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Apr 22 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

April 21, 2019


Luke 24:1-12 and John 21:1-12

Intro: Since the first Sunday of the year, we’ve been looking at the Gospel of John in relation to the Synoptic Gospels

Here in the last chapter of John, we find an interesting correlation
– in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, at beginning of Jesus’ ministry,
• he encounters four fishermen whom he calls to follow him
◦ Andrew and Peter are casting their net into the water
◦ James and John are in their boat mending their nets
• the Gospel of Luke tells us Jesus saw two empty boats by the shore
◦ he explains that the fishermen were washing their nets
▫ Jesus stepped into a boat that happened to belong to Peter
▫ from there he taught the people crowded on the shore
◦ after dismissing the crowd, Jesus said to Peter, “Let’s fish!”
And Simon answered him, Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! (Lk. 5:4-5)
▫ but at Jesus’ word, he went back out into deep water and dropped his nets
▫ soon his nets so full they were breaking
▫ Peter called to his partners for help
▫ soon their boats were so full, they began to sink
• that’s when Peter’s eyes were open
◦ he fell at Jesus’ knees and said,
Depart from me, for I am a sinful man
◦ Jesus answered,
Do not be afraid, from now on you will be catching men
– so in the Synoptic Gospels, the story of Jesus first disciples is about fishermen and their nets

At the end of the Gospel of John we are taken back to Sea of Galilee
– here we find the disciples last encounter with Jesus (that John records)
• again, Peter, James and John have fished all night and caught nothing
• again, Jesus instructs them to do something that makes no sense
◦ and again, their net fills so that they cannot haul it into the boat
– So John brings first disciples full circle
• they’re back to where they began with Jesus in the Synoptic gospels
◦ John adds a footnote in verse 11
And although there so many [fish], the net was not torn
• Why did John bother with this detail? were nets flimsy and prone to tear?
◦ I wonder if John saw another significance in this fact
◦ not long after, Peter would preach his first sermon’s first sermon,
▫ and 3,000 people would be added to their spiritual community
▫ a couple of chapters later, another ; 2,000 had been added
they would be able to handle these large numbers
and their net would not tear

It may be helpful to pay attention to the grammar in verse 1

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.

The verb tense of “revealed” is active indicative
indicative means this was an actual event, not merely a possibility
active means Jesus was taking the initiative, the action was intentional
– when we look at the people to whom Jesus revealed himself after his resurrection
• it seems he was rather selective
◦ the women who came to the empty tomb; then then disciples
◦ then individuals: Mary, Thomas, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus
◦ now, in this instance, it is Peter
• it seems Jesus had a specific purpose in each encounter

John says Jesus revealed himself to the disciples,
– but the story features one particular disciple – “Simon Peter”
• Jesus definitely has Peter in his cross hairs
• Jesus chose Galilee for the conversation he wanted to have with him
– John opens this scene, and the first disciple mentioned is “Simon Peter”
• the first one to speak was “Simon Peter,” I am going fishing
(there may be layers of meaning beneath that statement)
• the first disciple to recognize Jesus was one whom Jesus loved,
◦ and he identified him to “Peter”
• so it was “Simon Peter” who jumped into water
(this wasn’t the only time he was the first out of the boat)
◦ he could not wait for the boat that had to drag the net full of fish
• when Jesus spoke to one specific disciple, was “Simon Peter”

John has carried us this far, mostly using Peter’s two names

The name he was born with and the name Jesus had given him
– Simon was how people knew him before Jesus
– Peter was the name Jesus gave him

