What to Do When Life Gets Confusing - Lessons from Peter's Restoration
Video from DTBM
"Unseen on the shore, Jesus waited for them to realize how empty and fruitless it is to step away from following Jesus. It is very hard to follow Jesus. Paul called it agonizing, and so it was. But hard as it is to follow Jesus, it is far worse to not do so! The first lesson of obedience that prompted love that morning was— 1. Jesus wanted them to know they couldn’t do anything on their own (vv. 1-3). “… and that night they caught nothing.” All night long the disciples had cast the net, waited, drew the net back, pulled it in soaking their clothes, and finding each time—nothing. Nothing. That is how it can be in our jobs, our homes, our careers and our hearts when we take our lives back from Christ’s hands and take the reins into our hands. Our work is empty, our relationships are empty, our accomplishments don’t cheer us, and our past track record no longer encourages us. We dip the nets of life as we always have and each time they come up empty. That leads to the second lesson of obedience prompted love that morning was— 2. Jesus wanted them to know He won’t bless anything done apart from Him. John 21:4-5 Have you caught any fish? Looking up in the dim light and through the mists of the lake, they could see a lone figure on the shore. The answer was obvious, but it was also a reminder of the emptiness of their nets and of their lives at that moment. Ministry that is self-prompted, self-directed, self-energized, and self-satisfied will always come up empty of eternal value and lead to the emptiness of the soul. “No” [nothing has come of all our efforts all night long]—that was the answer Christ wanted to hear. So, He initiates the third lesson of obedience prompted love that morning was— 3. Jesus wanted them to learn to follow His directions for their lives. John 21:6 Peter was the greatest fisherman he had ever known; and inside began to boil with indignation at a landlubber’s impudence giving him directions. But what else was there to do since nothing else mattered anyway. So Peter the leader, Peter the pendular, went from anger to resignation and the men followed throwing the net where they were commanded to throw it. The sharp tug on the rope in his hand, the weight of an entire shoal of fish summoned by the Master of Creation—jerked Peter out of resignation and apathy to full alert. The key is not why Jesus said, “Cast on the right side”, because if Jesus had said the left side, that is where the fish would have gone. It is not where we serve or how we serve but whether we serve at Christ’s command! The key was listening to Jesus, doing what He said, and not operating on our own initiative and in our own wisdom. But the sight before Peter’s eyes of 153 of the largest, strongest, fighting and splashing fish ever surrounded by his nets instantly made Peter’s head jerk up, eyes squinting and riveted on that lone figure on the shore. That was the start of the fourth lesson of obedience prompted love that morning was— 4. Jesus wanted them to know that He ONLY blesses obedience. John 21:7-11 As his heart told him the same, Peter heard John’s voice behind him; and filled with awe and worship for the miracle they were experiencing again. “It is the Lord!” Peter needed one thing always and only, and that was to be back as close as he could be to Jesus. The pendulum had swung wildly these past days. But nothing drew him, and caught him like the thought of Christ’s presence. In a flash he was overboard and swimming with all his might through those cold dark waters that had separated him from Jesus for even a moment. If you are listening to this story of Christ’s dealing with Peter and likewise feel empty and frustrated and aimless—maybe you need to follow Peter’s lead. Stop anything else you are doing and lift your eyes to Jesus, gaze at Him and listen to what He commands you to do, and obey. Jesus has a work for each of us to do and a way for us to do it—only when we are willing to stop, listen, and obey—can He do it. That is a lesson for all of us this morning." from video introduction.