Sunday 10 May 2020

This is the eighth Sunday that Emmanuel, in line with other churches, has been closed and don’t we miss the fellowship? We are not the first to miss meeting with our Lord. This Sunday we are going to look at the experiences of Peter and some others of the disciples following the resurrection.

Read John’s Gospel chapter 21:1 to 14.

In verse 2 we read that Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John and a couple of other disciples were all together one evening, when Peter announced that he was going fishing. The rest decide to join him.

Why did Peter want to go fishing? When Jesus had called him to be a disciple (Matt 4:18-19) Peter had immediately left his nets and his boat to follow Jesus and be a fisher of men. So had James and John, they immediately left their boat to follow Jesus. One gets the impression that although they had met with the risen Lord, they are really missing the day by day “following” and being with Him. They seem to think that it is all over and time to return to their old life.

Dear Lord, whatever the circumstances, keep us close to you and following you. Even though we cannot meet, you are still with us.

The story continues with an unproductive night’s fishing with nothing caught. A stranger on the beach tells them to fish on the other side of the boat. An enormous haul of fish follows. John realises “IT IS THE LORD” (you can almost hear the capital letters in his cry). Peter leaps out of the boat making for the shore. The rest of them drag the huge catch of 153 fish to the beach. And then breakfast on the beach with Jesus.

We like to take our visitors to Beer for “breakfast on the beach” and we all thoroughly enjoy the experience, but I imagine it does not compare with the disciples experience that morning with Jesus

The story does not stop there, read John 21:15-19.

Now we have the intimate conversation between Jesus and Peter. Three times, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Twice Peter answers “Yes Lord, you know that I love you.” And then the third time, Peter cannot restrain himself and cries out “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love you.” Three questions mirroring the three denials by Peter during the trial in the High Priest’s House. Is this all going through Peter’s mind? Is he remembering the sad look that Jesus gave him (Luke 22:61 – and the Lord turned and looked at Peter) on his third denial?

Dear Lord, you know everything. You know how weak our faith and love can be. Keep us strongly trusting and following you.

Simply trusting every day;

Trusting through a stormy way;

Even when my faith is small,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

 

Trusting as the moments fly,

Trusting as the days go by,

Trusting Him, whate’er befall,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

 

Brightly doth His Spirit shine

Into this poor heart of mine;

While He leads I cannot fall,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way be clear,

Praying if the path be drear;

If in danger, for Him call,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

 

Trusting Him while life shall last,

Trusting Him till earth is past,

Till His gracious advent call,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

 

And now read John 21:20 to 25

In the final section, Peter, having had this very intimate talk with Jesus about his future (v18), wants to know what is going to happen to John. Jesus won’t tell him. What He does say is, effectively “Peter, you take care of your own life and faith. YOU follow me.” Sometimes people are so concerned about others they don’t have time to consider their own faith. We meet this with those to whom we try to tell the gospel. They put all sorts of barriers in the way to their believing in Jesus, “What about those who have never heard the gospel?” “What will happen to babies who die?” “Why does God allow all this suffering in the world?” Jesus has a very short answer for them “YOU follow Me.” First of all get right with God yourself before worrying about others.

 

A final thought

John tells us that what he has written in his gospel is true because he was there. He then goes on to say, and I paraphrase, “Oh, and by the way, this is only a selection of what Jesus said and did. The whole world could not contain enough books for all He did.” That may be the case, but how thankful we are for what John did write, together with Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Dear Lord, thank you for the Bible, and in particular the gospels, where we can read about the life of Jesus, His death and resurrection.

A benediction from Numbers 6:24-26. “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord [a]lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’

And remember, STAY AT HOME, keep washing your hands and keep your distance if you have to go out.
God bless you all,  Chris