Encountering the Risen Jesus Again 

(John 21:1-23)

Last Sunday was Easter. It passed a week. How much of the Easter’s spirit and joy do you still have? It seems you were a Christian a week before, but not anymore. Is your faith something like a fog that dissipates after the Sun comes out? Is your faith real or an illusion?

These questions that we have were also asked by Jesus’ disciples.

They met the risen Jesus at the attic of Mark’s house in Jerusalem on the day of resurrection and eight days later. Then, they were returning to Galilee, their hometown. Jesus was with them when they came to Jerusalem, but He isn’t with them now. As a result, they were a little lonely empty. They left their jobs to follow Jesus. Now they didn’t have Jesus and didn’t know what to do. They lost goal of their life. Didn’t Peter tell himself that he was a disciple of Jesus? They might’ve  doubted that Jesus rejected them as disciples.

Disciples' Problem: Identity and Mission

While they were following Jesus, the disciples were together, but now there were only seven disciples. The other six disciples followed Peter as he went to go fish because they had nothing to do. Because as their hearts were empty and lost their goal, they tried to fill up that emptiness by fishing, but it didn’t work. They did not catch any overnight.

When we believe in the Lord for the first time, we are moved by His grace and love and believe in Him. We serve in church choir, food preparations, and in teaching our church members. But as time goes by and our passion cools down, we ask ourselves, “is this all about faith and church life? Do I have faith? Am I a Christian?” This is the problem of identity. “Am I really following the Lord? What should I do?” This coincides with a problem of mission. As the question remains unanswered, we start to slip away from the church little by little. The only solution is to meet again the risen Lord.

The risen Lord comes to Peter

Jesus said, “Throw the net on the right side of the boat.” Three years ago, in the same place Jesus said to Peter, “go into the deep sea and throw the net.” Peter caught many fish, just like how he caught many fish three years ago. It was exactly the same as when Jesus first came to Peter.

Then John told Peter that He was Jesus. When he heard that, Peter jumped right into the water and swam to meet the Lord. Peter was awaiting for the Lord. He went fishing, but in fact his heart was not there. He wanted to meet the Lord.

Jesus was preparing for breakfast on the beach for the weary disciples. The Lord made a fire and was broiling fish. This was the first meal with Jesus after the resurrection. While they ate, they remembered those days with Jesus before crucifixion. Feeding 5,000 people, healing the sick, listening about the kingdom of heaven, they missed those times of no worries and anxieties. They wanted to be with Jesus forever like that.

But after the resurrection, they felt distant with Jesus. They were saying, “I want to love you more and be more intimate with you, but you are going somewhere. I am afraid.” The disciples also remember that they all left Him. While Jesus served them with fish and bread, the atmosphere is little awkward. They kept eating without any words.

After the breakfast, a little silence, the Lord speaks.

“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these people?”

Jesus did not scorn Peter for his betrayal, He only said, "Didn’t I tell you to pray that you would fall into temptation?" “Pray more”

Restoration of relationship: Do you love me?

Do you love me? This question that Jesus asked touches Peter’s heart. "When you denied me, it was so painful. But I know that you have regretted it and wept bitterly. You denied me but I know you love me. I still love you and forgive your faults.” Peter realizes the amazing truth here. "Love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4: 8)

Peter said that although the other disciples abandoned him, he would not abandon him. Often we are over confident that we can do great things for the church. However, when we fail, the Lord does not ask our failures but asks us what our motives are. "You have failed, but if you love me, you are my disciple."

Peter, who denied the Lord three times, Jesus asks him three times if he loves Jesus. Peter's answer is "You know everything; you know that I love you"

Healing of wounds: Lord, you know all”

Peter's wounds are healed in this reply.

What is Peter's wound? People might think of peter as an “all talk, no action” person or that he is fake. Have you ever been misunderstood in serving the church? Did they misunderstood your sincere love for Jesus only because of your past mistakes? Then the Lord says: "I know everything." "They might not know about your true heart, but I know."

"My Lord, you know all, my weakness and my heart toward you. That night, you knew I would denied you three times.” What else can Peter say except “Lord, you know everything.” He cannot confidently say “I do love you” because of his failures.

The Lord, who enabled Peter to rise from its failure, has now given a mission and restored the identity of his disciple.

Restoration of mission: Feed my sheep

When Peter first met the Lord three years ago, he said to Peter: "Follow me and you will become fishers of men." Peter did not know what it meant, but he followed Him. Now, in the same scene where he first met the Lord, Jesus gives him a mission. "Feed my sheep" Now Peter knows a little bit of what it means.

Serving the church, caring for souls, only those who love the Lord can do it. Only to those who love the Lord, He entrusts His sheep.

A vision is given: Now follow me.

The Lord also gives vision.

Jesus gives the vision of martyrdom to Peter. Not everyone will be martyred. Peter, who had shouted loudly that he would follow the Lord until death, could not. Peter really had that in mind, but he was not able to do so because of the fear of death.

But now the Lord speaks. "Now, follow me." If Jesus asks you to follow Him, you can follow. We can serve the church and preach the gospel only when Jesus asks us to do. No matter how determined we might be, without His calling, we cannot truly serve the church. The vision will be accomplished only when it is from the Lord.

After assuring Peter about his identity as disciple, Jesus is telling an important lesson that Peter will not fail again.

Do not fail again: focus on Jesus only.

Peter’s failure came from self-confidence and peer rivalry.  Peer rivalry says “I can follow Jesus better than others.” Self-confidence says, “I am the one who does it.” We all have this kind of attitude in some degree. These come from self-righteousness.

Peter said, "You know everything; you know that I love you.” Self-confidence is broken through failure.

However, Peter still has a peer rivalry with John. When the Lord told Peter to "follow me," it meant the death on the cross. When he heard this, he wondered about the fate of his rival John. Why? Peter thought, “Jesus said I would be crucified. But if John would not be martyred by stoning or by fire, it would not be fair”

What is the Lord's answer? “None of your concern, you only follow me.”

We complain sometimes, “Why only me? Why am I the only one who clean up the church rooms? No one cares.” But, only think about “What does the Lord ask me to do?” Do not compare with the others. He has other work that Jesus gives to them. If Jesus asks you go, then go. If He asks you come, then come. Focusing on his mission for you is the way to

 

CLOSING

On the pilgrimage to the heaven, you will surely go through valleys of failure and dark tunnels of discouragement. Only when the risen Jesus comes to you, you will be restored and grow spiritually.

The first love is restored. Goal of life and mission will be reassured. Do not compare with others. Just focus on Jesus.

This encounter with the risen Jesus is called the REVIVAL.

Are you in the tunnel of darkness? The risen Jesus will come to you soon. Expect revival.