John Chapter 21
Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples:
(Read John 21:1-14)
In this chapter we read about our Lord's appearance to seven disciples and the restoration of Peter. After the resurrection of Jesus, Peter decided to go fishing. It was his vocation when Jesus called him to follow. Though he did not invite others, some disciples volunteered to go with him. Our decisions can negatively influence others. There is no indication that Peter intended to return to his old occupation permanently. Paul was a tentmaker. Whatever our vocation, Jesus meets us there to restore us to usefulness for him. Jesus appeared to the disciples by the sea of Galilee. They caught nothing during the night. Without Christ we can do nothing. Peter has failed again in his impulsiveness. Then in the early morning they heard a voice of a stranger from the shore asking, “Children, do you have any fish?" They said no. Jesus said, "Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some ''. They obeyed Jesus. There was something compelling about Jesus' command. They caught 153 large fish, and the net was not torn. They could not draw in the net because it was so heavy. Jesus filled their net with fish. The same Jesus fills the church with souls through the preaching of the gospel today (Acts 2:41). Without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). Then John said to Peter ``It is the Lord”. How did John recognize Jesus? Jesus had done the same thing before (Luke 5:4-11). Immediately Peter jumped into the water and reached the shore. Other disciples joined Peter. By that time Christ had already prepared a meal for them. Jesus asked them to bring some fish they have just caught. Thus, Christ manifested His glory. Jesus invited them to come and dine. He served them bread and fish. They ate in silence under the weight of their guilt. Only Jesus could fill the net. Jesus changed fishermen into fishers of men. Are you willing to be a witness for Christ?
Jesus Challenges Peter to Love Him.
(Read John 21:15-19)
Here we see one of the greatest restoration stories (John 21:15-17). Peter experienced the reconciling and healing power of the gospel. When Peter had denied his Lord, he went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62). Peter also knew that Jesus had forgiven him. He had denied Jesus three times. Now the Lord asks Peter to affirm his love toward him three times. The gospel brings godly sorrows that lead to repentance and forgiveness of sin (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). Jesus asked Peter "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these"? The Lord was probing the sincerity of Peter's love. Jesus focuses on heart transformation in Peter's life. First two times Jesus used the word, Agape. It means God's sacrificial love. Peter responded, “I love you.” He was using the word Phileo which means deep affection or brotherly love. Jesus asked Peter a third time, "Do you love me with Phileo love? Peter was grieved and responded "Lord , you know everything . You know that I love you". Here Peter was using the word Phileo, which means friendship love. Thus, Peter affirmed his devotion to the Lord before receiving the call to feed the sheep. Jesus said to Peter "Feed my sheep". Jesus knew that Peter would fail again yet His grace is sufficient for him (Galatians 2:11-21). Jesus is the good Shepherd who gave his life for the sheep. He is also the chief Shepherd who restores his sheep. They are under his care. And when the chief Shepherd appears, they will receive the crown of glory for their faithful service (1 Peter 5: 2-4). Love for God must be our motivation to serve Christ. If we love God, we will obey him (John 14:23). Then we love the things Christ loves and hate what He hates. Those who love the Lord will long for His return. Like Peter, we all have failed the Lord many times. When Peter repented, he was restored. Our Lord is the Lord of second chances. He is the forgiving, Savior. Jesus will restore all those who come to him in repentance. Christ seeks sincere devotion and commitment from his disciples. The first and the last invitation Peter received from the Lord was “follow me” (Mark 1:17; John 21:19). Do you follow Jesus Christ? Jesus' restoration of Peter is an amazing example of his love and mercy towards sinners.
(Read John 21:18-25)
Peter was told to expect a death similar to the one the Christ experienced (John 21:18). The phrase, “When you are old” may indicate that Peter will have long and useful years of service. Peter’s attention immediately turned to John. He asked Jesus, what about John? Jesus said to Peter, “You just follow me”. Peter was fully restored but he was not fully transformed yet. He was distracted by the thought about the future of John. How easy it is for us to become distracted by others calling and their ministry. It is dangerous to be envious of someone else's calling. We must not compare ourselves with others but remain committed to our calling. Every Christians has a unique role in the ministry of the gospel. The good shepherd leads his sheep as he pleases. Jesus not only gives us saving grace but also serving grace. The disciple mentioned in verse 24 refers to John who wrote the gospel. The entire Gospel is the testimony of John about Jesus and his ministry. The emphasis of his gospel is the deity of Christ. John says that he could write only a small portion of what Jesus has done. Jesus is asking each one of us this question, "Do you love me"? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? God bless you all.