Grace For The Journey
In this final chapter of John, we find a portrait of Jesus that is thrilling for the Christian to behold. In these verses, Jesus is revealed as “The Friend Of The Fallen.” As we study this passage we will notice . . .
1) PETER’S FAILURE.
The Bible tells us about Peter’s fear and failure in Matthew 26:69-75. Before we can see how the Lord restored this fallen preacher, we must first understand what happened to Peter and how he came to be fallen in the first place.
Peter was in the wrong place altogether. In the beginning, Peter had made his boast that he would never forsake the Lord, Luke 22:33-34. Yet, when the time came and Jesus was arrested, Peter, like all the others forsook Jesus and fled (Matthew 26:56). However, verse 58 tells us that Peter decided to follow the Lord and see what happened, but that he followed Jesus “at a distance.” When Peter found himself surrounded by the Lord’s enemies, it became hard for him to stand by his earlier boast. He takes the low road and denies that he even know the Lord Jesus (verses 69-74).
Essentially, all backsliding begins in the same manner! Instead of staying as close to the Lord as we should, we begin to follow Him “at a distance.” It may begin as simply missing a few services here and there. Maybe you just stop praying like you should. Maybe the Bible isn’t opened and read as frequently as it ought to be.
Wherever and however it begins,
It will eventually lead to the same place.
It will eventually lead you into
A backslidden and cold condition!
Peter’s problem was that he found himself in the wrong place!
When Peter denied the Lord that night, the Bible tells us that he went out and “wept bitterly.” Peter was miserable in his new condition. He knew that he had wronged the Lord. He knew that he had violated something very precious and sacred. He was a miserable man.
So it is with every child of God who decides to walk away from the will of God. You will soon realize that sin brings with it pain, suffering and misery. The Bible says in Proverbs 13:15, “Good understanding gains favor; but the way of unfaithful is hard.”
Gone will be the peace of God and
The sense of God’s presence.
Gone will be His power and that
Joy in the soul that is worth more than gold.
Sin is a thief and a robber! It robs youth and beauty. It destroys innocence and effectiveness. Sin has the ability to make you into a very miserable person!
After Peter sinned, he felt a definite loss of fellowship, peace and joy. He knew that things were different. This is a powerful truth for believers to understand . . .
When a person decides to
Walk a different way
Than the Lord intends,
Your decision carries with it
A very high price tag.
If you are saved, then you can expect to lose much when you walk away from the Lord. You can never lose your salvation, but you will feel like you have. You can most certainly lose your fellowship with the Lord. There will be the loss of peace, joy and contentment. There will be the loss of blessings and rewards. Sin is a cruel taskmaster and it will beat you silly.
Peter failed and he failed big!
2) PETER’S FOOLISHNESS.
Verse 3 says, “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.” Notice . . .
After the resurrection, Peter must have assumed that his ministry was over. He had denied the Lord and so he decided to return to the old way of life. I am sure that he might have tried to justify it by saying, “Well, I have a family to support.” Whatever the motivation, Peter had been called to forsake all those things and to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:19). The Lord’s call had been a call to come and be a fisher of men.
People who are out of God’s will always make the wrong choices! They always base the decisions on fleshly motives rather than spiritual ones. This is what Peter did and he was foolish because of it!
When Peter went back to the old life, he took others with him. These other disciples weren’t as sold out to the Lord as they should have been either! If they had been, they would have been waiting for their marching orders. After all, Jesus had told them to go into Galilee and wait for Him (Matthew. 28:10).
Have you noticed that sin loves company? When a person backslides, they usually aren’t content to go it all alone and they will try to drag others down with them. You see it in families all the time! One will get cold toward the Lord and before long everyone in the family is out of God’s will. What a shame it is when we feel the need to drag others into the same foolish pit into which we are in!
What’s equally sad is the fact that there always seems to be those who are willing to follow the wayward child of God! Why are things this way? Because we like to surround ourselves with people who are on about the same level as we are. If we are right with God, we want to be around others who are right with God. If we are out of God’s will, we feel rebuked by the lives of those who are living for the Lord and seek out those who are like we are. Sadly, we will often try to reproduce our spiritual temperature in the lives of those who are close to us. This is merely an effort to make self-more comfortable.
Peter and his cohorts fished all the night long and did not catch a single fish! Most of these men had been professional fishermen before they met the Lord and this must have been a devastating thing to have to deal with. They toiled and labored all the night and produced nothing of value.
This is just the way it works for those who are living in sin. No matter what they try to accomplish in their own strength, it always comes up empty or less that they had hoped! The Prodigal Son found this out as he sat in the pig pen and watched the hogs eats the husks. He couldn’t even fill his own belly through self-effort!
I would like to remind every person reading this blog that . . .
We are totally dependent on
Jesus Christ for everything (John 15:5).
We can produce nothing
Of lasting value in our own effort!
Some might argue that they have been living less than a fully committed Christian life and that they are still thriving and prospering materially and physically. May I remind you that both of those things are temporary and will soon pass away. In the final analysis, all that lasts are those things you do through Jesus.
3) PETER’S FRIEND.
John 4-12 tells us that when morning dawned Jesus approached them and asked, “Children, have you any food? (Verse 5). When they respounded that they had not caught anything, Jesus told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat and they would get the fish. When they obeyed Jesus they caught so many in their net that they could not get the catch into the boat. Peter then realized that it was the Lord who spoke to them and he rush into the water to get to shore leaving the other disciples to bring in the catch. Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of fish (153), so many yet the net was not broken. Then Jesus asked them to come and dine with Him.
Even though Peter had wandered into sin,
He still hadn’t gone so far that
The Lord had stopped loving him!
Peter still had a Friend in a very high place. That Friend made all the difference for Peter and He will for you also. Notice what Jesus did for him . . .
He Found Him.
Peter was forced to admit his failure (verse 5). This is the first step in coming back home. There must be an acknowledgment of sin and wrong doing.
Peter started to obey the Lord again (verse 6). He stopped doing things his way and started doing them the Lord’s way. This brought success where there had been only failure.
Peter has a renewed desire to be near the Lord (verse 7). He wasn’t willing to wait for a more convenient time but went to meet the Lord immediately.
If you are one of those who have wandered away from the Father and are presently walking in the far country, then you need to know that you still have a Friend in Jesus. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t forsaken you. He still loves you as much right now as He ever has. He just wants you to come to the place Peter came to. He wants you to be willing to confess your sins, begin again to follow Him and just love Him like you ought to. By the way, no matter where you run, the Lord will find you. He will not let you get away.
He Fed Him.
When Peter, and the other disciples, reached the shore, they found that Jesus had a fire prepared with fish already cooking. They found there, with the Savior, all the things they needed after being out on that boat all night long. They found food, warmth, and fellowship. They found a Savior who loved them and who had all the provisions in place that they needed. Everything they lacked out on that boat, they found when they came to Jesus.
Some of you have toiled and labored since you have been away from the Lord. You are miserable, there is no peace and no joy in your life and you need to get right with the Lord. Let me encourage you to do so today. When you do, you will find that He still loves you and that He has all the things you lacked while you were away from Him.
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”