Looking Toward Pentecost: Jesus and His Disciples at the Sea of Galilee

Yes, Resurrection Sunday has come and gone, but we’re re-winding because there are special messages from God’s Word regarding the days after the Resurrection. Yesterday we took a look at some rather immediate appearances of Jesus, and today we’ll focus on one of my personal favorites! So, let’s get to it!

After appearances in and around Jerusalem, Jesus made His way to Galilee, where He had special plans for a band of disciples who had returned to their former careers while still figuring out just what their resurrected Lord had in store. John 21 is a “Peter chapter!” You know Peter…the one many of us are so grateful Jesus included among His friends and disciples. We’re so much like him, aren’t we!?! We open our mouths long enough to change feet!

Well, Peter, a master fisherman, and 6 of his disciple buddies were out on the Sea of Galilee getting nets wet, but catching nothing. Suddenly, some know-it-all appeared on the beach and yelled at them to cast their nets on the other side. To a seasoned fisherman, that probably sounded ridiculous, but they did it anyway. After all, it couldn’t be any worse, right?

Fish couldn’t make it into the net fast enough, and they began hauling in a boatload when, suddenly, John proclaimed, “It’s the Lord!” Peter, so excited about the proclamation, put his outer garment back on and jumped into the water to swim to shore! Oh, how they enjoyed that breakfast on the beach!

Have you ever given up on God’s best for you and gone back to your old way of life, only to have the Lord appear out of nowhere? Have you ever jumped out of your boat simply because you couldn’t get back to Jesus fast enough? What a warm welcome we get from Him when we return from wandering!

But now my favorite part! Remember what Peter had done just a couple weeks prior? Before crucifixion, after Jesus was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, who followed at a distance as Jesus was dragged off to Caiaphas’ house? Peter! And what did he do there? He denied Jesus three times! The Bible says that Jesus turned and looked at Peter, and he wept bitterly (Luke 22:54-62).

I don’t believe Jesus scowled at Peter that night. I believe that through the compassionate eyes of Jesus, Peter understood the gravity of what he had done and was deeply grieved. Yet, jump back ahead those few weeks to the scene at the Sea of Galilee. Peter was now having breakfast with the risen Jesus, and He had a special gift for Peter.

After breakfast, Jesus addressed Peter directly by asking him, “Peter, do you love Me?” Peter assured Him he did, yet Jesus asked two more times. Why do you suppose Jesus asked Peter the same question three times? Because Peter had denied Jesus three times! Jesus was making Peter whole again, and three times He also told Peter to tend/shepherd His sheep! He was ordaining Peter to ministry!

My friend, have you ever blown it so badly you think there is absolutely no pathway to redemption? It’s a sick, desperate feeling, isn’t it? If you are in that place right now, please know that Jesus never stops loving you, regardless of how badly you fail. That’s why Jesus gave us the example of Peter! (That’s why I love Peter so much!) Jesus will restore you when you “sit and have breakfast together” (fellowship with Him) and allow Him to restore you once again.

If you are not in that place right now, I bet you have been (at least to some degree). Do you recall what it was like to come back? Are you a returned prodigal? Rejoice…and go share! Jesus has ordained us all for ministry! Most of us will never stand behind a pulpit and preach, but God has given each one of us a ministry to fulfill. Go and do it!

That’s enough for today, but tomorrow we’ll consider other appearances of Jesus leading up to Pentecost. Meet you right back here tomorrow morning!

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