Go Fish: Father’s Day

Go Fish: Father’s Day

Last week, we began a new message series “Go Fish” learning about evangelism; sharing the good news about Jesus.  We began with Jesus calling his first two disciples to follow Him; Simon Peter and Andrew.  Peter was called right in the middle of some rough times as his mother-in-law was living with him and was very sick and he had just worked a long overnight shift at work with nothing to show for it.  

Today, we celebrate Father’s Day.  We’ve been blessed with guys here at New Hope in every stage of life.  Some are just getting started in life, some are newer dads with toddlers, some have great-grandchildren.  Most all of us can relate to where Peter was at when Jesus called him.  He’s giving it his all and yet it still just doesn’t seem like enough.   

It’s one of the worst feelings for any guy.  You feel the weight of responsibility on your shoulders, but so much is just out of your control.  There’s nothing that you can do to heal your family when they are sick.  You work hard and take on extra shifts and yet still there just isn’t enough to make ends meet.  Things break down and there’s never a good time for it to happen.  You just feel broken yourself. 

That’s OK.  That’s exactly where Peter was at and Jesus was exactly what Peter needed.  Once he made the decision to stop trying to solve everything himself and to just trust Jesus and do what He called Peter to do, everything changed!  His family was healed, his worst day at work turned into his best day at work, his brokenness that was overwhelming him was overwhelmed by God’s grace and power and authority! 

We pick up this week after Peter had followed Jesus throughout the 3 or so years of His public ministry; just after Jesus gave His life on the cross.  Peter gave up everything to follow Jesus and those were the best days of his life!  He saw miracle after miracle and learned so much about God’s Kingdom and got to be a part of helping countless numbers of people.  Now Jesus was gone.  What was he to do? 

Well, most of us guys can relate to what Peter decided to do in response to this all.  Sometimes you just need to go back to your old stomping grounds to your favorite fishing hole and spend some time out in nature to get your head straight. 

How’s that country song go?  I know what they say money can’t buy everything. Maybe so, but it can buy me a boat. 

John 21 

Seven of the disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 

Sound a bit familiar from last week? 

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 

5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” 

“No,” they answered. 

Now anyone who has been out to a public fishing hole knows how this feels.  There’s always that one guy who always seems to have the biggest mouth who likes to walk up and down the stream annoying everyone instead of fishing.  Here’s a guy shouting all the way from the shore out to a boat. 

What’s even better is that this guy is usually walking around with an empty stringer and yet he knows exactly how to catch the limit in just a few casts.  He tells you all about what you’re doing wrong and how you ought to be fishing instead.  Well, it was no different with this guy… 

6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”  

Now do you think that these guys really fished all night long and never once threw their nets out on the right side of the boat?  No, I’m sure they tried every trick in the book and still fished all night with nothing to show for it. 

As if though it wasn’t bad enough that Jesus just died and the ministry that they left everything for just came to an abrupt end, now they can’t even do what they used to do.  They just can’t seem to catch a break!  Fishing all night long in their favorite fishing hole and yet they caught nothing.  And now some guy is yelling at them and telling them how to do the job that they’ve been doing their whole lives! 

But at this point, what did they have to lose? 

When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. 

Sound familiar from last week?  Sometimes history does have a way of repeating itself to remind us what’s important in life. 

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.  

This wasn’t just some annoying guy hanging out by the lake, it was Jesus!  Peter didn’t waste any time at all, he did a hundred yard dash by water and swam right to Him! 

8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. 

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.  

Now I never really caught this before, but John wrote earlier that there were so many large fish, that they couldn’t even pull the net up into the boat.  When Jesus said to bring some of the fish, Peter single-handedly climbed back onto the boat and dragged the whole net ashore.  He probably even counted all 153, himself. 

Yes, even the Bible has a fishing story in it and like every good fishing story, it includes all of the details right down to the exact number of fish.  If you were able to ask Peter, he would probably even tell you exactly how long and heavy the biggest one of them was right down to the inch and ounce, or whatever units of measure they used back then. 

Here’s the cool thing about Peter.  We see the reality of his hardships.  We see the overwhelming hopelessness that he was in when Jesus called him. 

Yet, we also see Peter over and over again being all in for Jesus; holding nothing back!  When Jesus said, “Follow me and I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.”, Peter immediately dropped his net and went to Jesus.  Peter was the first man recorded in the gospels to kneel down before Jesus and confess his sins and to worship Him. 

