Gone Fishing! (Relating to a Risen & Returning Lord)
|John 21 (NKJV™)|
|1||After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:|
|2||Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.|
|3||Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.|
|4||But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.|
|5||Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No."|
|6||And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.|
|7||Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea.|
|8||But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.|
|9||Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.|
|10||Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."|
|11||Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.|
|12||Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?"--knowing that it was the Lord.|
|13||Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.|
|14||This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
I am not a great fisherman. I don't do it often and when I catch something, it's pure luck! My dad was the opposite—he loved it and was great at it. At least seven of Jesus' disciples were fishermen and here we see them plying their trade after the resurrection. Some beautiful lessons can be discovered about how to live while we wait for Jesus to come back for us.
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Greek terms: ἐκκλησία; ekklésia - church; ἐκ; ek - out of; καλέω - called to assemble, summon,invite
Figures referenced: Jim Byrne; Abraham Lincoln
Cross references: Genesis 3:11; Genesis 24:27; Genesis 28:16; 1 Kings 19:9; Proverbs 18:1; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 24:42; Luke 5:4-6; Luke 19:13; Luke 24:13-31; John 20:19-25; John 20:26-29; John 20:30-31; Acts 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Hebrews 10:24-25; Revelation 2:2-4
Topic: Christian living
Keywords: discipleship; fellowship, partnership, stewardship, worship, fishing, fish
Turn in to your Bibles if you would to the Gospel of John. You probably won't hear those words much longer since we're in the last chapter of that book, John chapter 21. And we're bringing this study to a close after 2 1/2 years. I'm not closing it today but coming to a close in the last chapter. Would you pray with me?
Lord, every single one of us has a need. We have wants but we have needs and you know both. You know what we want but you know what we need. Moreover, you have all the resources to meet exactly what we need and that's where we come in. As we gather here today we pray that you will speak to the deep places of our lives, ministering to us through the Word of God the Scriptures themselves, speaking to needs. Help us in our minds not to marginalize truths that we hear or to pass them off is irrelevant to us. We're thinking that others besides us need to be here to hear the message. You've gathered us and we are your people, and we say to you speak and we will listen. Help us as we study together considering Jesus' name, Amen.
The earliest memories of my boyhood include fishing, not because I was particularly good at it. I was not, but my father loved to fish. So he would take his four boys to a place called Jess Ranch in California. And those were ponds that were stocked with trout. I mean they fill those babies up and then you stand in front of it and throw whatever you want into them and anybody can catch a fish, even me. That's how I learned the craft. Then he took us up to Southern Oregon. We spent most of our summers as boys up in Southern Oregon Klamath Falls, the lakes and rivers around. Again my Dad would go fishing and we would be with him. Then we graduated to deep sea fishing, where he would take us out of Newport Beach California and we'd go out to the high seas, spend the night on the boat. And I discovered then as a boy that a full stomach and a boat ride don't really go well together.
We go Barracuda fishing that I remember. Now I wasn't very interested in fishing and I wasn't very good at fishing and number two was true because number one was true. But I do remember what it felt like to catch something on the other end of the line, to have that snag that pull, that hook. An exhilarating feeling even if it was just a can or a rock. It's like – Wow! Another memory I have at fishing was much later on when a friend of mine, Randy Schneider decided I needed to learn how to fly fish because he said it was the coolest thing ever. So I went to the high Sierra's with Randy Schneider, he was an expert fly-fishing; he had the art down, the whole casting thing. It was beautiful and I went with them I have never done it before and what really ticked him off is I caught the biggest fish that day. Beginners luck, he hated me for that.
Now I know when you hear a fish story, you're always suspect, right? Because they tend to grow as the story gets told over and over again. It's been said that there are more fish that come out of streams than are actually in the streams. But every now and then, you come to an honest fish story. Like this one. Jim Byrne who lived in Australia, fishing off the coast of Australia, Marlin fishing, one day hooked a giant Marlin. It took him a long time, hours to flight with that struggling thing and bring it into the boat, which he did. He finally got it on deck but the fish wasn't done fighting, true story, the fish to its spear and poked it right into the chest of Jim Byrne narrowly by a fraction of an inch missing his heart and lungs. And then the sword came out of the chest and the fish happily flopped over back into the ocean and swam away - total bummer for Jim Byrne and anyone who had that experience, true story.
