Remind Me To Not Get Distracted

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After these things. After what things? Well, after the resurrection of Jesus and His appearance to  Mary Magdalene, after His appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaus,  after His appearance to the disciples as they huddled in fear behind closed doors, after He showed them His wounds and ate some fish and honey in their presence to prove to them that His was a bodily resurrection, after He told them that He was going to send them into the world just as the Father had sent Him, after He equipped them by giving them the Holy Spirit, after giving them the power to forgive and retain sins, and after His appearance to Thomas a week after His resurrection. After these things.

In both these appearances behind closed doors, the word “Peace” keeps showing up. “Peace be with you!” (20:19) “Peace to you!” (20:21,26) “Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is something that He brings to every temple in which He dwells.  And don't you just know that this peace was something the disciples needed at this moment. These were tumultuous days, days spent in fear behind closed doors.

And in 20:19, it's like Jesus announces a prophetic word to the disciples, “Peace will be with you, and then in v21 He grants them peace by breathing the Holy Spirit into them. When He appears to Thomas a week later He says the exact same words, “peace to you” and we can assume that it was at this moment that Thomas also receives the Holy Spirit at the command of Jesus.

He too has been equipped to be sent to announce forgiveness of sins to those who receive Christ and are baptized and to announce the retention of sins to those who refuse baptism and Christ. Mk 16:16)  Since the Holy Spirit has been deposited in us at our baptism, we have likewise been commissioned and sent.

Peace was brought to your bodily temple when you were baptized. Live in it! Live in it by yielding your body and soul through faith to the Lord Jesus Christ.  If you lack peace, then come to the cross and renew your surrender to Jesus, because that's where true peace comes from.

Jesus said in Jn 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  

And this peace is not to be squandered away on ourselves. It is given for a purpose. We are sent out with this peace that others may receive it as well.  When we lose sight of the purpose of our peace, we start to lose our peace because others concerns and worries take it's place.

Look at the disciples. They had this peace but something was causing it to be stolen away. A need had interrupted their tranquility. They were hungry.

I'm trying to imagine what this must've been like. Jesus seems to have had a rush of appearances in that first week after His resurrection, but not so much between the 8th day and the 40th day (His ascension).  I can picture the disciples kind of hanging out and waiting.
And their tummies are starting to growl…they're getting a little hungry.  So Peter takes the bull by the horns and says, “I'm going fishing. It's the only thing he knew apart from following Jesus and the others say, “sounds like a plan.”

But they fish all night and catch nothing. They get skunked! Morning arrives and there's Jesus wearing His old man disguise and He says to them, “Children, (laddies) have you any food?” I don't know about you, but when I'm on the shore and strike up a conversation with a fisherman in the boat, my first question is, “Did you catch anything? Do you have any fish?”

But Jesus asks, “Do you have any food?” The all knowing Jesus, knows that these guys are hungry, He sees their true need at the moment. Beloved, He sees your need as well. He knows what you need at any given moment. It may not seem like He's coming through, but that's because you don't see your real need. He does, and when He shows it to you, He'll come through.  As the Psalmist says,

“I have been young and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken.” (Ps 37:25)

So Jesus throws out the exploratory question, “Do you have any food?” “And they answered Him, “No.” Sometimes we just need to let the Lord ask us some questions regarding our need, and then we need to honestly answer Him.

We could rephrase this question from the Lord and apply it to our own lives. “Have you met your need? Have you come to the end of your own devices to meet your need? You've fished all night, tried everything you knew and your need is still unmet.

And the disciples had to answer, “No, we have not met our need.” They have come to the end of themselves, they have admitted their poverty. Even doing what they do best was not enough to meet their need. . Now the Lord is ready to do business with them.

Oh beloved, what is stealing your peace? What perceived need is consuming you? Where is your area of felt need? Have you reached the point of realizing the bankruptcy of self-reliance? The sooner you arrive their the sooner your real need will be met.

