Pastor Eric – John 21:1-19 – One Final Lesson
Fishing is what the disciples did well and now they had gone fishing. This term gone fishing can mean out to lunch. Sadly, it also carries the idea to lose one’s priorities in life. In a deeper sense, it can mean to check out from reality, to have no desire for much of anything. Spiritually speaking, it can describe our relationship with Christ that we no longer have a sense of responsibility to Him or others. We no longer want to serve Christ, because of past hurts, pains or burnout. Even worse, we want nothing to do with Christ or the church.
In any condition, there is hope. Jesus arrives on the scene for one final lesson for His disciples and us so that we won’t check out. So we will not lose faith or hope, but we will maintain a vibrant and faithful relationship and service to the Lord.
Jesus’ final lesson is a crucial lesson for His disciples and us all so that we see how we are to serve the Lord. How might each of us serve our Master not just in the short run but in the long run, for a lifetime?
1) Serve the Lord by His divine power, not your own. Serve Jesus through His strength, not your strength. We can’t honor the Christ in self-sufficiency, not by our own talent, and not even by our own intelligence. (John 21:1-8)
Again, the disciples are back in the boat. They are expert fishermen and they know their trade, yet they have caught absolutely nothing. Jesus uses this moment to make a final mark to show them He is the supreme authority over nature, because He is God. As God, He is always our source of power in salvation and in life!!!
The true reality is that we are not in control but God is. We are actually meek, dependent, and weak beggars who need the strength and power of our God. The disciples, like us must serve Christ out of His powerful Spirit rather than any human spirit or power.
2) Serve the Lord out of His abundant grace. It is because of grace that we even get to serve God in the first place. It is a privilege and honor to serve the Lord. It is not an obligation or a duty but a gift. (John 21:9-14)
This is no ordinary scene as Jesus links John 21 and John 18:15-18 together. These two scenes are linked by a charcoal fire. In John 18, Peter denies Jesus not just once, but three times. Then, Peter warms himself by the fire, and he has warmed his heart with sin and denial.
In John 21, Jesus transforms Peter’s life. Peter must have smelled the flame and have been drawn back to his betrayal. Yet Jesus changes the aroma of the moment from betrayal to forgiveness, from sin to grace. The flavor of the moment is turned upside down. Grace has come and it abounds. The unmerited favor of God has redeemed a traitor like Peter.
As believers, we are not only saved by grace, but we serve the Lord by grace. Today, you might feel unworthy to serve God like Peter. But if God can forgive and use someone like Peter, then God can use anyone. God can use all of us even with our mess ups even with our faults, and God wants to use you. So, never give into the lies of Satan that you are unworthy, you are made worthy by the blood of Christ.
3) Serve the Lord with a deep affection for the Savior. Serve the Lord with a great love and desire for Christ, because He first loved us. God loved us to serve Him. (John 21:15-17)
Why does Jesus ask the same question over and over again to Peter? Well, Jesus’ intention is two-fold: restoration and commission. Jesus forgives and restores a relationship with Peter. Then, Jesus sends Peter out to be the leader of the church. The key to service is love. There is nothing more or less that you can do than love Jesus, because if we love God, then we will ultimately serve Him.
Why is a love for Christ so important? Why is this final lesson of love so crucial to His disciples, Peter, and us? (John 21:18-19) Because following Jesus, serving Jesus, will ultimately cost you your life. Jesus explains to Peter when you were young you could do whatever you wanted. Go there and come here. But now, you’ve met your Maker, you have been shown grace upon grace, your life is not your own. Jesus prophesies Peter’s future of crucifixion and death for following Him.
You see if it costs Jesus His life, then certainly it will cost you and I, ours as well. We might not physically die like Peter did, but it will cost us something substantial: your wallet, your career, your lifestyle, your pride, or your comfort. Think about what following Christ is going to cost you today.
Sadly, the church many of times is stuck acting like the world. We serve lesser gods than the one true God. We love and treasure our toys and the lust of the flesh more than Christ the King. We too have gone fishing for the world too often.
Thus, Jesus asks you, will you love Jesus with all your heart or just part of it? Will you sacrifice for the Lord like He sacrificed for you? Will you serve Him when it’s cost you or just when it’s convenient? Will you surrender your sin and lifestyle to Him or will you keep holding onto it?
Let us each say “Yes, I love You Lord, and I desire to serve You just as You loved and served Me first!”