God Knows…When I’m Left Out or Left Behind – Part 2
The Passover week ended, and the disciples were happy to leave the crowded city of Jerusalem. Jesus had promised to meet them in Galilee and they were eager to see Him again. Soon seven of them were gathered on the shore of the Sea of Galilee: Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John and two others. The seaside brought back many memories. So many things reminded them of the words and works of Jesus.
It was a nice evening, and Peter had an idea. “I’m going fishing,” he told the others. They wanted to come along: A good night’s fishing could earn them money for food and clothing. All night they worked. Again and again they threw out the nets and hauled them back in. Empty every time! Finally day began to dawn. They headed in. “Have you any food?” came a shout. The disciples looked up to see someone standing on the shore.
“No,” they called back.
“Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some,” suggested the man. Though the water was shallow so near the beach, they agreed to give it one more try. Down went the net again. It was hardly beneath the water when something happened. So many fish entered the net that they couldn’t pull it up!
John looked at the man again. “It is the Lord!” he exclaimed.
Peter grabbed his fisherman’s coat, jumped into the water, and waded ashore to greet Jesus. The other disciples wasted no time in following. As they came in, they dragged the net full of fish with them. How happy they were to know that Jesus was with them again.
Nearing the water’s edge, they found that Jesus had done something special for them. He had a charcoal fire there on the beach and breakfast was cooking. He knew about their appetites, though, so He asked them to bring some of the fish they had just caught! They dragged the net up on the sand and counted the fish—153 big ones. When everything was ready, Jesus said, “Come and eat breakfast.”
As the disciples ate, they remembered the other time when Jesus had helped them with their fishing. It was soon after they had met Him about 3 ½ years before. That time as well, their nets were filled when they did as He directed. It was right before He called them to leave their fishing nets and become fishers of men. The disciples understood that Jesus still wanted them to work for Him. While they were doing His work, He would take care of them. Power from heaven would give them success in their work for Him.
As they finished eating, Jesus turned to Peter and asked, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me more than these?” Peter had bragged, not very long ago, that he loved Jesus more than anyone else did (You can check it out in Matthew 26:33). But Peter had learned about himself.
He simply answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.”
“Feed My lambs,” Jesus said.
Soon Jesus, the Good Shepherd, would be going back to heaven. Jesus was asking Peter to help take care of His followers.
A second time Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you love Me?”
Again Peter humbly replied, “Yes, Lord, You know I love you.”
“Tend My sheep,” said Jesus.
The third time Jesus asked him, “Simon, do you love Me?”
Peter remembered how he had denied Jesus three times. How it pained him to think about it. Would no one ever trust him again? “Oh, Lord,” he answered, “You know everything. You know that I love You!”
“Feed My sheep,” Jesus repeated.
The other disciples were listening. They saw how much patience, forgiveness, and love Jesus has for someone who messes up. They saw Peter, humble and sorry for his wrongs. They learned that love for Jesus was the one thing necessary to care for the flock.
Jesus had a special work for His followers. He told them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” They had seen His power on earth. But Jesus was more than a man. He was the risen Savior, the Son of God, soon to return to heaven. “Go,” said Jesus, “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even until the end of time.”
The small group of disciples began right away to spread the word. Not long afterward, Jesus met with 500 followers (1 Corinthians 15:6) to repeat these parting instructions before he returned to heaven.
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