EASTER MEANS YOU GET A SECOND CHANCE
John 21:1-7 1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.
Overall Background: The passage we just read is one of my most favorite passages in the Bible. It takes place after Jesus rose from the dead. He had already shown Himself to His disciples—some individually and some in a group. For all practical purposes, His work on earth was done. The only thing left for Him was to send the Holy Spirit to energize and empower the church to go out and share the good news of salvation. John could have ended his book in chapter 20 but he goes on to chapter 21 for one reason – Simon Peter. Peter had denied Jesus three times before the crucifixion.
You remember the story – on the night of the crucifixion Jesus had told His disciples that it was time for Him to give His life for them; that He had to go away for a little while and where He was going, they couldn’t come. You remember Peter’s response – “Even though the rest may fall away, I won’t. I’ll even lay down my life for you.” (Paraphrase) Mark in his gospel tells us that he was insistent that he wouldn’t betray Him.
For e.g. Like a child who insists upon going with his father. “I promise I won’t fall asleep.”
We know the result. Just as Jesus had prophesied, Peter denied his Master at least three times and the rooster crowed twice. Luke tells us that right then Jesus turned and looked at Peter and Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him and he went out and wept bitterly. Those were tears of shame, disappointment, guilt, failure, and self-condemnation.
Application: I believe there are many here this morning that are crying the same tears of shame, disappointment, guilt, failure, and self-condemnation. They may not be visible but they are there. You promised God that you would do better; you promised God that you would obey Him better; you promised God that you would never turn your back on Him; and then you failed. Easter means you get a second chance.
There are 4 things we find in this passage that will give you hope.
I. SELF-CONDEMNATION IS A MISERABLE LIFE.
3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
Background: Keep in mind—Peter knew that Jesus had risen from the dead. In fact, Jesus had already personally visited Peter. He knew his calling. Jesus had called him to be a fisher of men but he had gone back to being a fisherman. Why? Because he was living in self-condemnation. I failed Jesus. I just don’t have what it takes.
For e.g. Things are going on at church—come join us. I can’t. I can’t do my devotions right now; I can’t pray right now; I can’t sing right now; I can’t serve right now. Why? I am living in self-condemnation. We don’t say it but we think it. Self-condemnation is behind more backsliding than anything else.
The problem with self-condemnation is that it is contagious. They said to him, “We are going with you also.” 6 more disciples followed Peter. Misery loves company. Show me a person who is down on their circumstances, failures, mistakes, and I will show 6 more around him/her who are also down on their circumstances, failures, and mistakes. What’s the result? They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. Maybe they had forgotten what their Master had told them in John 15:5 “without Me you can do nothing.” A Self-condemning life is a fruitless life. Nothing seems to work out. No prospect in sight. No hope. No joy. No peace. No vision. There was a time in my life when I was in this very place. No matter what I did, it didn’t prosper.
Application: May I ask you a difficult question—Is what we are talking about sound familiar to you?
II. JESUS COMES TO US IN GRACE NOT CONDEMNATION.
4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
Background: You would expect Jesus to come with anger and disappointment. Instead He comes with forgiveness and grace. He does not condemn them for going fishing but helps them find fish. That is the nature of God. Just when we think we don’t deserve grace, we receive grace; just when we think we have been discarded, He comes to restore us. Just when we think that He won’t help us. He does.
Someone might say, “You don’t know how bad I have been.” Listen to Romans 8:33-34 33Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Meaning: We not only have the Holy Spirit interceding for us but we also have Jesus praying for us. Jesus, who knows our every weakness, is the one who is interceding for us.
Application: Why do we listen to the enemy? Why do we only think of negative thoughts?
III. ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THOSE WHO LOVE GOD.
John tells Peter “It is the Lord!” and Peter puts on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunges into the sea. When the rest come to the land, they see fire of coals and fish laid on it and bread. Jesus says to them “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” How beautiful is that passage? Jesus not only had the breakfast prepared for them but He even asked them to bring some of the fish they had just caught and included it. Altogether, they had 153 fish. Peter pulled in the net and it didn’t even break.
The beauty of the Christian life is that God uses even the broken and shattered pieces of our lives to bring something good. Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Donald Grey Barnhouse used to say, “God is the greatest junk dealer in the history of the universe.” He will take whatever is there and bring something good.
Application: Are you done with your broken and shattered pieces? Give them to Him.
IV. HE ONLY ASKS US TO LOVE HIM.
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord.
Background: Why did John put that in here? They knew what Jesus looked like. Was that His glorified body? If it were, the Bible would have said something about that? Why this distance? In fact, they spoke only one word to Jesus so far. “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.”
They felt very unworthy. What does He want from us? We are nothing. We cannot do anything for Him but disappoint Him. He is God!
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt?
Who am I, that the bright and morning star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wondering heart?
Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You are
13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.
You can imagine the disciples, especially Peter, wondering what does He want.
Then comes the well-known conversation between Jesus and Peter. Jesus asks Peter – “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter replies, “Yes Lord;you know that I love you.” Then, “Feed My lambs.” “Tend My sheep.” On the third time Peter was grieved and he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Then “Feed My sheep.
Meaning: Peter – I’m not through with you. I still need you. I still have work for you. You were not supposed to follow me to the cross. I was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. I had to die. I had to fulfill the prophecies.
Application: Let me say this as clearly as possible. You and I cannot go down that path. We cannot die for our sins. We cannot earn our own salvation. All you can do is step back and see Jesus walking to the cross, being nailed to the cross, and dying on the cross for your sins. All you can do is accept His sacrifice for your sins and thank Him for walking that path for you. Have you done that?
Application: There are many people here this morning for whatever reason you feel God is through with you but He is not.
Personal Example: I thought for sometime that I had disappointed God and that I was no longer worthy. Everything I attempted was fruitless until I met Nicole’s dad. Just a handshake showed me that he loved me. You may not see Jesus face-to-face but you can feel His love in the smiles and the handshakes in this place.
Have you received His love? Do you love Him?