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John 21:1-22

His Call Remains

  • Samuel Wilson
  • Weekend Messages
  • June 25, 2016

There are seasons when failure, difficulty and wrong choices will cause a questioning of God calling and heart. Where brokenness can even bring you to a place of questioning his call with nowhere to go. Wherever you are at this morning and despite decisions you may have made in your life, I want to remind you that His call remains.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture
His Call Remains

John 21:1-22 


Stranded in deep water.Have you ever been called to more in your relationship and walk with Jesus, made a mistake and felt stranded with nowhere to go? Or had moments of great faith followed by difficulties in walking out that faith and understanding Gods heart for you?

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

In John chapter 21 Jesus meets the disciples at the Sea of Galilee after the Lord is resurrected from the dead. He had told them in advance that they would all fall away, and that He would meet them at the Sea of Galilee.
This is a story of when the Lord restores and forgives
them. It’s beautiful to see the Lord restoring them, reminding that His call remains.
Read John 21:1-22 
All had fallen away prior to Jesus being crucified, including these 7 disciples we read about in John 21. These disciples, broken and lacking direction, went back to what was once their profession, fishing. 

Peter and the other disciples in this story had previously been called by Jesus to leave their fishing nets behind and follow him. 

Peter denied Jesus three times prior to his crucifixion, and he was broken. He would seemingly waver in his understanding of God’s grace, His love and ultimately, the calling on his life.
There are seasons when failure, difficulty and wrong choices will cause a questioning of God calling and heart. Where brokenness can even bring you to a place of questioning his call with nowhere to go.
Wherever you are at this morning and despite decisions you may have made in your life, I want to remind you that His call remains. 
I.    Look to the Lord
  • Jesus had told his disciples to meet him in Galilee (Matt. 28:10). They followed his instructions by going to Galilee and then waited. 
  • While waiting, Peter decided to go fishing and the other disciples with him chose to join. These 7 disciples fished all night and caught nothing.
  • While the realization of this failed fishing trip was setting in, Jesus calls out to these disciples; “Children, you do not have any fish do you?” (vs. 5).
  • He then tells them to cast their net on the right hand side of the boat and they would find a catch.
  • After following his instructions, they haul in a large catch, realizing that this man they are looking to on the shore is the Lord.
  • After the failed night of fishing, likely tired, they see to the Lord on the shore.
A.    He transforms failure
  • Looking down at the net full of fish they were immediately reminded of when they first met Jesus. John quickly said to them, “it is the Lord.”
  • This was a familiar circumstance. 


Luke 5:1-11 When they first met Jesus

  • Peter and the disciples had gone back to what they knew and were once good at. But things were different now.

App – Reverting back to what I knew on the basketball court.

  • Jesus came to transform their failure and remind them that his presence in their lives had changed everything.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
  • With nothing to show for their night of fishing, Jesus calls out to them in order to transform their failure.
  • Sometimes the Lord allows us to fail in order show us our error in judgement and to correct our course.
App - A costly ticket.
  • I made a poor decision consciously that I never made again.
Psalm 119:71, It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn from your statutes.
  • Good would come out of failure for the disciples. This would come with a greater understanding that the Lord was at work and in control.
Psalm 127:1-2, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for it is He who gives to His beloved even while He sleeps.
  • As a follower of Christ it is critical to not allow mistakes, difficulties, or failure dictate your next steps. Rather, allow Jesus to guide your future, he will transform.
B.    He will direct your path
  • Jesus instructed the disciples to cast their net on the right hand side of the boat in order to find a catch. 
  • He was opening their eyes to see him, to bring them back. He was at work and this was a critical hour.
App. – A friendly reminder to follow Jesus and a trip to church.
  • The disciples needed God to direct their next step, to understand that his call was still on their lives.
  • For us today, his call remains intact, despite where you have gone or what you have gone back to, Jesus is on the shore and calling out, “how is it going out there?”
  • God transforms failure and he will direct your path.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18, “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
  • Jesus had not forgotten his appeal to the disciples, he had directed them to leave their nets.
  • If they were successful on this fishing trip without Jesus matters would only be confused. He was calling them back.
Illus. The transformation of Peter – The rock, the one who also walked on water.
  • The disciples responded to Jesus instruction and cast their net on the other side which brought in a great catch and changed not only the course of their next several hours, but their lives.
II.     God Persists in His Love
  • After the great catch, Peter jumps out of the boat to swim towards the shore as others pull in the catch behind their boat.
  • Jesus has a charcoal fire and breakfast for them all to share.
  • Jesus then has a private conversation with Peter. Peter had a need for restoration.
  • Peter previously made great promises to Jesus and failed significantly, rejecting Jesus three times. On that night, he wept bitterly and was full of remorse.
  • Throughout our lives, we understand what it means to fail and it is critical that we know the heart of God when we do.
  • Remember that he persists in his love and does not reject those he has chosen.
Is. 41:9, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts and said to you, ‘you are my servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.’
  • In failure, many feel unworthy and might be willing to give up, rather than giving their future to the Jesus.
  • God’s love remains despite your situation, his love persists in order to remove the cloud of shame, guilt or failure. Jesus extends his grace.
A.    Love Him supremely
  • What had taken place between Peter and Jesus had to be addressed, it could not go unspoken. 
  • Jesus sought Peter, to restore him, to show his heart to him and point him back to the calling on his life.
Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”
  • When they had finished breakfast Jesus addresses Peter directly by asking, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Illus. There are three words for Love common in the Greek language. Eros love, is love on the physical level. Phileo is the love of friendship, being fond of or brotherly love. Agape love is a love of total commitment of self, or to love supremely.
  • Jesus starts with asking Peter “do you agape me more than these?” Then, “do you agape me?” Lastly, “Simon, son of John, do you phileo me?” (vs. 15-17).
  • Peter responded yes each time, but responded with “phileo” rather than “agape.”
  • Jesus came down to level of love Peter would allow.
  • To the degree with which we make ourselves available to the Lord, he will be available.
  • Peter was hurt when the Lord came down to his level but was not ready to rise to the level Jesus was speaking of.
Matthew 26:33, “Even though all may fall away
because of you, I will never fall away.”
  • Peter, once quite zealous, rash and impulsive, shows great uncertainty to respond with agape love. 
  • Jesus did not just ask once, he restored Peter’s previous denial by asking him three times if he loved.
  • Each time Jesus asked Peter to affirm his love, Jesus then told Peter, “Tend my lambs,” “Shepherd My sheep” and “tend my sheep.”
  • He was asking Peter to love him supremely.
B.    Follow Him fully
  • In other words, Peter, if you love me, don’t go back to fishing, care for those I love; my call remains.
Ezekiel 34:15-16, “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God. “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick;”
  • Here was our Lord, walking with Peter, seeking him, bringing him back from failure and restoring him to the calling on his life.
John 21:18-20
  • When Jesus calls you to follow him, he wants you to follow without comparing to others.
App - My first track meet.
  • We can' be worried about what others are doing, or what they aren’t doing, but remain faithful in the calling he has given each of us. To trust him with our lives.
You may be in a situation where you gave your life to Jesus and then denied him, or turned away, or made a mistake and because of this, you have gone back to living the way you did before you even knew Christ. The Lord can turn failure into an opportunity and bring about incredible restoration. His call remains, will you respond?

John 21:1-22    NASB

1 After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifestedHimself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sonsof Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will also come with you." They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
5 So Jesus said to them, "Children, you do not have any fish, do you?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.
9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have now caught."11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise.14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs."16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep.
18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go."19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me!"
20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?" 22 Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" 
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