This morning, Jesus is renewing His call to us to follow Him. He’s calling us not only to continue His mission and to do the works that He did (and even greater things), but He’s also reminding us just how much He values just being with us and living life together with us.
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
1 One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon Peter, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” 9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
For the next three years, Peter and the other disciples travelled with Jesus living life together with Him as He ministered. They learned from Him and not only saw firsthand signs, wonders, and miracles, but were even empowered to perform them, themselves.
The saw the blind have their sight restored, the deaf hear, demons cast out, the dead restored to life, leprosy and every other sickness and disease healed, and so much more. In fact, John said it this way:
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
It had to be such an amazing period of their lives that I’m not sure if the disciples often stopped to consider the lives that they left behind; their careers, friends, and family. They abandoned their old lives altogether to follow Jesus and it was an adventure and wonder-filled time.
Peter, James, and John were still fishermen, just instead of being men who fished for fish, they were now men who fished for men. They joined in on Jesus’ mission to seek and save the lost.
You and I have been invited to join in on this mission as well! You and I have also been empowered to perform the miraculous as it is here even as it is in Heaven. We may not necessarily change careers and physically leave friends and family, but our focus and motive shifts from fishermen to fishers of men.
Of course, some of us are uniquely called to leave behind everything to follow Jesus wherever He takes us on His mission field just as the disciples did.
There came a time, however, when this exciting adventure of following Jesus took an unexpected turn for His disciples. Although He warned them and explained to them many times that this shift was coming, they still didn’t understand it when the time came. Knowing that the time had come, Jesus said:
28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
However, a shift was coming.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them (Simon Peter) struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Jesus, though found to be completely innocent of any wrongdoing, was then punished and ultimately crucified. He gave His life, was buried, but then was raised again to life by the Holy Spirit. Yet another shift had taken place. Jesus was exalted to be seated at the right hand of His Heavenly Father and given all power and all authority and the name above every name!
Another shift was coming in just a matter of days. On the day of Pentecost, Jesus was going to fill all believers with the Holy Spirit to empower and equip them to continue the work of the ministry that He began with the disciples. However, there was a time of waiting.
Glorified in this way, Jesus does a bit of an unexpected thing during this waiting season. He decides to continue returning to earth in human form to be with His disciples. This shows just how much He loved just literally hanging out with them and even perhaps how concerned He was about them during this waiting season.
Likewise, Jesus cares so much for you and I. He loves just being with us, just enjoying living life together with us. It’s exciting to experience signs, wonders, and miracles, however, Jesus values just as much the times when we simply enjoy His Presence without having to do some kind of work. It’s the heart behind His command that we take one day of rest every week and enjoy a Sabbath Day with Him.
Recorded in detail is one of those encounters that the disciples had with the resurrected Jesus.
1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other 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.
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.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
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. 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.
A shift had taken place. Before they began to follow Jesus, the same large catch of fish tore their nets and began to sink their boats. Now, the same nets and boats were able to sustain the miraculous catch!
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.
Apparently, Jesus did not physically look this time as He did before the resurrection. There are many other encounters recorded in the scriptures that the disciples had with the resurrected Jesus that reveal this to be true as well. This leads me to consider if we may have ever encountered Jesus or angels without realizing it. Just as the word says:
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
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.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
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. 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!”
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
This morning, let’s keep our eyes on our own papers. 🙂 We’re reminded of the empowering grace of God that equips us to fulfill our personal mission for Jesus. We’re reminded that even if we have we completely missed it and have sinned against God, even to the degree of denying that even know Him, there is forgiveness and redemption available today.
We’re reminded of the great love that Jesus has for us and how much He values just living life together with us. We ought to also value that Sabbath time of rest that He grants us just to be with Him and to appreciate the life that He has given us and to return our love for Him.