But when Jesus began this conversation, he addressed him as
Simon son of John
– this entire name was Peter’s old identity, before he met Jesus
• and it was exactly how Jesus addressed Peter the first time they met
. . . one of the two [disciples of John the Baptist] who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” …. He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter) (Jn. 1:40-42)
• I think this was Jesus’ first deep cut
◦ it may have sounded to Peter like Jesus was disowning him
◦ or that after all these years he had not made any progress
do you love me more than these? – here is that famous Greek word
• in John, agape refers to a love of deep devotion and affection
◦ it was if Jesus asked, Do you love me as I have loved you
• Peter answered, Yes, Lord; you know I love you as a friend
◦ it seems Peter could not bring himself to use agape so he substituted phileo
◦ Jesus instructed him, Feed my lambs
– Jesus again asked the same question
◦ I think this was the second deep cut
◦ Peter gave the same answer
◦ and the instruction of the Lord, Tend my sheep
– a third time Jesus asked the same question
• only he changed it, from his word to Peter’s word
Do you love me as your friend?
◦ and I imagine this was the third and most painful deep cut
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

What is happening here? Why is Jesus doing this to Peter?

Jesus’ intention was not to condemn or shame Peter, but to restore him
Daniel Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine is especially interested in the neurobiology of interpersonal relationships. He explains that every relationship, no matter how close, experiences rupture–things break, people disappoint, misunderstandings occur. If the rupture is not repaired, distance can grow between the people in the relationship, whether couples, friends, parents, children, etc.
– to hold a relationship together does not mean there’s never a rupture
• but that the rupture is followed by an effort to repair the relationship
• this isn’t easy – we have to let ourselves become vulnerable
◦ we have to face the part we played in causing the rupture
◦ we also have to discover our own deep needs and hurts

From the start, Jesus knew the work he could do through Peter
– Peter also had glimpses of it – flashes of brilliance
• but before Simon could become Peter,
◦ he had to get out of his own way
◦ he had to fail–like Moses, and like Paul later on
Daniel Siegel, “The key [to repair] is to embrace the humility of our humanity …”
– in scripture, the fundamental rupture is in our rel with God
• the fundamental repair is reconciliation
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18)
For in [Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Col. 1:19-20)
• both rupture and reconciliation affect human physiology
◦ Jesus is concerned with healing the whole person
Daniel Siegel, “The great news is that the inner sanctuary from which repair can be initiated is always available to be nurtured and can bring important reconnections in our relationships.

Jesus did not ease into this conversation with Peter
– he went straight to the heart
• Peter was right, Jesus does know all things
◦ he knew that Peter loved him,
◦ he also knew that Peter had to say it to be healed
• and Jesus opened that door for him
– this is how Jesus took a fisherman and turned him into a shepherd

We’re coming to the good part – but first the dark before the dawn

Not everyone in Jesus’ culture loved being out on the lake
(lonely deserts, mountain tops, lakes and oceans represented danger and chaos)
– even in the gospels, the Sea of Galilee can represent futility
• they toiled all night and took nothingthat night they caught nothing – nada!
◦ also, storms on the sea prevented them from making headway
◦ returning to the sea was a regression into a fruitless and futile life
– it may be significant also that they had been fishing at night
• in John, night and darkness have negative connotations
1. Inability to get work done (Jn. 9:4)
2. Tripping, stumbling around, and falling (Jn. 11:9-10)
3. Ignorance of not being able to see what’s right there (Jn. 12:35)
4. Crimes hidden by cover of night (Jn. 3:19-20)
• and John remembered a detail from that last meal, when Judas got up and walked out: And it was night (Jn. 13:30)

Life gets difficult, complicated – it can be painful – overwhelming
– temptation can come at us fast and forcefully
• we fall and perhaps wonder, “Am I really cut out for this?”
• then what?
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore

Conclusion: This is why Easter has always been a big deal

Every sunrise is resurrection – and we share it with Jesus
– we’re no longer stumbling in futility, no longer distant from God
• perhaps I cannot tell Jesus, “Lord, I love you as you love me”
• maybe I cannot even say, “Lord, you know I love you as a friend”
◦ I can at least say, “Lord, I want to love you as you love me”
◦ and that is enough

Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee can be spectacular
Most mornings, ripples sing quietly on the shore
The sun rises over the mountain range that separates Israel from Syria
Its light streams to the western shore before reaching the water
And as the day breaks,
the world comes back to life
Just as the day was breaking . . .
the light from the western horizon fell on Jesus
He is risen!
And with him, we rise
into light, into love, and into hope everlasting

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