TEEN TREE              OF LIFE

John’s Purpose in Writing His Account of Jesus’ Life

Part 4 –  February 28, 2021

 

Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called Rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1 JOH 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins andto cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

 

We’ve been looking at the third time Our Lord and Savior appeared to His disciples in His Resurrection Body. This account is found in JOHN 21. It was a fascinating event, in which, Jesus dealt with Peter’s guilt over having denied Him three times on the night He was betrayed. Our Lord appeared to Peter and the other disciples while they were out fishing – a trip which had been initiated by Peter, who made the decision to return to his old way of life. Fishing was what he did to earn a living before coming to know Our Lord, and with The Lord crucified, Peter forgot all that the Lord taught and commanded him.

 

Let’s look at the progression of events which led up to what happened onshore that morning. First, on the night The Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed, Peter denied knowing Him three times: All this time, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard. One servant girl came up to him and said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean.” In front of everybody there, he denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” As he moved over toward the gate, someone else said to the people there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazarene.” Again he denied it, salting his denial with an oath: “I swear, I never laid eyes on the man.” Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. “You’ve got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away.” Then he got really nervous and swore. “I don’t know the man!” Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried. (MATT 26:69-75 The Message Bible) Peter’s reaction was essentially guilt. This is evident from learning that he “cried and cried and cried.” Guilt, as we have studied, is a common metal sin. It is very often our reaction to committing a previous sin. Watch out for that in your own life and rebound both when you sin and if you become guilty about sinning. (The paragraph at the top of this page explains what rebound is.)

 

There is a second important event, which was part of the progression of events, that led up to what happened onshore, when Jesus appeared to His disciples. It took place just a short time after Our Savior died on The Cross and was resurrected. It was when Peter made the decision to go back to his life of fishing rather than continuing his ministry. He essentially chose to return to his pre-Salvation life. Obviously, the conversation onshore, between Our Lord and Peter, was brought about by Peter’s decision because Our Lord showed up where he was fishing.

 

This decision of Peter to go back to fishing is fascinating because of the great lesson in it. John writes about the decision in JOH 21:2-3 (New International Version): Simon Peter and Thomas, who was also called Didymus, were there together. Nathanael from Cana in Galilee and the sons of Zebedee were with them. So were two other disciples. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them. They said, “We’ll go with you.” Bear in mind that John included these verses for a reason. That reason is because three years earlier, Jesus had called Peter away from his fishing boats to fish for people instead: Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people.” (MATT 4:18-19) And for three years, Peter followed Him and watched Him perform miracle after miracle. He studied God’s Word under Him. Then, he saw Him resurrected after having been crucified on The Cross. And what did Peter do? He went back to fishing!!!

 

So, what is the important lesson in all of this? – If a believer like Peter, who had this incredible relationship and history with Jesus Christ, could abandon His Christian Walk, so could you. But if you do, do you know what will happen? Do you know how Our Savior will treat you? Well, look at how He treats Peter: He performs a miracle providing him with a huge catch of fish, cooks him breakfast and then entrusts him with a ministry of teaching and leading His sheep. Our Lord shows Peter mercy, grace, and agape love. And that is how He will always treat you. That is the lesson! And that is how we should treat those who turn against us or treat us badly. We are commanded to love one another and even love our enemies.

 

Our Lord did not bring up Peter’s sins which included: denying that he knew Christ, Jesus (three times!!); abandoning his ministry; and then feeling guilty. Why? Because He had already paid the price for those sins. An important thing to note is that it wasn’t Peter’s sins that took him away from serving God. It was his response to his sins: his guilt. All Peter had to do was remember what Jesus had taught him and what John eventually wrote in 1 JOH 1:9 (New International Reader’s Version): But God is faithful and fair. If we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done. He will make us pure. Instead, Peter got completely out of God’s Plan for his life. If he had remembered who God is and that He “will make us pure” by rebounding, he could have avoided the guilt and sadness and gotten back into God’s Plan.

 

At the end of John’s account of the conversation between Jesus and Peter that morning, Our Lord said to Peter: “Feed my sheep. What I’m about to tell you is true. When you were younger, you dressed yourself. You went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands. Someone else will dress you. Someone else will lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to point out how Peter would die. His death would bring glory to God. Then Jesus said to him, “Follow me!” (JOH 21:18-19 New International Reader’s Version) This statement is a prophecy of Our Lord’s that Peter would be crucified. It’s a confirmation from Our Lord to him that he would change and remain faithful to Christ to the end. Peter was restored and he did develop that agape love of selfless, sacrificial commitment for Jesus Christ; as he was matured after being a believer. That will be true of us as well, if our love for Him continues to deepen, as a response to His Work on The Cross.

 

As we know from reading and learning God’s Word, Peter listened to Our Savior’s command to feed His Sheep. After Christ ascended to heaven and was seated at The Right Hand of God The Father, He sent his disciples forth to go to all ends of the earth to proclaim The Gospel. Peter was the first one to preach on the day of Pentecost after the coming of The Holy Spirit and he was the first one to proclaim Christ to a Gentile.  He was one of the boldest apostles of all. He willingly suffered persecution, imprisonment, beatings, and even rejoiced at the fact that he was honored to suffer disgrace for The Lord’s Sake.

 

Peter was eventually martyred in Rome. (A martyr is a person who chooses to die or be killed rather than give up his or her religion.) Foxes Book of Martyrs states: “Among many other saints, the blessed Apostle Peter was condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome; albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof.  Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.”

 

Think about how much we have learned from John’s account of Jesus Christ’s short conversation with Peter and the story of the Miracle of the Many Fish in JOHN 21.

{to be continued}

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