When they were out in the middle of the storm-driven lake and they saw Jesus walking on the water, Peter stepped out of the boat and onto the waves.  When Jesus was arrested in the middle of the night and taken into court, Peter was right there watching.  Yes, he denied knowing Jesus three times, but still, he was right there.  When John discerned that Jesus was the guy who had been shouting from the shore, Peter literally jumped in and swam to Him abandoning his boat, nets, and even the fish all over again. 

Peter was one of the disciples who was always by Jesus’ side.  He was always ready to lay it all down to follow Him no matter the cost.  Peter was the one who declared to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”  Sure, he definitely missed it at times and wavered occasionally, but in the end, he was still there standing with Jesus. 

Jesus once told Peter, “Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  For certain, the sifting happened, but for sure, Peter turned back and strengthened the whole church! 

Radical trust resulting in his radical obedience that resulted in Peter being a continuing witness of radical miracles! 

Then, Jesus said one of my favorite things. 

12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. 

I’m sure that no one has really noticed this by now, but I like to eat.  I’m glad that even after we die and receive our glorified bodies, that we still get to eat.  I’ll gladly eat breakfast food for any meal of the day, too!  Apparently in our new bodies, we will perfectly process food so that there is no waste and with perfect metabolism.  Even better! 

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” 

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” 

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” 

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” 

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” 

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” 

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.  

I’m sure you’ve heard it taught before, but here Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to redeem Himself for the three times that he denied knowing Jesus just a few days earlier at His trial.  Being the extreme kind of guy that Peter was, one might come to the conclusion that his big mouth would get him arrested and killed fairly early as persecution against followers of Jesus began, but God had a different plan for him.  Jesus prophesied: 

18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” 

Though they thought that their ministry had ended when Jesus died, Jesus reminded them that He had defeated death and was certainly alive!  Death is not an end to a follower of Jesus, it’s just a transition to even better things!   

He also reminded Peter that the choice to follow Him was still at hand and that they were only getting started now that Jesus had died and rose again from the grave!  That’s a great reminder for us as well! 

It doesn’t matter where we’re at or how impossible or hopeless things may seem.  Through Christ, nothing is impossible and we simply can’t lose!  Peter’s life truly began the moment that he laid himself down and began to follow Jesus.  Like all of us, he stumbled and even fell at times.  However, Jesus was right there to restore him and put him right back on the right path and to give him all that He needed to fulfill his life’s purpose. 

To be a good father, we turn to the best example that we have of what a good father looks like; God, the Father.  Now, we just went through an account of Peter and Jesus, so what can we learn about God, the Father through Jesus who is God, the Son?  Well, Jesus, Himself said: 

John 14:9-12 

9 … Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 

What good fatherhood tips do we see from Jesus’ encounters with Peter? 

– Consistent Character  

The disciples didn’t even have to ask, they just knew that the man was Jesus.   

One of the other times that Jesus appeared to them after He rose from the grave was on the road to Emmaus, Luke recorded that they were somehow kept from recognizing Him, but they still knew that it was Him.  As He spoke to them while they walked together, their hearts burned within them.  On that occasion, it wasn’t until Jesus broke the bread that their eyes were opened and they saw that it was certainly Jesus. 

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  We’re challenged to live such a consistent life that whether we are there in person or not, our children can still hear our voice; they still know exactly what dad would say or do.  In an ever-changing world, be a consistent anchor for your kids. 

– Grace to Fail/Path to Redemption 

Even though Jesus knew that Peter would fail Him, even deny knowing Him, He still prophetically saw the potential in Peter and trusted him.  Jesus gave Peter grace for Peter’s failure and a path to redemption.  He does the same for all of us as well. 

No good father wants their children to fail.  However, sometimes failure is the only way for them to learn and grow.  Warn them of the dangers, but let them live their lives and make their own choices and walk out the consequences for those choices whether good or bad.  Then, be there for them either way. 

Jesus warned Peter that he would deny Him three times after Peter proudly proclaimed that He would follow Jesus even to the death.  Jesus let Peter feel the weight and pain from that decision, but then provided him a path to redeem himself shortly after. 

Give your children grace and space to fail, but help walk them from failure to redemption to right their wrongs. 

– Set the Example  

Be transparent and real with your children about your own relationship with your Heavenly Father.  Show your children your own need for Him and how He is your source of forgiveness, strength, wisdom, and direction.  It takes boldness and courage, but pray out loud over your children and for your children and let them hear you pray for yourself as well. 

Even if you never say it, these words that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth will be the reality for us and our kids. 

1 Corinthians 11:1 

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. 

Our kids will follow our examples, so let’s set a good one for them to follow.  That doesn’t mean that we need to live perfect lives.  It just means that we keep pointing them to the One who is!  At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing that we can do for our kids as a father; lead them to the Heavenly Father!