- Sermon Notes
While You Are Waiting
Intro: Waiting for it.
The title of the message this morning is, “While you are waiting.” And we are going to turn to John 21 and study one of the post resurrection accounts of a time when Jesus came to visit His disciples on Sea of Galilee. We know that Jesus had told His disciples to meet Him in Galilee.
In John 21 we see the disciples waiting for Jesus to meet them at the place He directed them until Peter said to the others waiting with him, “I am going to go fishing,” and the other disciples followed. Rather than continue to wait, they took to the bait and went back fishing, though Jesus had previously called them away from their nets. What is seen in these verses is important for you and me to see as we live out our lives as those in waiting for Jesus presently.
Perhaps you have asked this question in your own life. You now Jesus is coming, and you understand that He is coming soon but while you wait, what are you to do?
I. Remain on Call for Christ
John 21 verse one begins by telling us that Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples on the Sea of Tiberius. He revealed Himself to the disciples after the events in John 20 where Jesus had manifested Himself to the disciples twice.
From Matthew 28:16, we know that Jesus had told His disciples to meet Him in Galilee on a particular mountain (Mt. 28:10, 16; Mk. 16:7).
They went to the place He told them to go, and then began to wait for Jesus. While they were waiting, Peter decided to go back fishing and the other disciples followed.
And this fishing trip is interesting and important to note because we have not seen Peter out fishing since the time Jesus called him with these words:
Matthew 4:19-20, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
While there are seven disciples there in total mentioned in John 21, the text throughout the chapter centers largely on Peter.
And when it comes to Peter going back fishing, there are many potential reasons why Peter may have pursued that route.
He had made mistakes as a disciple, had denied Jesus three times, and it seems to me that he may very well have assumed that with all of that in mind, a life of fishing was simply the way it would again be for him.
Jesus had clearly called Peter away from fishing. He had left his nets about 3 years earlier to begin following Jesus and would be one of Jesus’ closest disciples.
Peter had walked with Jesus, He was one of His first disciples, one of His closest disciples, Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter, which meant “rock,” the “rock” upon which He would build His church. Peter had seen His ministry, He was the first to proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah, “the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16-17), He had seen many miracles, and had heard His teachings.
Peter had walked on water, Peter had drawn his sword when the servant of the high priest came to arrest Jesus, He said he would never deny Jesus…Peter was quite zealous … But after his failure and denial of Jesus three times, he was broken, he went out and wept bitterly, he had failed miserably.
We know that Peter had seen the resurrected Jesus prior to this, yet, here we see Him go back to what Jesus had once told him to leave.
These seven disciples, led by Peter, were going back to what they knew and were once good at. But things were different now.
Peter’s situation is an important one for you and me to understand and see. Because we make mistakes, go the wrong way, and rather than wait for Jesus, it is tempting to go back to the very things He once told us to leave.
It is then and there that it can be tempting to apply question to the direction Jesus has called you to pursue.
They had spent time with Jesus…He had shown them the way.
Illus. Street ball.
Philippians 3:13-14, Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Illus. Leaving the call.
Psalm 27:13-14, I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!
I wonder if that is why the disciples weren’t remaining on the mountain, waiting on the Lord Jesus. Perhaps Peter had questioned what good could possibly come in his life after he had turned his back on and denied Christ.
But this would all change now that Peter realized it was Jesus, pursued Him, and Jesus would again direct Peter’s steps.
Perhaps you are questioning whether you will see the goodness of God in your own life, and as your questions arise, you are losing heart; but I encourage you to wait on the Lord, remain on call and if you feel far from that call, reclaim the call, God has good in store for those who love Him.
Trust Him in Your Every Step
John 21:3-5, They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.”
Jesus here asks how their fishing trip went. “You don’t have any fish, do you?”
The situation reminds us of the time Jesus first called the disciples away from fishing. It took place after a failed night of fishing.
Luke 5:4-9, When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
Luke 5:10-11, … “Do not fear; from now on you will be catching people.” When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
Here in John 21, the disciples would again hear Jesus’ instruction and bring in a haul, He would also point them all, particularly Peter, back to the call.
John 21:6-7, And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.
To move their net four feet in a different direction under normal circumstances would not have made much of a difference.
In fact, it was now morning, and it seems that fishermen in those days would fish all night because the chance of a catch at nighttime was greater.
The clear reason why they brought in a great number of fish after their failed night of fishing was that Jesus was directing their steps.
They were following His direction, even in something as small as moving their net to the other side of the boat.
1 Corinthians 4:1-2, says that we are to be regarded as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. And that it is required of stewards that one be found faithful.
So often in response to Jesus in this life, our response is based upon what we believe will “bring in the most,” or reap the best results.
But as I look at Scripture and in response to the call of Christ, I understand that what He is asking of me is faithfulness. It is not required of me to be successful, but faithful. And in being faithful, I will be fruitful. And the Lord gets to determine the type and flavor of the fruit.
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
For Peter and the disciples, it was Jesus’ presence and instruction that transformed everything.
Psalm 127:1-2, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for it is He who gives to His beloved even while He sleeps.
Psalm 16:8, I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
After realizing that it was Jesus on the shore, Peter jumped out of the boat to swim towards the shore as the others pulled in the catch behind their boat.
Peter previously made great promises to Jesus and failed significantly, rejecting Jesus three times. On that night, he wept bitterly and was full of remorse.
Throughout our lives, we understand what it means to fail and it is critical that we know the heart of God when we do.
What had taken place between Peter and Jesus had to be addressed, it could not go unspoken.
Jesus sought Peter, to restore him, to show his heart to him and direct his steps, give him a future, a hope, and show him what is next.
Look to Him Alone for What is Next
John 21:15-17, So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.
Illus. There are a few words for our English word Love, and three that are most common in the Greek language. Eros love, is love on the physical level. Phileo is the love of friendship, being fond of or brotherly love. Agape love is a love of total commitment of self, or to love supremely.
Jesus starts with asking Peter “do you agape me more than these?” Then, “do you agape me?” Lastly, “Simon, son of John, do you phileo me?” (vs. 15-17).
Peter responded yes each time, but responded with “phileo” rather than “agape.”
Matthew 26:33, “Even though all may fall away because of you, I will never fall away.”
Peter do you love me more than these?
Peter, once quite zealous, rash and impulsive, shows great uncertainty to respond with agape love.
Jesus did not just ask once, he restored Peter’s previous denial by asking him three times if he loved.
Each time Jesus asked Peter to affirm his love, Jesus then told Peter, “Tend my lambs,” “Shepherd My sheep” and “tend my sheep.”
In other words, Peter, if you love me, don’t go back to fishing, care for those I love; remain on call, let Me direct your steps.
In Verses 18-19 Jesus gives Peter some insight into what was to come in his life. And that even in his death, he would glorify God.
Perhaps Peter didn’t give his life for Jesus on the night Jesus was arrested, but he would.
Jesus then gave Peter the words He gave when He first called Him, “Follow Me!”
John 21:20-22, Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”
Peter’s response is so familiar to you, me, and so many. But Jesus would keep him focused on the call, to follow Him alone, and to follow Him fully.
Illus. Out on the water.
Illus. The slowest race.
After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”