We come in the Bible to another fishing story, a true one. It is about fishing but it's more about people than it is about fishing John chapter 21 verse 1. After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples of the sea of Tiberius and in this way he showed himself. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathaniel Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee the James and John, and two others we don't know whom. They're anonymous, so seven altogether of his disciples were together.
Simon Peter said to them, "I'm going fishing". They said to him, "We're going with you also". They went out and immediately got into the boat and at that night they caught nothing. When the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore and yet disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "children" the equivalent would be "Fellows, do you have any food. That is if you caught anything. They answered "No". He said to them cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find some. So they cast and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved, we now know that's John, said to Peter, "It's the Lord". When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment for he had removed it and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat for they were not far from the land of about 200 cubic that's 300 feet dragging the net with fish.
Then as soon as they had come to the land, they saw fire of coals there and fish laid on it and bread. And Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught." Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to the land full of large fish, 153 so somebody is counting. And although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them come and eat breakfast. Yet none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?" knowing it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them likewise the fish. This is now the third time Jesus showed himself to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
I find something fascinating about John's writings. As I read chapter 20, the chapter right before this. It seemed like that was an appropriate ending, because the last two verses of chapter 20 are like an epilog. Those last two verses, it says, and truly many other signs Jesus did in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that by believing you might have life in his name. It sounds like a closing statement. It's a perfect way to close a book. But John gives us a whole other chapter 25 more verses, three more paragraphs, why? Why after that perfect ending does he continue the story?
Let me suggest you two reasons. Reason number one, because John was a good friend and his buddy Peter had denied the Lord and John wants us his readers to know how Jesus restored in his buddy Peter back into useful ministry, because otherwise we would be reading the book of acts and discover how prominent Peter is in those first 12 chapters and we'd be asking, "How did that happen, where was I? How did Peter who denied the Lord and just sort of fell off the map become so prominent in this early Church? And John tells us how that happens. He gives us as a friend what happened to his friend his buddy Peter. There's another reason I believe – because John is a great teacher and John wants cause his readers to know how to relate to a resurrected and soon returning Lord. And that really is what we're going to talk about today.
How to we relate to a savior who is alive and is coming back? Because here's the deal after Jesus rose from the dead, you'll discover that he just sort of shows up, pops in. It comes to a place and then disappears suddenly at whim it would seem. So you might be having an early morning walk like the two guys on the road to Emmaus and Jesus just shows up, "Hi". Or you might be having an evening meal like the apostles in the upper room and Jesus pops in, "Peace to you", and then he leaves. Or you might be having a heated discussion, like Thomas, he said, "I won't believe unless I can touch his side and his hands", and Jesus just shows up and then he leaves. Or, you might be like these guys here, going to work. And there is Jesus standing on the shore.
Can you imagine living that way, always having to be on the alert? Jesus might show up, where is he going to be next? You know what, you know what - you do live that way. Or I should say, you should live that way, because the truth of the matter is this risen, resurrected Lord is returning. And the Bible says he can come at any moment and we ought to also be on the alert knowing that he could come at any moment, as Jesus said, "Watch therefore for your Lord comes at an hour you do not know". So there's a question, how do we live while we're waiting for the Lord to return, what things do we do? And I think the answers are all found in the paragraph we just read. There are four principles I want you to look at with me this morning. Number one, "We need to be together". We need to be together, as we're waiting for the Lord to return we need to frequently get together. We'll read in verse 2 that these disciples and there were seven of them were all together. Now here is a good example, a great pattern that they will follow the rest of their days together. You don't have to turn there but in the book of Acts 1:4 says, "An being assembled together, they kept the same pattern. Acts2:4, they were in the same place in one accord. They were assembled together.
So as we're waiting for the Lord to return, one of the fundamental things and every Christian ought to know this, is w ought to gather frequently. I always found it interesting, the word that Jesus chose to describe us. He called us a church. He said, "Upon this rock I will build my church". Now we've heard that word for so many years. We think well, here it is, this is the church we're inside the church. I'm going to church. And it has become such a religious word but you've got to know that when Jesus said, "My church". It meant something for something far different originally. It was actually a secular term of a group of citizens called out of their city or society to assemble together regularly. It comes from two Greek words the word is 'eccaleo' and the word is 'ecclesia' for church, and the word 'ecclesia' from the words 'eccaleo' means to be called out and to meet together, that's the idea.
