Sunday, May 01, 2011

John 21:1-14 - Breakfast on the Beach

Israel, Sea of Galilee (Lake of Tiberias)Image via Wikipedia
Opening thought
Do you enjoy mornings on the beach? Jesus apparently did, too. He met his disciples there one morning after his Resurrection and made them breakfast: grilled fish and grilled bread over an open fire. We can learn something about Jesus and the Resurrection from that meal. Let’s read about in John 21:1-14.

Read: John 21:1-14

Contextual Notes:
John’s Gospel has reached its climax – the Resurrection. But John cannot help reminiscing about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances in order to further his goal of helping hearers and readers come to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. In chapter 20, Jesus appears to the women and the disciples, but then appears to Thomas to help him overcome his doubts. In chapter 21 he encourages seven other disciples and helps Peter overcome his triple denial of Jesus. Some think that John originally ended his gospel at the end of chapter 20, but then added to the gospel an appendix to explain Jesus’ words about John (21:20-23) and the restoration of Peter (21:15-19). But the last chapter mirrors in function the opening prologue of John 1 focusing on Peter and John.

In this third appearance, John tells of a fishing trip to the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias) led by Peter as they wait for the Lord. He has told them to go to Galilee and wait there for him (Matt 28:7, 10; Mark 16:7). Jesus appears on shore and tells his disciples to cast their nets one more time, and they haul in a great catch of fish. When the disciples make it to shore, they find Jesus has made breakfast on the beach for them, complete with fish and bread.

Key Truth: John wrote John 21:1-14 to encourage believers and unbelievers to trust in the Resurrection which provides a permanent relationship with Jesus, pleasing provision of Jesus, and the promise of eternity with Jesus.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about what the Resurrection provides.
Key Verse: John 21:12

Sermon Points:
1.   Resurrection provides a permanent relationship with Jesus (John 21:1-5)
2.   Resurrection provides the pleasing provision of Jesus (John 21:6-9)
3.   Resurrection provides the promise of eternity with Jesus (John 21:10-14)

Exposition:   Note well,

a.   Seven of the disciples are here: Simon Peter, Thomas Didymus (“Twin”), Nathanael from Cana, Zebedee’s sons James and John (Simon’s business partners in fishing: Luke 5:10), and two others (21:2).
b.   21:3 – “I’m going fishing” When we move out and do things in self-directed rather than God-directed activity, the result is that we have nothing to show for it. When they allowed Jesus to determine what they should do, they caught an overabundance (John 21:5-6).
c.   21:5 – Friends (paidia “children” – colloquialism) haven’t you any food/fish? Prosphagion “fish” is rare and is most likely “a bite to eat” which in 1st century Galilee would have been fish.
d.   ILLUSTRATION: Shouldn’t the fact that they had caught nothing recall to them an earlier event when James, John, Peter, and Andrew were called as Apostles? Don’t you think that was especially clear to Peter (Luke 5:1, 11)?
e.   APPLICATION: No one who follows Jesus can go back to his or her old way of life. Jesus calls us to something fresh and new. It’s not that we much change ourselves. He changes us, and we find no real satisfaction except in doing His will and pleasing Him.
f.    There’s more. Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearance tells us that once we have a relationship with Jesus that it never ends. It is permanent. It affects the doctrine of eternal security. Our relationship with Jesus is permanent once we come to Christ. When Jesus broke the power of death and the grave, he broke the ability of sin to force us to pay the debt we owe to death and the grave (Romans 6:23). John tells us earlier in his Gospel at John 10:28-2928 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
g.   There’s more. Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearance teaches us that death no longer separates us as individuals forever. Have you ever wondered if you would know people on the other side of the grave who are saved? This passage tells us that we will recognize and know those we love on the other side of the grave. We will be able to talk with them. We will share a common history and remember the past. We will understand things from a new perspective we have not had before, knowing the end from the beginning. We will be We read in 1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Unfortunately, Luke 16 and Revelation 20 teach us that we will be separated from those who did not give themselves to Christ in this life.
a.   21:6 – “Throw your net on the right side.” The disciples are probably using a trawlnet spread out from the boat and dragged through the water with cables on poles.[1]
b.   APPLICATION: Jesus calls us to complete obedience to the Master, and he is interested in even the most minute things of our lives.
c.   Peter is so eager to see the Lord that he jumps out of the boat and swims to shore (v. 7), and he rushes to bring fish when Jesus asked for them (v. 11). The outer garment is a fisherman’s coat for the morning chill. “He was naked” means merely that he is wearing only his undergarment, the Greek workman’s short tunic over the shoulders down to mid-way of the thighs --
d.   APPLICATION: Don’t let sins drive you from the Lord. Hurry back to Him and show your love by ready obedience. If you are not walking with Him, now is the time to change that, to start a relationship with Jesus if you don’t have one or if you are saved, to confess your sins that have muddied things between you and your Savior and draw near to Him. Like, Peter, do not let anything hold you back from getting immediately in Jesus’ presence.
e.   Jesus miraculously has prepared a meal for them – breakfast on the beach! And he invites them to add their fish to what he is doing.
f.    APPLICATION: If we choose to come and see, Jesus will show us where he is at work, and he will invite us to join him. That’s his way of doing things. Now that’s a good question. What about us as a church? When we look around, where do we see Jesus at work? What beach is Jesus standing on calling out to us if we are getting anything accomplished? Where is Jesus standing asking us if we have the provision we have need of? Where is Jesus at work, making provision for us and others? Where is Jesus inviting us to participate with him? Where can we join Jesus in what He is doing?
g.   There is another application here personally. Jesus is our provider, and his provision, like in Genesis 22, is complete and involves redeeming whatever we lay on the altar and giving it back to us in a form much better than we had before. What is God asking you to lay on the altar? He will give it back to you in a redeemed fashion better than anything you ever imagined.
a.   Here the Risen Lord is still serving them (21:13). The fish and bread should make us think of the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:5-13).
b.   Notice the interplay of darkness and light, of empty nets and full nets, of empty bellies and a beautiful meal with the trimmings. This passage is prophetic of the coming Meal with the Lord at the End.
c.   APPLICATION: Jesus reminds them that he will provide for their daily needs if they will trust in him, and that he will provide a Meal of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb one day when we are all gathered home. The Resurrection provides for this.
Invitation: Are you ready?

[1] The word for towing/dragging syro occurs with a trawlnet in Plutarch, Soll. Anim. 977.F.