Thursday, April 30, 2015
John 21:1-14 continued
Yesterday we studied that obedience to Jesus is vitally important.
Today we will see that we meet God when we come to the end of our rope!
The disciples had been fishing all night. They'd done all they could do. They knew the best fishing spots on the Sea of Galilee; they knew just how to use their nets and tackle. They were experts at this, but they still had no fish. They were at the end of what they could do, and their resources and strength were gone. That is often when God shows His presence to us.
Simon Peter was certainly at the end of his rope, no? He had bragged that if everyone else left Jesus, he would be the one who remained steadfast and faithful. But he wasn't. He had failed miserably, and been a coward. He fell when he bragged that he would stand.
Remember when he first met Jesus? He was very aware of his sinful heart.
Before Peter had been called to be a disciple, at the first miraculous catch of fish, the Bible says,
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go
away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ (Luke 5:8)
Maybe at this second miraculous haul of fish, Peter would have liked to have said the same words; he was probably too ashamed to say anything, though.
I read in a commentary that the Greek word for charcoal fire is found in only two places in the New Testament.
Here in this story where Jesus is cooking fish for the disciples' breakfast is one place -- the other is when Peter stood warming himself in the courtyard after the arrest of Jesus. It was there that Peter denied Jesus and saw the Lord look at him just as the cock crowed. We can imagine that as he smelled the charcoal fire on the shore this day, he may have been taken back to that shame-filled moment in time. Peter realized he was at the end of his resources, at the end of his rope. He knew now that there was nothing good left in him. It's the same realization that Paul writes about:
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
Peter and Paul both realized that if anything good was going to come out of them, it had to be through Jesus. It was good for Peter to give up thinking that he was someone special and realize that he could fail just like everyone else! That is when he really began to understand his weakness, and the forgiveness of God, and the power of a new life. In his broken state, he experienced Jesus in a new way.
It's good for us, too, to come to the end of our resources and realize our weakness so that we give in to God. We need to turn the control completely over to Him, and forget about personal success. When we realize that we can't do anything on our own anyway, then we can ask Him to take over, and we can be determined to do whatever He wants us to do.
When we stop trying to make things happen, and let Him have His way, that is when things begin to happen. We see what God can do.
So, when the disciples came to the end of their resources, they had a miraculous catch -- 153 fish, and all of them large . . . so large that they could hardly get the net to the shore. In spite of the pressure on the net, though, it didn't break or tear, for this was a God-filled net of fish!
When they arrived at the shore, Jesus already had breakfast prepared for them. Where did He get the fish and bread? Jesus was always making something out of nothing -- and He hasn't changed. He is still the same today. When everything we have tried turns out to be nothing, He can make something from it. He can create fish, bread and wine. He can give health where there was nothing but sickness. He gives strength where there was only weakness before. He gives life where there was only death.
Where there was no hope, He gives hope. Where there is only shame, He gives forgiveness.
Praise Him, for He is the God of new beginnings!
When we reach the end of our rope, the end of ourselves, there is the beginning of Him.