So think of it this way, if Jesus refers to us as an assembly, he must want us to assemble and that's the idea. So here's what I think is a biblical definition of the church, a holy assembly called out separately to meet regularly that worship Christ principally - that's a church. He calls us out and we gather frequently and we meet together. He said I will build my Church, he didn't say "Upon this rock I will build my monastery, or upon this rock I will build my private little meeting place where you can go all on your own and you never have to be with other people. Every now and then I meet people that say,
"Well, I'm a Christian; I just don't like God's people. I don't want to be around church people. I don't go to church. I'm not a church person. As you're waiting for the Lord, you need to be in church, you need to be with God's people. And so they were meeting and they were together.
And that's the way God designed us folks. God designed us that we would be integrated with each other not isolated from each other and we're facing a problem, you and I, it's called the age of technology. And this wonderful age in which we live, in the technology, I see iPads and iPhones and people are reading their Bibles and hopefully you're not socially networking right now. Let me just talk a little bit about that because I bet a lot of you do socially network your Facebook and Twitter and I do the same thing but there is a façade that that gives to us, there's a veneer. It's a lie you think you really connected with people because you go online and you can e-mail or you can Facebook, right?
Studies prove that what our increase of technology our society is becoming more isolated and lonelier. Because nothing, nothing can take the place of being together in eye to eye relationship, being in each other's presence. You can't go out and buy fellowship 3.0, acceptance 7.1. You have to be with people. That's the way we're designed. And worldly groups or social networking or all the technology cannot take the place of what God knows you and I need. We need to be together.
I want you to turn in your Bibles, keep a marker here and turn with me to the book of Hebrews chapter 10 just for couple verses. Of course if you don't have a Bible and you have a cool little iPhone and there, but for the rest of us, Hebrews 10:24, And let us consider in order to stir up love and good works. That is best done when you're actually with somebody else, stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some but exhorting one another and so much more as you see the day approaching. You might ask, 'Well how often do I have to get together?' Wrong question, it should be how often do I get to do this?
When my wife Lenny was first saved she discovered there were church services every night and you know what she went every night because she wanted to learn and grow as much as she could. It wasn't like, do I have to go? It's like do I get to go? Notice what the writer says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some". Why is that the manner of some? Why is it that the manner of some is - church consists of Christmas, Easter and maybe a wedding or funeral from time to time? Why is it the manner of some that you have to drag them to church? I'll buy you lunch and dinner for a week if you come – Okay. And others, you have to drag from church, they love it so much. Why is it the manner of some, 'I don't need to go through the Bible with the rest, I'll just get my sporadic fix from time to time." Why is that a manner of some - because they don't get this need?
We need to be together and much more as the day is approaching. There's an old Jewish proverb that says a man without friends, a friendless man is like the left-hand bereft of the right-hand. And I would say an isolated Christian is like the left-hand bereft from the right hand. Listen to this; this is right out of the Bible, Proverbs 18:1, A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire. He rages against all wise judgment. When we gather together we get the collective judgment of God's people especially when we base our meeting together on the Word of God. We need this, we need to be together.
Let's go back to John 21. The second thing we need according to our text is, "We need to be active". We'll read in verse 3, Simon Peter said, I'm going fishing and the other guy said, I'm going fishing with you. They were fishermen. Now, I want to just dispel something, because I've read it in some commentaries and I've heard some sermons and I've heard Christians talk. And this is how it goes, Peter and these disciples had no business going fishing because that's what Jesus called them out of and said I'm to make you fishers of men. So they shouldn't have gone back, they were backsliding going to Galilee, no they weren't. Do you know why they went to Galilee? Because Jesus said, "Go to Galilee and wait for me there."
So they are being obedient to him and they're going to Galilee and while they were waiting for him to return when he's going to come, Peter goes, 'I'm going fishing' – Oh no. Really, you're going to say that to a fisherman? You see, Peter needs to eat and there's a lake in front of them, and he knows how to work the lake and he and the other guys worked a meal. Or maybe we have some bills to payoff but the point is they were actively waiting, that's the point.
You know you can wait passively or you can wait actively and I suggest, until the Lord returns we stay busy, we wait actively, we don't put our feet up and our hands back and go, "I'm just waiting for the Lord". No, as you're waiting for the Lord, stay busy, stay active. Luke 19 is a parable. The bottom line, Jesus says, therefore, occupy or do business, occupy until I come. Stay busy, move, be active, live your life, pay your bills until the Lord comes back. I've always discovered it's easier to direct a moving than an object at rest. If you want to learn how to ride a bicycle, don't just park the bicycle and go watch a video on how to ride a bicycle. Book – How To Ride A Bicycle, I'm going to study this – Get on that baby and let somebody push you because once that gets speed going and it's moving and it's going it to be a lot easier to direct it. Once it's moving than when it's standing still.
