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Sunday, April 15, 2018

posted Apr 17, 2018, 8:46 PM by Site Administrator

FEED MY LAMBS

 

John 21:1-25

Key Verse 21:15 

 

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 

 

Chapter 21 is an epilogue of John’s gospel. The Apostle John could have ended his gospel with Jesus’ death, resurrection and world mission commandment like the other gospel writers, finishing with the words of the Risen Jesus in John 20:21 which says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” But even after making a concluding comment in John 20, still the Apostle John did not feel satisfied that he had revealed the beauty and glory of Jesus enough, and especially, the beautiful love story between Jesus and the Apostle Peter, his old long time competitor who later became his best comrade. So he adds John chapter 21 saying, “Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:” Wow! The author, the Apostle John is going to tell us something secretive. Let’s go to the Sea of Galilee and see what happened between the Risen Jesus and Simon Peter, the top disciple.

 

First, “Come and have breakfast” (1-14). Look at verse 1. Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. Before, while Jesus was alive, he told them that after the resurrection, he would go to Galilee ahead of them and meet them there. Now when the disciples, after having met the Risen Jesus, came back to Galilee, how were they doing? Did they go to the synagogues and preach the good news of resurrection? Did they flip over the whole area with the gospel message? Not really. They were not doing so great. It seemed that they had lost their mission. They were disciples without a clear sense of mission. So, what did they do? Seven of them gathered together, looked at each other, maybe, after chitchatting in shooting the breeze for a while, Simon Peter said, “I’m going out to fish,” and others said, “We’ll go with you.” Simply, it was hard for them to sit and wait without doing anything; they could not bear that sense of uncertainty any longer; they had to do something tangible. So, they did what they were familiar with – fishing. It was the occupation they had left 3 years ago, and now they were checking it out. Jesus never intended for his disciples to be fisherman once again. But when they had no sense of a clear mission, they could not keep their identity as Jesus’ disciples any longer; instead, when they lost God’s mission, they were going back to their old life. They were like a disciple, after losing the sense of God’s mission, checks out the video game, which he left a long time ago, or like a disciple, after losing a sense of mission, contacts his old friends and hangs out with them. But that night, they caught nothing. They were seven, professional fishermen; they thought that they would catch a lot of fish if they worked together; maybe, they threw the net more than 100 times that night, but despite their hard work all night long, they caught nothing. They failed as Jesus’ disciples - three years' wholehearted struggle ended up producing nothing, and now they failed as fishermen also; it seemed that they were born to fail; it seemed that nothing was going well with them; it seemed that now everything was over. But things were not over.

 

Look at verses 4 through 6. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus, maybe, because it was still a little dark, or because it was about a hundred yard distant, or because Jesus, after his resurrection, looked a little different. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. The disciples were excited shouting to each other. Even though his disciples went back to their old way of life, even if they failed to keep their identity as his disciples, Jesus did not leave them in failure; instead, he helped them recover their spirit through this great catch of fish. At this, the apostle John was reminded of how Jesus had entered into their life through a great catch of fish about three years ago; he immediately recognized that it was Jesus; he said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Peter heard this, he did something very strange. Usually, people take off their jackets and sweaters before jumping into water. But Peter did exactly the opposite. He wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. This happened instinctively, showing Peter’s deep respect for his Master Jesus; he never thought that it was so proper for him to stand before his Master naked. If seven professional fishermen rowed the boat together, they would go much faster than someone swimming in the water. But Simon Peter simply could not sit and wait there until he saw Jesus; his desire to see Jesus was so compelling that he had to do something to come closer to him. This shows Peter passionate love for Jesus very well. While Peter was swimming, the other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.

 

When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Usually, fire does not come out of coals quickly; when we cook Korean BBQ on charcoals, it takes a lot of time until fire comes out of them, even with lighter fluid, maybe, about 30 minutes. The fire coming out of coals showed that Jesus had been there earlier, and thinking about how cold they might be, he had prepared this fire, maybe, blowing, and even shedding tears for smoke. Fish and bread there on fire showed that Jesus had been cooking breakfast for them, thinking how hungry they might be. Jesus was a mother-like shepherd. 

