Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

“Scenes With the Savior”

“A Tender Scene”

John 21:1-19

 

In our text we are told about a face to face encounter between the risen Lord and Peter. It was Peter, you will remember, who denied the Lord 3 times. As we look into how the Lord handled Peter, I want you to know that He can and will do the same for you if you will respond in the correct manner. It’s tough being out of the Lord’s will, but it is possible to make things right again !

 

I. The Purpose of This Scene.

A. To Confront Peter’s Failure, Matthew 26:69-75. Before we can see how the Lord restored Peter, we must first understand what happened to Peter in the first place.

1. The Place of His Failure. Peter was in the wrong place. Peter had boasted that he would never forsake the Lord. But when the time came, and Jesus was arrested, Peter, like all the others forsook Jesus and fled, v. 56. However, verse 58 tells us that Peter decided to follow the Lord and see what happened, but that he followed Jesus “afar off.” When Peter found himself surrounded by the Lord’s enemies, he takes the low road and denies that he even knows the Jesus, vs. 69-74.

All backsliding begins the same way ! Instead of staying as close to the Lord as we should, we begin to follow Him “afar off.” It may begin as simply missing a few services here and there. Maybe we stop praying like we should. Maybe our Bible isn’t opened and read as frequently as it ought to be. Wherever and however it begins, it will eventually lead to the same place. It will eventually lead to a backslidden and cold condition !

2. The Pain of His Failure. When Peter denied the Lord that night, the Bible tells us that he went out and “wept bitterly.” Peter was miserable. He knew that he had wronged the Lord.

So it is with every child of God who decides to walk away from the will of God. We soon realize that sin brings with it pain, suffering and misery. Sin is a thief and a robber ! It destroys effectiveness. Sin has the ability to make you into a very miserable person !

3. The Price of His Failure. After Peter sinned, he felt a definite loss of fellowship, peace and joy. He knew that things were different.

If you are saved, then you can expect to lose much when you walk away from the Lord. You can never lose your salvation, but you will feel like you have. You can most certainly lose your fellowship with the Lord. There will be the loss of peace, joy and contentment. There will be the loss of blessings and rewards.

The Purpose of this scene was …

B. To Confront Peter’s Foolishness. His foolishness is revealed in :

1. His Choices. After the resurrection, Peter must have assumed that his ministry was over. He had denied the Lord and so he decided to return to the old way of life. I am sure that he might have tried to justify it by saying, “Well, I have a family to support.” Whatever the motivation, Peter had been called to forsake all those things and to follow Jesus. The Lord’s call had been a call to come and be a fisher of men !

People who are out of God’s will always make the wrong choices ! They always base the decisions on fleshly motives rather than spiritual ones. Your spiritual condition shows on you ! It shows in the priority you place on the things of God.

2. His Companions. When Peter went back to the old life, he took others with him. These other Disciples weren’t as sold out to the Lord as they should have been either ! If they had been, they would have been waiting for their marching orders. Jesus had told them to go into Galilee and wait for Him.

When a person backslides, they usually don’t go it alone and they drag others down with them. You see it in families all the time ! One will get cold on the Lord, and before long, everyone in the family is out of God’s will.

Why are things this way ? Because we surround ourselves with people who are on about the same level as we are. If we are right with God, we want to be around others who are right with God. If we are out of God’s will, we feel rebuked by the lives of those who are living for the Lord and seek out those who are like we are.

3. The Consequences. Peter and his cronies fished all the night long and did not catch a single fish ! Most of these men had been professional fishermen before they met the Lord and this must have been a devastating thing to have to deal with. They toiled and labored all the night and produced nothing of value !

You can produce nothing of lasting value in your own effort ! Some might argue that they have been living a slack Christian life and that they are still thriving and prospering materially and physically. May I remind you that both of those things are temporary and will soon pass away ? What will happen when you face Jesus ?

 

II. The Provision of This Scene, vs. 4-17.

Even though Peter had wandered into sin, he still hadn’t gone so far that the Lord had stopped loving him !

A. Jesus Found Peter, vs. 4-7. After the sin, after the return to the old life, after a long night of failure, Jesus stepped onto the scene and in a few minutes, turned everything around and made things like they ought to be. What made the difference ? There was a change in Peter. Notice three things that changed :

1. Peter was forced to admit his failure, v. 5. This is the first step in coming back home. There must be an acknowledgment of sin.

2. Peter started to obey Jesus again, v. 6. He stopped doing things Peter’s way and started doing them the Lord’s way.

3. Peter has a renewed desire to be near the Lord, v. 7. He wasn’t willing to wait for a more convenient time, but went to meet the Lord immediately.

No matter where you run, the Lord will find you. He will not let you get away. He has too much invested in your life.

  1. Jesus Fed Peter, vs. 9-14. When Peter, and the other Disciples, reached the shore, they found that Jesus had a fire prepared with fish already cooking. They found food, warmth and fellowship. They found a Savior who loved them and who had all the provisions in place that they needed. Everything they lacked out on that boat, they found when they came to Jesus !

Jesus loves you and desires to have close fellowship with you. He wants to meet all your needs.

C. Jesus Freed Peter, vs. 15-17. In these verses, we find the Jesus re-commissioning Peter for service. I am sure that Peter felt that his work and ministry was gone, but Jesus came to call him back into the fight ! This was a time of unique fellowship and restoration between Jesus and Peter. In these few verses, Jesus freed Peter from the bondage of his sin and failure and put him back to serving the Lord and His church.

The same will be true for every backslidden child of God who returns to the Him. Not only will He forgive your sins, but He can restore you to a place of service for His glory.

 

III. The Promise of This Scene, vs. 18-19.

What would the future hold for this restored man of God ? These verses tell us the answer to that question.

A. The Promise of Sacrifice, vs. 18-19a. Peter would eventually give his life for the Lord who had saved him and who had restored Him. Peter’s call was literally to follow Jesus unto death. Tradition states that Peter was eventually put to death by crucifixion, and that at his own request, he was crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to die like his Lord.

God expects us to be serious about our decision, and He expects us to follow Him in a sacrificial lifestyle that places His will above your own. That is the only formula for true success in the Christian life !

B. The Promise of Service, v. 19b. Peter is told that his life, from this moment forward, is to glorify the Lord ! He is no longer to live for self, but in everything, he is to live for the glory of God.

God’s plan is the same for every born again child of God ! His will is that you and I live lives that are pleasing in His sight and that bring glory and honor to Him.

C. The Promise of Surrender, v. 19c. The last thing Jesus does is to give Peter this command, “Follow Me !” The last call is the same as the first. When Jesus found Peter and called him the first time, this was His command. When he re-commissions Peter, He issues the same call. This tells us that the Lord hasn’t changed His mind about Peter, or about Peter’s duty before the Lord.

All Jesus wants is a surrendered life; one that is lived for the glory of God; one that exalts Him and one that is lived in His will and service.