And so it is with us we move, we live our lives, we pay our bills, we make our decisions trusting that the Lord is going to direct us as we're moving and I think that's the way to it. Wait on the Lord actively. There's a great text of Scripture that has this principle, let me tell it to you. In Genesis 24, I believe, the servant of Abraham by the name of Eliezer is being sent out by Abraham to find a wife for his son Isaac, right? And so, he describes it as a process, this is what he says, Eliezer speaking, "I being in the way, the Lord led me". And the Lord will lead you as you and I are in the way. And so the key is stay busy, stay active.
I want you to turn to one more Scripture. John 21 bear with me turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 4 for just two more verses first Thessalonians 4. If you're wondering where that is, its right before 2 Thessalonians, so just turn right and go down a few streets and you'll see it on your right. 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Paul writing to this young church, that you also aspire to lead a quiet life to mind your own business. I know some people they ought to underline that and memorize that one, and to work with your own hands as we commanded you that you may walk properly toward those who are outside and that you may lack nothing. In other words stay busy, work hard, pay your bills. Do you know why Paul wrote that? Most scholars believe Paul is writing this book, here's one of the reasons, many of the Thessalonians believers had quit their jobs believing the Lord would come back at any moment. And if God's coming back, if Jesus is coming back, we might as well just quit our jobs and wait for him to come, why go to work?
So in quitting their jobs they have time on their hands and now they become instead of busy, they become busy bodies. They started getting involved. Well, you know what; I've been looking at your life. We'll you know what, get out of my life and go do your job. That's what Paul is saying, stay busy and stay active. I remember in the Jesus movement we called it in the late 60s, early 70s that's when I was saved at early 70s. I was going to college and I was called unspiritual because I was going to college. And here's why I had friends say Jesus is going to come back before you graduate, why are you in college? Some of them were even quitting their jobs and get this, maxing out their credit cards because after all if Jesus is going to come back I can buy now and never have to pay.
Not a good witness, bad idea. A man went to a doctor, and that doctor gave him a thorough examination. He said, "Doctor you've got to tell me what's wrong". So blood work, total physical and they patient said, "Okay doctor, lay it on me, give it to me straight. Tell me what's wrong, I can take it." Do you want me to tell you honestly what's wrong? He goes, "Yes sir". The doctor said, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with you except one thing, you're just plain lazy." And the man thought about it for a moment, he said, "Would you say that again in medical terminology so I can tell my wife."
I think a lot of people try to couch their excuses in spiritual terminology. Well the Lord led and I'm waiting – You know what, Paul says, "Stay active, stay busy, be together, be active" here's the third principle back in John 21. Be obedient, verse 5 Jesus said to them, "Children have you any food?" They answered him, no. He said I love this part; I absolutely love this part, "Cast your net on the right side of the boat". There's only 4 feet from the first spot, and you will find some. So they cast and now they were not able to draw them because of the multitude of the fish. I love it when Jesus talks to these experts. They've been fishing all night because that was the best time for net fishing in the Sea of Galilee, you begin at sunset and you fish into the night and they were doing at all night and got to zip, zero, nadda, nothing. And Jesus asked them, "What have you caught?" and they said, "We've caught nothing".
It's interesting that Jesus was on the shore and they didn't recognize him. We discover this a lot with some post-resurrection appearances. There he is, better know it's him. How much is that like us, right? We think God has abandoned us, God's not here. He's right there. He said he'll never leave you or forsake you. Remember the story in the Old Testament of Jacob when he ran away from home and he went to this, what he would consider a godforsaken place, way out in the middle of nowhere, put his head on a rock and went to sleep that night thinking God is so far away from me. I've run away from his will and he gets a vision that night, a dream of angels descending a ladder from heaven to the earth and going back up. He wakes up next day and he said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not". Did you hear that? I know it now but I knew it not. Yesterday, last night, I didn't know he was in this place I thought I was alone. The Lord is present tense in this place and I knew it not but I know it now.
So there is Jesus on the shore, there's the disciples in the boat, Jesus shouts out, "Hey, have you dudes caught anything?" – No. And so, "Well, cast your net on the other side". Why did Jesus ask them the question? Is it because he didn't know the answer? Was he really trying to get information that he didn't already have? No, he asked them the questions, so they would admit their failure and recognize their need. My failure I haven't caught anything, my need, I need to catch something for a meal, so to admit their failure, to recognize their need.
