working with us. Failures just become stepping stones in our walk with the Lord.
3. Our task given to us by Jesus is:
(1) to feed His little children, and they are all His!
(2) shepherd His whole flock, and that means to provide their spiritual needs for growth in the Lord through His Word.
(3) and to feed His adult sheep constantly and continually.
4. Do we love Jesus enough to do it His way? Or are we going to try our own way?
5. Will we be like Peter was when he was a fisherman of fish, or like Peter was when he became a fisher of men?
6. Talk to the Lord about it right now. Once He starts to work in your life, He never stops until the victory is completely won!

Emmanuel Community Church 11/27/2005

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