Everyone needs a day at the beach
My mom was a PEI fan…I am more of a Fiji fan.
A day at the beach evokes different ideas. I think as amazing as our different beach days may be, they would probably pale in comparison to the day at the beach captured in John 21.
“After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. Now this is how he did so. Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael (who was from Cana in Galilee), the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples of his were together. Simon Peter told them, “I am going fishing.” “We will go with you,” they replied. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already very early morning, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you don’t have any fish, do you?” They replied, “No.” He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they threw the net, and were not able to pull it in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” So Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, tucked in his outer garment (for he had nothing on underneath it), and plunged into the sea. Meanwhile the other disciples came with the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from land, only about a hundred yards. When they got out on the beach, they saw a charcoal fire ready with a fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you have just now caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three, but although there were so many, the net was not torn. “Come, have breakfast,” Jesus said. But none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.”
John 21:1-14 NET
The first purpose of this series is to examine how this day was crucial in changing these men from men who had failed to fully engaged pillars of the church. The application of this series will likewise be to establish us as fully engaged pillars of the church.
We will focus on series over the three weeks on:
Week 1: the disciples as a group
Week 2: Peter
Week 3: Our day at the beach
Why did Jesus send the disciples to Galilee?
After the crucifixion, they were in Jerusalem. They needed to be in Jerusalem at Pentecost 50 days later. He appeared to them twice in the upper room before they left. He appeared to Mary and Peter in individual encounters. He appeared on the road to just outside of Jerusalem.
Galilee is 120 km to the North of Jerusalem.
The angel asked Mary to send the disciples to Galilee.
“But go, tell his disciples, even Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.””
Mark 16:7 NET
Galilee was where it all began.
Matthew 4:12-13, 18-22 NET
“Now when Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned, he went into Galilee. While in Galilee, he moved from Nazareth to make his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon (called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishermen). He said to them, “Follow me, and I will turn you into fishers of people.” They left their nets immediately and followed him. Going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. Then he called them. They immediately left the boat and their father and followed him.”
Luke 5:3-11 NET
“He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing! But at your word I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets started to tear. So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they were about to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s business partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” So when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.”
It is the human condition to often find ourselves back at the start. We progress and then we fail and it feels like all hope is lost.
Three years of walking with Jesus, performing miracles, watching the Son of God and they still find themselves in the place of unbelief and sin.
He meets them back to the start. He meets them in this place of transgression.
At the outset this was an exercise of trust! They had to trust Mary. Only 7 were there…did some miss out?
How did Jesus know they would be there? Was this their fishing spot?
I believe they were back at the spot He first called them.
So why orchestrate this meeting at this place?
He is reminding them of their first love.
He acknowledges their frustration of catching nothing. “You haven’t caught anything have you? Okay, now do it my way.”
The nets don’t break like the first time. He is restoring them, He is giving them a promise that this time the “nets” won’t tear. Of course they are the nets to catch men.
Peter lunges…he doesn’t wait to walk on water. He doesn’t ask permission to leave the boat. This is 100 m off of shore. Peter has seen Jesus at least two, if not three rimes already. He lunges because somewhere he knows this is the day of restoration. We will talk more about him next week.
Jesus feeds them. He fed the 5000 with this very meal and soon they will handle five thousand added to the church.
Sin has an effect. Notice they dared not ask if it was Him because they knew it was Him. What an excellent analysis by John. They knew but they weren’t 100%. How can they trust Jesus with their recent lack of trustworthiness looming over them?
He is able to break that effect! How? Through forgiveness!
He who is forgiven much, loves much!
This day at the beach is about this: forgiveness…not based on revelation but based on relation!
He is making all things new for them.
He desires to do the same for us, even if it means going back to the start.
Pastor James Sanders