Online Worship for Easter Six – Sunday May 22, 2022
Sermon for Easter Six – Sunday May 22, 2022
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you. Amen.
John 21:1-14 ESV
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. **
In the Name of Jesus, the Christ –
Who would have us leave all and follow Him,
Dear Fellow Redeemed in His Most Precious Blood –
Fishing can be like Hockey. Wait! Let me explain...
In my experience fishing can sometimes be rather routine, whether on a stream or a lake. What I mean is you toss your worm and bobber in the water...and wait. You cast your lure away from the boat and slowly retrieve it. Sometimes you wait a long time before that bobber starts to bounce and goes under the water. Sometimes you cast 20 or 30 times and get no hit, nothing, nada...then suddenly...boom...fish on!
Hockey can be the same way...skating and passing, moving and skating, trading zone time. Whole periods can go without a single score, a single goal...then suddenly...boom...Goal!
There had been lots of excitement in the lives of Jesus’ disciples recently. They followed Him to Jerusalem. They ate the Passover with Him and retired to Gethsemane to pray as they had throughout Holy Week. Suddenly...Judas came with soldiers and took Jesus into custody.
He was crucified the next morning, and buried by the late afternoon. They went into hiding thinking that the same could happen to them. Then on the third day everything changed. Jesus arose from death and appeared to the women, to Mary Magdalene, to Peter and the Emmaus Disciples and finally to 10 of the 11 disciples all in one day....boom...He Lives!
Jesus appeared to them again a week later...and then it was quiet. The disciples went home from Jerusalem. Peter and Andrew, James and John, Thomas and Nathanael returned to Galilee....but they kept in touch. They expected that Jesus had more instruction for them.
We have collected a number of things left behind: a large stone, linen cloths, a face cloth and an uneaten meal. We conclude our series this morning with what Simon Peter left behind – friends and fishes for Jesus. God help us that if called upon to do the same we cinch up our belts and plunge into the sea.
As always, we seek the blessing of the Holy Spirit and pray: “Sanctify us by your truth, O Lord, Your Word is Truth.” Amen.
I’ve lived a number of places in my life...Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, South Dakota; but when I moved away from Marquette I missed the Lake – Lake Superior. I’m not sure when I first began to long for the Lake...probably when I went away to school in Wisconsin. When my children played on the beach in Corpus Christi, Texas...I missed this lake. When we spent time at Lake Kampeska and Lake Pelican near Watertown, South Dakota...I compared their waters to this lake. There was no comparison.
Simon Peter had been following Jesus for three years and I would guess that from time to time He missed his lake, the Lake of Galilee (also called Gennesaret and Tiberias). He was a fisherman by trade along with his brother, Andrew. They had partners in their endeavor, James and John the sons of a man named Zebedee. Peter was a fisherman when his brother Andrew, who had taken to following John the Baptist (John 1:35-42), introduced him to Jesus of Nazareth.
The two brothers went back to fishing...until Jesus of Nazareth came for them. The Gospel of Luke relates how it happened (Luke 5:1-11). It was early in Jesus’ ministry and the multitudes were already seeking him out and following Him to hear Him.
One day a crowd followed Jesus to the shore of the Lake. Peter and his brother, along with James and John had spent the night fishing without any luck (Hey, they call it fishing, not catching! Sometimes you get skunked, even with a net). Their quiet morning was interrupted by the murmuring of the crowd until Jesus climbed into Peter’s boat and asked him to push off a little from the land (creating a natural amphitheater).
Jesus taught the crowd from the boat. Peter and Andrew, James and John must have heard him too. When Jesus finished, he turned to Peter who was repairing his net and said (Luke 5:4):
“Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”
Simon Peter balked at first (they had fished all night) but He did as Jesus suggested. They suddenly caught so many fish that their net was breaking. They signaled James and John to come help and they started shoveling the fish from the net to the boat until both boats were full of fish and near to sinking.
