John 21:4-17 (NIV)
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus taught some of his most profound, groundbreaking, and influential sermons while sitting around a dinner table with sinners and saints alike. In this series, we have pulled up a chair to those sacred meals and listened in on those life-changing truths. We end our series this week with a breakfast. In one of his last interactions with his disciples before his ascension to heaven, Jesus beautifully guides Peter to reconciliation with others, himself, and with the God who gave his life to save him.
Zach spends some time this week diving into the character of Peter, whose idea of himself was difficult for him to live up to in reality. Who do you think you are in your own mind? How are you doing at holding up to those standards and character traits you have set for yourself?
Jesus brings Peter back to his biggest moment of failure—his thrice denial of Christ in John 18:15-27. In the interaction between Peter and Jesus after the resurrection, however, the redemption and grace of Jesus is set before Peter. What moment in your life brings about the most regret or shame when you think back on it? Are you willing to allow yourself to be reconciled to who you were in that moment? Ask Jesus right now to give you the courage to face who you really are rather than who you desire to be.
Jesus asks Peter to own up to who he really is three times in John 21:4-17 and each time Jesus immediately reveals his intense love and grace for Peter. Where do you need to feel the love and grace of Jesus in your own failures? What hurts are you just incapable of facing on your own?
In John 21:4-17, Jesus flips the world upside down—redefining failures as successes and promising to use us for the betterment of his Kingdom right now, not when we have achieved a state of perceived perfection. How does this new definition of success change the way you view yourself and others? What is Jesus calling you to do right now?
The more we see our own brokenness, the more we can relate to others and ultimately forge greater and truer community with one another. What brokenness is Jesus trying to break you of right now? Ask your community to draw near to you as you face those faults. Ask Jesus to bring you all closer together and to him as you move toward reconciliation together.
Zach reminds us that the gospel is not about trying harder; it’s about accepting God’s grace and love as we are reconciled to him through the sacrifice of Jesus, asking for forgiveness, and then reconciling ourselves to who we really are. Where have you found yourself simply attempting to do better on your own? How has that been going for you?
This story reminds us of Peter’s ultimate failure as he turned his back on Jesus by the fire in the courtyard, and allows us to see Peter’s ultimate reconciliation as he leaps from the boat to get to Jesus as fast as he can. Where do you find yourself right now with Jesus? Are you turning away or racing toward him? What would it take for you to want to swim as fast as you can toward him today?
This week we learned about the importance of first being reconciled to God, then being reconciled to ourselves and to others. Through baptism we show the world the beauty of that reconciliation and invite those who love us to join us as we pursue a new life as one who has been reconciled. If baptism is your next right step, consider joining us this Sunday afternoon at the beach. If you have already been baptized, please make an effort to come out to the beach with us this Sunday and support our new brothers and sisters in Christ as they take the plunge!