“God resists the proud, but gives grace, (heavenly help and power, He gives what is needed ) to the humble.

 This is one of the valuable benefits of taking time to get away from the daily routine and spend some time alone with God. It is in these moments that God can deal with us.
It was such a blessing to see so many of you at the prayer vigil last weekend, and I hope that God was able to address some of your needs, I know He addressed some of mine!

Well, the Lord tells the disciples to cast their net on the right side of the boat and they can't pull in all the fish! Oh boy was there need met when they came to the end of themselves! Then the light dawns on John, then on Peter, this is the Lord Jesus! And Peter can't contain himself and he dives in the water to go to His precious Jesus.

Remember this. When your need is met and you recognize that it is the Lord behind meeting that need, drop everything and go to Him in worship. A thankful outpouring of acknowledging Jesus as Lord!  Too often, our need is met and we just take it for granted. Do not become like the 10 lepers were healed and only one returned to give thanks!

There will be time enough for dealing with the nuts and bolts of the met need later, but first go to the Lord in worship and thanksgiving.

Even Peter left the Lord after he worshiped to help haul the net ashore. (v 11)

Now, let's talk about these 153 large fish. Why does John include the size and number?  I believe it all relates to the Lord's charge to the disciples to be “fishers of men.” The other incident of the miraculous catch was recorded in Luke 5 and Jesus challenged the disciples then “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

This was a reminder to the disciples that they would be going to the nations of the world to catch men with the gospel, and that there will always be room in the net for more. There is no limit to the number of souls to be won for Jesus.

The largeness of the fish indicates that these were the keepers. As Jesus said in Mt 13:47, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.  So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

In spiritual terms these fish represented those who responded to the message of the disciples. Those whose sins had been forgiven through baptism and faith in Christ. These are the “large” fish, they are large in Spirit. Large in faith!

And so we see that we have an active role in casting the net, but the Holy Spirit alone does the work of salvation. (No one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3)

Once the fish are caught, they are to be brought into fellowship “Come and eat breakfast Jesus says.”  The communion of saints.

Note in v 12 the disciples didn't dare ask this Old Man if He was the Lord, even though they knew it was Him. It's like those times you are in Sunday School class or Bible Study. A question is asked and you know the answer, but you don't dare blurt it out because you still have some misgivings.
Maybe you have misgivings? Maybe you have your doubts!  Well the misgivings of the disciples melt away as Jesus breaks the bread and distributes the fish.  No one breaks bread like Jesus. Just ask those who were present on the night in which He was betrayed. Just ask the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they didn't recognize Jesus until He broke bread. Or those 9000 who were miraculously fed with bread and fish.

No one breaks bread like Jesus. It seems strange that Jesus would disguise Himself as an old man here, but He is soon going to go away  and the disciples and His church are going to need another way of recognizing Him. This is one of the benefits of the Lord's Supper.

Every week we partake of this Supper and it may as well be breakfast on the seashore with Jesus. He is here. He is present with us as he said he would be, meeting our most basic need, the forgiveness of sins. Not disguised as an old man, but in the bread and the wine. Disguised, yet in reality His Body and blood given for us.  This is My body. This is My blood!

What comfort! What peace as we know that our sins are not retained but forgiven. What comfort to know that our every need will be met as we become engaged in fishing for men.

What a reminder of the fellowship we have with Him and each other, and what nourishment for our souls for the strength we need for the tasks that he has set before us.

What was this third appearance to His disciples but a reminder of all these things. And what did He say about this holy meal that we are about to partake in? “This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Our perceived needs can be a legitimate cause for distraction can't they?  Let this holy meal, reel our attention back in again to that which is important, namely the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ. Come, receive Him. Receive His forgiveness and leave knowing that your most basic need has been met. He is well aware of your other needs and will take care of them in His perfect timing.

What does the Bible say in Rom 8:32, “He who did not spare His only Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Your biggest need is being met right here, He will take care of your other needs as well.