After all, the LORD doesn’t only provide our needs...but often He provides in abundance. So often when we try to do things ourselves, to make plans and try to implement them that they fail. Then suddenly, out of the blue, the Lord blesses us richly, beyond what we expected! He equips us to carry out the tasks He gives us.
Simon Peter recognized that their catch was not the result of His skills as a fisherman. He fell at Jesus’ feet and said (Luke 5:8):
“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Jesus had not left him, even though it was true. Instead, Jesus smiled and said to Peter (Luke 5:10):
“Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
So as crazy as it sounds, that’s what they had done. They brought their boats to land and they left their nets and their jobs behind and followed Jesus. They followed him for 3 years. They watched him work miracles and raise the dead. They watched Him die and saw him alive again.
Simon Peter came full circle...and one day the Lake called to him again. He was with his old partners (James and John) and his new friends (Thomas, Nathanael and two other unnamed disciples).
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.
They spent the night fishing and caught nothing. They were still on the water in the early morning as the sun began to rise (John 21:4) when they noticed a single figure standing on the shore. They didn’t recognize Him (Hey it was early morning and they were a good 100 yards (John 21:8) out in the Lake).
He was friendly, first asking if they had any luck. Nope. Nothing.
Then he made a suggestion (John 21:6):
“Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”
So, I can tell you how I’d have responded. “Hardy Har Har! Good One!” There’s always someone who figures that they know how to do your job better than you do.
They didn’t respond with sarcasm. They did what he asked. What would it hurt to try one more time? Right? You know how it is with fishing, “Wait, one more cast.”
Then they couldn’t move the net. Was it caught on the bottom? No, it was just really heavy. They couldn’t even haul it into the boat because it was so full of fish!
It was Deja Vu all over again. John turned to Peter and said (John 21:7):
“It is the Lord!”
Simon Peter put on his cloak and threw himself into the Lake. It was Jesus. He had seen Him countless times but after the Resurrection it was different. All of Peter’s doubts and fears were gone. Jesus really was the Messiah, the Son of God.
Then for a second time in his life...Simon Peter left something behind. He didn’t leave his cloak, his outer garment, but wrapped it around his waist. No, Peter left behind his friends as he had on another occasion when Jesus bid him to walk to him on the Sea. He left behind his friends and fish focused on Jesus. He had done it before and He would do it again. He would take his marching orders from the risen Christ until He himself was crucified upside down.
Simon Peter left his friends behind for Jesus. On this occasion it was a brief separation, but it showed where Peter’s heart was first and foremost – with Jesus.
The time may come when you and I are faced with a similar decision. If friends and acquaintances turn from Jesus and depart from Him; if they stop listening to His Word and deny Him...we may be forced to decide whether to follow Jesus or follow them. God grant us the focus of Peter to plunge into the Lake after Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t only want the hour time-slot on Sunday Mornings from 9:30-10:30. He wants to be your number one, to be the first call in sickness, the first person you thank when blessed, the first person you seek when you awaken in the morning and the last person you think of when you close your eyes to sleep.
Jesus said (Matthew 10:37-39):
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Simon Peter didn’t only leave his friends behind; he left his occupation. As a fisherman, Peter knew better than most what was the value of 153 large fish. He didn’t think twice about leaving them behind. He wasn’t concerned about them getting away. Jesus was the most important thing.
The time may come when you are faced with a choice...to take a well-paying job in a place where there isn’t a church or to settle for fewer dollars. It’s really a matter of asking, what is my soul worth? Is a bigger house and a second car worth sacrificing regular spiritual food? We count the cost on everything else: “I’ll take the store brand and save 10 cents.” Shouldn’t we also count the cost of our faith? Is the most valuable thing I possess bought with dollars and cents or does it come to me free of charge from God’s Word?
Jesus answered that question for Martha (Luke 10:41-42):
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Let us pray: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, my Savior. Grant that I may always count you my dearest treasure and strive to stay close to you every day so that when my last hour comes, I may leave friends and fishes to look upon You face to face on account of Your sacrificial death and glorious resurrection.”