You'll discover in the Bible that god uses this method frequently. He'll ask a question to Adam in the garden, when Adam and Eve sinned. God cried out, "Adam, where are you?" God knew exactly where he was, he wanted Adam to admit where he was. "Far away from you God." Have you eaten off that tree that I commanded you not to eat? - Again a question. Or Elijah the prophet who ran away down into the wilderness, sat under a broom tree. And said, "God, I just want to die" God didn't go up to Elijah, "Oh poor little Elijah". He said this, "Elijah, what are you doing here?" – That's a good question, what are you doing here? Dude, you just killed thousands of prophets to bail and one little gal, one little Lady Jezebel threatened your life and you run away and you want to die. What are you doing here?
And so here to these guys, "Did you catch anything?" No, because he wants them to admit their failure. Now listen, we all fail. And did you know that failure is actually good for us if you have all success, nobody wants to be around if you. If you fail at something, it causes you to slow down, to pause, to think about your methods, to think about your motives and to be open for something new. You learn from that. You are open to another thing like casting your net 4 feet away. What good is that going to do? They'll do it now, they've caught nothing and they admitted it.
Let me tell you about a failure. This young man was an aspiring politician, he ran for state legislature. He was defeated, he decided to quit politics. Went into business, was a failure at business, spent the next 17 years of his life paying off debts of a worthless partner who got him into debt, then he found a girl that he was engaged to, she died. Then he decided, "I'm going back into the politics", ran for several offices defeated, defeated, defeated. But eventually that man Abraham Lincoln became the President of the United States. He learned at each juncture from his failure and was hoping to try something different.
Have you caught anything? No, and then Jesus says cast your nets on the other side. Now, who was it that discovered it was the Lord? Who was it? John, the disciple Jesus loved, John, it wasn't Peter. Now I'm not going to – Peter, but I am going to applaud John. Because this is so much like John to be quick on the draw, right, at the tomb who discovered Jesus was risen from the dead? It wasn't Peter, it was John. They both looked in and Peter saw it and believed and Peter is just kind of scratching his head going, "Cool, I don't know what this means." But John did and Peter believed after John. So John recognizes this and says – "That's the Lord". And that's when Peter says, "Good enough for me" jumps in the water with his robe on. Like okay, how good is that, it's not going to keep you warm in the water. Number two; you're going to get out soaking wet and colder than when you got in but whether. Okay, so question - How did John figure out that's the Lord. Here's my hunch, John saw what was happening and said "There's only one explanation for this" The same exact thing happened to us two years ago. Now, you don't have to turn there, but let me read this account to you. This is an account that happened 2 1/2 years prior to this, when Jesus called them formally to be his disciples Jesus is at the Sea of Galilee a crowd of people gathered. Jesus steps into a boat, teaches from the boat and after the sermon it says when he had stopped ,speaking, he said to Simon launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. Simon answered and said to him "Master we've toiled all night and caught nothing. Sounds familiar to doesn't it? Nevertheless, at your word, I will let down the net. But I think Peter was saying to the Lord is, "Look, I'm the fisherman, you're preacher. I know about fishing, you don't. I've done it all night and caught nothing, but you know what you want to go fishing preacher, I'll humor you, I'll let down my net.
So he did and it says when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their net was breaking. John after the resurrection sees what is happening and goes, "I know the explanation that has to be the Lord, and because this happened to us a couple of years ago and it was the Lord." You see, there are some things that happen in life and there's only one explanation. It is the Lord. How do you explain what happened on the day of Pentecost, thousands of people getting saved when Peter spoke. That's the Lord. How do you explain a drug addict or a prostitute getting off that stuff and being in love with Jesus? Only one explanation, that's the Lord. How do you explain what has happened here with this church, with this bone-head pastor? There's only one explanation, it has got to be the Lord. And anybody who knows me really well goes – Amen it is the Lord.
But here's the deal, they were obedient. Isn't it amazing that the difference, the only difference between failure and success was 4 feet, one side of the boat, and the other side of the boat? Do it, it has got to be the Lord. I know people who are in Christian service and they strive and they organize and they work and they spend and there's no fruit, there is no results. Listen, you have to be more than competent and diligent and relevant. You need to be obedient and listen carefully. Is this what the Lord is telling me to do at this time? I want to follow as I'm moving in the way I want to follow his impulse because I want to see fruit come out of it. Back at John now, finally we will close it off by saying here's fourth principle.