 

From the beginning when Simon Peter said, “I am going out to fish,” and other disciples went out together with him, Jesus knew what was going on. While they were out to sea struggling hard to catch fish, he knew what they were doing. But he did not stop them. Rather, feeling their sorrows and sense of failure due to the empty nets, he came to the shore very early, started a fire and tended it until the coals became burning hot. He placed some fish on it, and was warming some bread nearby. Jesus was so concerned about his runaway disciples’ frozen fingers and empty stomach. He was thinking about how happy they would be when they ate that unexpected hot meal on the shore of the beach. When the disciples landed on the shore, the coals were burning with fire, the fish was well cooked permeating such delightful smell, and the bread was hot. The disciples were surprised at this – at the presence of Jesus, and of well cooked delicious fish and hot bread. The fire of burning coals looked so warm and lovely. It was like Jesus’ love for them soothing their cold and empty hearts. When his disciples were going back to their old life, when they really messed up, he was not angry with them; instead, he followed them, and when they failed so miserably, he helped them recover their failure and prepared beautiful breakfast for them on the shore. 

 

When they came to him, he said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” He didn't rebuke them for their wrongdoings; instead, he let them participate in preparing the breakfast. At this, Peter dragged the net ashore, Philip counted them and Andrew inspected the net to see that there were no tears. Then, when the fish were fully cooked, Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Jesus’ voice to His disciples, “Come and have breakfast,” was so heart moving and beautiful. Even though they had done terrible things, the Risen Jesus wanted to have breakfast with them. He not only wanted to recover their immediate failure, but to have delicious breakfast fellowship with them. Through this invitation, Jesus showed them his heart for them. Despite their terrible failures as his disciples, Jesus still desired fellowship with them. Who was wrong and who was right? That’s not important. Despite all ordeals and challenges, Jesus’ desire for them was still the same; he loved them, and he wanted them to be in his love all the time. Despite their failures, nothing had changed. 

 

At this, how did they respond? Did they say, “Thank you,” and attack the fish? No, they could not say anything. Moreover, they could not move, or even lift their heads. They were just standing there dropping their heads down, for they knew what terrible thing they had done - even after meeting the Risen Jesus, they could not remain faithful to him. After betraying Jesus’ trust, they felt too sorry to look him in the face. Even though Jesus was confirming his love for them, they could not accept themselves for what they had done. 

 

They could not move, so Jesus began to serve them one by one. He first came and took the bread and gave it to them one by one – one for Simon, one for John, one for James,… As he passed a piece of bread to each of them, the hot bread warmed their frozen hands, and it was like Jesus’ warm love rubbing their broken hearts. Jesus did the same with the fish – one big fish for Simon, one for John,... Jesus served his disciples just like a loving mother serving her children. Strengthened by Jesus' love, they tasted the bread and fish and chewed them - yummy; then, they slowly lifted up their heads and looked at Jesus, then, they ate some more. Then, soon, the burden was lifted from their hearts, the guilty conscience was gone, and they could enjoy the food and the fellowship freely, eating, talking and laughing. It was such a wonderful feast they enjoyed together with Jesus on the beach, which they would never forget. 

 

In this whole event, Jesus did not use the word, "love." He didn't say, "I love you." But Jesus' love was well revealed to all the disciples through his action - his visit, his help for them to catch fish, his words, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught," and "Come and have breakfast," his action of distributing the fish and the bread among them one by one - all these showed his love for them; even though they had messed up, Jesus still wanted to have fellowship with them; despite their failures, Jesus still desired them to live as his disciples and enjoy life together with him. This love of Jesus strengthened them to come back to him and have fellowship with Him. This love of Jesus melted all the barriers between Jesus and them - their guilty conscience, their sense of shame and fear. This love of Jesus restored their relationship with Jesus. When we saw Jesus' love for us in this way - his burning desire for us despite our sins and wrongdoings, we were very touched; no one had desired us as he did. At that time, we were set free to repent of our sins and turn to God. Love is powerful, more powerful than the power of sin. God's love demolishes the barriers of sin and guilt and brings us to God. Today, Jesus visits us in our lowly place and invites us to the fellowship with him, saying, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "Come and have breakfast."

