READ: John 21
THINK: After experiencing the tumultuous events of the last few days, Jesus’ disciples are both physically and emotionally exhausted…and no wonder. Unsure of the future and overwhelmed by the present, the group revisits the past. Peter declares, “I’m going fishing,” the others eagerly hop on board, and the call to ministry is left behind. Whatever your level of discipleship, be prepared for a time when the best plan for the future seems to be returning to your past. No one ever said being a radical would by easy!
Consider the simple but profound lessons to be learned from this story:
Verses 3-5: These disciples fail to catch any fish. Why? Because they were called to be fishers of men! If we go fishing outside of God’s will, we will come up empty.
6: When we obey Jesus we are full. Jesus provides.
9: Everything we need comes to us through the hand of God. God is involved in our lives.
10: Jesus says, “Bring some fish.” He involves us in his ministry. Did Jesus need a little boy to feed the 5000 or Peter to bring some fish? No, but he allows us to participate in these miracles. We have the honor of being called “co-laborers.” The privilege is incredible…it is overwhelming grace.
15-20: This account parallels Peter’s denial: both take place around a fire, in both events he is called “Simon Peter” and both are three-fold statements. Jesus gives Peter the opportunity to express his love three times and is given three commands: feed my lambs; take care of my sheep; tend my sheep. With what? Peter, at first offended, now realizes that he is restored. And he is not only restored, but he is given a mission and a purpose. We have a similar one after our own restoration in Christ: to reach the world with the gospel message.
19: Our salvation is free, but following Jesus may be costly.
20 – 23: Jesus’ words change Peter. We are sanctified for a purpose – to reach out to our world.
24: We serve a great God!
Like the disciples, we will experience failure, fatigue, and even the temptation to abandon our Christian walk. But when those times happen, Jesus will be waiting to restore and renew us. And it will all be worth it!
PRAY: If you know this old gospel chorus, sing it quietly as a prayer of commitment today:
I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow.
The cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back, no turning back.
By: D. Howard