Photo by Jodi. Fremont morning sky after dropping kids at school. Love this place! 2012
IX. The Sermon: The End – and the Beginning – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church. The Sermon Passage: John 21
The Big Idea: The resurrected Christ feeds and reinstates his disciples so that they may fulfill his purpose for their lives.
I. Why are they fishing? (vv. 1-14).
They have just witnessed the greatest event in all the world, and Jesus has already met them in person after his resurrection. Inspite of all this, they return fishing. God’s grand plan of redemption has been unfolded and they go back fishing. Why? Golf had not been invented yet?
Jesus went to the cross alone and abandoned by his desciples. A couple of woman and a couple of unlikely desciples (Joseph and Nicodemus) are the only ones who connect with him in and after his death.
Truth be told, we are all like the desciples in our unbelief and indifference to the grand narrative of the gospel of God.
In Acts 2, a matter of days later than this fishing event in John, these same desciples get the holy spirit. Without the holy spirit giving us deep affection in our hearts for his glory over ours, the desciples would continue in their fishing and indifference. This is just like us and the absolute necessity that the holy spirit has a huge role to play in our daily lives.
Prayerfully, this is how we can approach Sundays in our time of gathering – dependent upon the holy spirit to show us as great the things of the gospel that ARE so great!
II. Fed, restored and reinstated for a purpose (vv. 15-23) .
Jesus is by a charcoal fire just like when Peter was by the same type of charcole fire when he denied Jesus three times. There is no way that Peter could stand there on that day and miss what Jesus is doing by restoring him from his betrayal. Jesus also asks him the same question three times to further make this restoration point so Peter won’t miss it.
No longer does Peter say he is proving to Jesus that he can lead this band of men. Instead he says, Jesus, you know. He is not going to prove it to Jesus but rather he will be still and quiet and say Jesus, YOU know.
Culturally, it was a huge deal to have a meal together. It was deep fellowship. Jesus is saying that, yes, you desciples are train wrecks, but you are my train wrecks and let’s have a meal together. Jesus does not rely on them to do the changing but on God’s great power.
The purpose Jesus restores Peter includes feeding Jesus’ sheep and suffering. Jesus says that Peter will be crucified like Christ but upside down. If you have been reconciled to Christ, you have been reconciled for a purpose. This purpose is not just for indivual blessing but, like Abraham, to be a blessing to others.
The church belongs to Jesus. It is not mine or ours. The sheep do not belong to pastor Kyle. The sheep belong to Jesus. It is his church.
As we talk about restoring the building on 6th and Main, this truth becomes very crucial.
III. Stop eating non-food! (v. 24).
If what the desciples have written in the four gospels is such a great fact and it is true, then why did you go back fishing?
Your food as Jesus’ sheep as his followers is his word. That is why John ends this book saying that this is true, and it is your food to live on.
One of the ways we do know this is true and not made up is the unattractive, weak light that the desciples continue to paint themselves. If they made it up, why write in that you continued to act like an idiot? There is one hero in the story, and that is Jesus.
Amos 8 says there will be a time when there is a famine in the land of God’s word not be readily found. Today, however, it is common to hear from pulpits that we are the hero of our own story. This is not food but malnutrition will cause sickness in our hearts. Eat heartily on Jesus’ words as John closes with that exhortation.
1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 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 will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.