 

Second “Feed my Sheep” (15-25). After their seaside morning breakfast fellowship with Jesus;Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”Peters love for Jesus was evident. He was the one that said I am willing to die with you Lord, many times Peter expressed his love for Jesus openly and publicly. But Jesus wanted to know if Peter truly loved Him. Now what does more than these mean? Peter was the leader of the group, he loved his fellow disciples, but he also loved human fellowship with them. That is why when Peter went to go fishing he wanted to go with his friends. Did Peter love Jesus more than these disciples? More than these can mean anything really. Jesus is not concerned so much about outward things, such as great acts of faith, but that you love him more than anything.  Jesus asks us, Ty do you love me more than these? What is our answer going to be? 

 

Peter responded by saying yes Lord you know that I love you. Jesus answered by saying feed my lambs. Lambs are so young, but they are also so blind, they cannot take care of themselves, they need a shepherd to feed them

 

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” Sheep need care;there are many dangers that sheep can get into. They can wander from the herd, and get lost deep in the mountains, there are ferocious wolves out there waiting to devour them, they can get caught in thick brushes. Sheep are blind, they cannot see too far away from them. Because of this they need care. Spiritually speaking our sheep cannot see too far away from them. Because of this they can wander away from the faith and get themselves into trouble by being led away by their sinWhat sheep need is the care of a shepherd to keep them on the path and take care of them so that they do not get led astray. 

 

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. This time Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time. Peter felt that maybe Jesus didn't accept his answer, but Jesus wanted Peter to really understand what He was saying. When there is an important point to be made, professors always tell you three times, because they want you to really understand that what they are saying is of the highest importance. Jesus said feed my sheep. Lambs are young sheep, but as they get older they grow into adult sheep. As disciples begin to grow, they grow into mature and fully responsible disciples of Jesus. Still Jesus desire is to feed them continually so that they may grow to be powerful and well trained servants of God. 

 

Loving Jesus is really practical as Jesus indicates in this passage. We all want to love Jesus. But how can we show how much we love Him? He is not here physically, so we cannot give him a bro hug, or a fist bump or even some gifts, but what we can do, is take care of His sheep. People who may not love Jesus so much but honor Him, maybe do some activities in His name, or they are willing to go to church on Sundays, or even hand out gospel tractsbut those who truly love Jesus feed His lambs, take care of His sheep and feed His sheep. It is because Jesus loves His sheep, He wants to take care of them and feed them. And in order to do this He works together through His servants to take care of them. In this way we too learn the love of Jesus for us and for others. If we truly love Jesus more than anything, we will take care of His sheep.

 

Jesus said I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” Jesus was indicating that being a shepherd for His sheep was no easy matter, but he would have to give his life for them. If Peter were to live his own life, then he would go wherever he wanted to go but now that he lived for Jesus sheep, he would have to go where Jesus sheep were. In taking care of Jesus sheep, he would lay down his life for them, giving glory to God. This indicates that we do not live for our lives any longer, but that we live for Jesus sheep. Before we did what we wanted to do, we went where we wanted to go, but now that we love Jesus and take care of His sheep we go where sheep are. Our whole life revolves around taking care of Jesus sheep. When you get a job, it is revolved around sheep, so that in this way you can know to accept the job or decline it. In this way life is very clear and we can make real decisions, giving glory to God

 

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” In Peters eyes, if he had to die for Jesus sheep, then certainly John would have to do that too right? Sometimes we come to this, we take care of Jesus sheep wholeheartedly, we give our life for them, and sometimes we see other Christians just having fun and enjoying life. When we see this we say Lord what about them? What is Jesus answer for us? What is that to you, you follow me. We must love Jesus more than anything and follow Him. This is Jesus personal calling for us. 

 

One Word: Do you love me, yes Lord you know all things you know that I love you, then feed my sheep

 

 

 

 

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