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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Oct. 13, 2007

  • 2007 Oct 13

The Lesson Peter Never Forgot


Peter reached the bottom and came to his darkest hour.  Alone and unprepared for temptation he forgot Christ's warnings and plunges into waters too deep for him. Drowning in fear, Peter succeeds in denying Jesus firmly and openly three times. 


But Jesus, who warned him, also prayed for him, and now comes to Peter and restores him, giving Peter a new beginning on the shores of the Sea of Galilee


We have come to Peter's final lesson, the one he never forgot. In fact, to the end of his life he was talking about Christ's wondrous love and forgiveness that restored, renewed, and allowed Peter back into ministry. 


In his letters he spoke of that love when he said:  

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins.”  


Peter"s final lesson that comes from his darkest night; and lasts for the rest of his life. J esus promised Peter a new beginnings and offered complete forgiveness and no condemnation.  


Start with me in Luke 22:32, 61-62  

Luke 22:32-62 "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.  


It was the miracle of the cock crowing at that exact moment that reminded Peter of God's Word; but the cock crow also signaled that a new day was dawning, for after all, that is what the rooster's call means each day.


Peter had a new day, a new beginning of hope because he was remembering and trusting in what Jesus had said. It was a new day for Peter as he repented and wept bitterly.  

God has promised that "a broken and a contrite heart” He will never turn away (Ps. 51:17). Help was on the way; God’s plan was unfolding. 


Peter first received a special message from the angel on Resurrection morning which encouraged Peter (Mark 16:7), later that day Jesus Himself appeared to Peter and renewed his fellowship with Peter (Luke 24:34). And then on the shores of Galilee where Jesus had first called Peter, He returns to restore Peter's call and to re-commission him for ministry (John 21).  

It is there in John 21 at Peter’s last scene with Christ in the Gospels, we find one of the greatest messages we could hear. Let's see that moment as we turn now to John 21 and read the first three verses.


John 21:1-3 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself:2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together.3 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.  


On a tranquil beach, not far from where Christ's ministry began, at the break of day—Jesus met with seven men and got them straightened out and headed in the right direction for Him with their lives.  




In a real sense those seven Jesus met on the shore,  represent all of us here this morning, whoever we are, wherever we are going or have been—Jesus wants to restart and redirect our lives.  Jesus spoke to them two thousand years ago, but through His Word, He is also speaking to us today.  John 21 is amazing in many ways.  


Just the surface message is so deeply encouraging. For example if you look closely the men Jesus starts with in chapter one are still with Him in chapter 21—speaking of His ability to keep to the end those that are His.  That is security, we need to believe and rest in Christ's securing power to save us to the uttermost.  


But even more thrilling are the first two named in chapter 21—Peter and Thomas (v. 2). We could better refer to them as chief denier and chief doubter. It is no accident they are the first two listed. It is such a testimony that Christ's team would be so representative of the flock they would lead. There is room in Christ's church for all deniers and doubters who love Jesus and repent of their doubts and denials. Such is the opening message of this wonderful chapter.  

That is forgiveness; we need to believe with all our heart what Jesus says in Mark 3:28 “all sins are forgivable”, we can rest in Christ's complete forgiveness.  


Another even more penetrating message of this chapter is the one we may need most to hear in this Laodicean age in which we live. Jesus confronts the seven disciples with the danger of a self-prompted life and ministry.  


That is a warning, we need to heed and respond to that warning lest we waste this precious life we have been given to live for His glory by living for everything and Him rather than for Christ alone.  Chapter 21 is simply a record of how Jesus works to give His children a new beginning when they have gotten off course.  


What Jesus does is show up on the shore and ask a question to reveal their current condition (getting nothing from all their hard work all night long); then He gives them a command (throw the net now at My word); then He wants to minister to them as their obedience reveals who He is and what He can do with their lives (fish fill empty nets).  






From their call as disciples (Mark 1:16-20) Jesus made them new men going back to their old jobs; He had equated fishing with ministry. They were called as fishers of fish to become fishers of men. Fish became people and fishing became evangelism.  


On their reaffirmation to ministry in Luke 5:1-10, Jesus again makes the connection. Now one final time in this touching scene, the message is repeated. The old ways are over, life is different—we live in the same old world as different people. We can never do life the old way, our way; and if we try it doesn’t please God—nor do we enjoy it anymore.  


Remember the “Gone Fishing” sign? It belonged to a Huckleberry Finn/ Andy Griffith world of Mayberry and less stressful times. That sign signaled a departure from the pressures and responsibilities of the daily grind to a quiet place of reflection. That is where we find Peter and the others in John 21.  


What were they doing sitting in a boat, on a quiet cove of the Sea of Galilee? Was it sinful and wrong? No. They had just hung up a sign on the doors of their lives—“gone fishing”. Jesus had told them to go and wait for Him in Galilee, what better to do than go back to the old and the familiar comfort of what they thought they knew how to do best.  


The only problem was they forgot they were new men, called, commissioned, enlisted, and responsible men who now were under the authority of Jesus as their Commander and Chief. Things can never be the same once we come to Jesus.  


The greatest danger we have after becoming believers is going back to living in our own strength, operating in our own power, going in our own way.  How easy it is to forget that once we are saved we are no longer our own, we are to live and serve the One who loved and bought us.  Reverting to walking in the flesh rather than the Spirit is something we often do when life gets too hard to figure out; and how hard it must have been for them.  


This message will continue tomorrow October 14th when we start by looking at “When Life Gets Confusing”.









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