We need to be intimate with the Lord. We need to be together, we need to be active, we need to be obedient but above all else, and springing from this last principle is, we need to be intimate with the Lord. Verse 12, Jesus said to them, come and eat breakfast. Yet none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" knowing that it was the Lord. Then Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them and likewise the fish. Now, this is the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. I can almost guarantee you that if you could have interviewed these disciples, picture it, you're down there at the Sea of Galilee, and you've got your microphone. News cameras right there and you say your name, Peter, John, James, come here, I want to interview you guys. Listen, this is a pretty epic day, right? So what was the best part of the day? That none of them would say the best part of today was being together in the boat. Even thought they loved each other that wasn't the best part of the day.
They wouldn't the best part of the day was the miraculous catch of fish. When we put the nets on the right side, it was that many fish, unbelievable, highlight of the day. They wouldn't have said that. They would have all said, "The highlight of the day was eating breakfast with Jesus. When we were with Him together and it reminded us of that sweet intimacy of that last supper and he was feeding us fish and bread, we were in his presence that was the best part that was the highlight of it".
And that's the principle of worship. We need to be together, that's fellowship. We need to be active, that's partnership. We need to be obedient, that's stewardship but we need to be intimate with Christ, that's worship. Do you know that it's possible to be so busy doing the King's business that you actually forget the King himself? You can work and serve and stress out and you don't spend time with him. And that's a mistake because all of the activity, all of the obedience, all of the togetherness should be formed in that place of intimacy with the Lord in worship. It was the church that did this. It was the church of Ephesus. Jesus wrote a postcard, let's call it an e-mail. In Revelation 2, he said to the church of Ephesus, you guys are great. You labor, you work, you persevere, you have patience but I have something against you. You have left your first love. Or one translation says, you don't love me like you did at first. You're busy, you're serving, you're working, you're working, you're active, but you don't love me. It's not based upon an intimate relationship. You say, "Is that even possible? Is it possible to serve the Lord and not Love the Lord?" I'm here to tell you this, think with me. For several different motives that keep Christians busy and active and they're not always the best motives.
Motive number one, 'Guilt' and they always talk about being involved with this search. Okay, I want to alleviate my guilt so I'll do something, 'Whew, I feel better. I'm not guilty". Reason number two, there's some psychological need to exercise a gift. So that when I exercise this gift, when I sing, when I speak, I feel so much better, fulfilled. Okay not the best motive, because you're doing it just for you. A third motive, because when I do this thing, people see me. Not a god motive. The best motive is because I love Jesus, I love him and part of my worship to him is to do this for him, knowing that I'm doing it with him. So it's more than your hands in the water getting fish, it's your hearts on fire before the Lord.
I'll close with a story, true story. I read it, so it has to be true. It was cited with names and dates and everything, true story, husband and wife sold stocks and bonds and a lot of their possessions and about this cool killer RV motor home, it had everything in it. It was their dream to drive around the country and see it. So they began in Southern California going up Highway 1 and then the freeway, they were going up the coast in Oregon, Washington and then across. The husband drove first, he was so stoked, he got behind the wheel and rode it for hours but after awhile he was tired and said to his wife, "Will you drive?" She said, "I'd love to."
She gets behind the wheel. She puts it on cruise control, right? You'd maintain your speed cruise control and then after some cruise control, she gets up and goes back to use the bathroom because she thought cruise control was the same as automatic pilot in her mind. That's what she told the California Highway Patrol after the accident. The RV was totaled. Husband and wife were both okay. The motor home was totaled. She thought cruise control meant autopilot. If you think that you can live the Christian life on autopilot or cruise control, then you need to put on the brakes today and think about all that you do in your fellowship, all that you do in your service and even your obedience and ask, "Does it come, is it formed by a heart of – I really am in love with Jesus' and all that I do springs from the time that I spend in fellowship with him. That's the gas pedal you need to use today – worship, devotion because all the rest will spring from that.Father, that's where we want to close and we're so thankful that John didn't close in the 20th chapter. That he included these stories that we might know what happened to peter as we'll discover next time. And also, how we are to relate to the resurrected and soon returning Lord who may show up at any moment and we live in a sense on our tiptoes waiting for that return. I pray that we would begin, like these disciples began early in the morning with breakfast with Jesus that we would begin early every morning in fellowship with you. It's in His mighty name we pray, Amen.