It is the Lord! by Pastor Paul Becker
April 9, 2023 ~ John 21:1-14
The gospels record thirteen eye witnessed resurrection appearances of Jesus. And when there is doubt among the disciples, the gospel writers are honest about it. On Sunday, Pastor Paul departed from the Matthew Sermon Series to deliver a sermon from John 21. He said trumpets, organs with opened stops, new clothes, and bright lights often carry Easter celebrations. And though these momentary supports are appropriate and good, they quickly fade, and we are met with feelings of being apart from Jesus, waiting on him, and facing life's frustrations.
In John 21:1-14, we read a story of seven disciples who leave Jerusalem and return to Galilee, just as Jesus told Peter to do. While waiting in Galilee, Peter decided to go fishing in the Sea of Galilee. The other six said they would join him. And so, they fished all night, casting their net over the side of the boat repeatedly, without result. Unbeknownst to them, Jesus watched them from the shore. He called out to them and asked, "Friends, you don't have any fish, do you?" In unison, they answered, "No."
How much is our following Jesus like this story? We walk in obedience to Jesus, wait for instruction, and feel apart from his presence. And as we wait, we start to do things, over and over again, without fruit or impact. And when asked about the fruit of our effort, we can only answer with a frustrated "No." Following the resurrected Lord happens continues after the trumpets, organs, costumes, and lights are put away. John continues the story.
Jesus offers the frustrated disciples some direction. He tells them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. So they did, and they could not haul it in because of the large number of fish. John said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Peter jumped out of the boat to swim to the shore while the other disciples wrangled the boat, net behind them, to the shore.
Following Jesus involves waiting, doing, and responding to Jesus' directions when he appears. His direction changes what we do and produces results that we can't achieve apart from him. Pastor Paul harkened us back to the image of abiding in Jesus. Apart from Jesus, none of us, not even our church, can produce kingdom results without Jesus' direction. So, we must be in a place of readiness to hear his voice and respond.
A reunion occurs when Jesus reveals himself to his followers, and they respond positively. Peter and the seven made their way to him. At that moment, there was nothing more important. And when they reached the shore, they saw that Jesus cooked bread and fish over a charcoal fire. And then, he asked them to add their fish to his offering.
While Easter Sunday is full of praise and light, the good news of Easter is that the resurrected Lord meets us every day. The Lord meets us in the frustration of our fruitless efforts and offers direction. With obedience comes results and the recognition that the Lord is with us! John 21:1-14 is re-lived every Sunday when Jesus tells us to worship and wait for him. Jesus is on the shore of our worship, watching, revealing himself through direction, and inviting us to eat at a table he has prepared. At FPCB, you are invited to live the gospel story and declare, "It is the Lord!"