Grace is Greater

John 21

Pastor Dustin Jessee | April 19, 2020

The empty tomb provides salvation for the sinner, but it also provides hope for second chances... and that's what we're going to see today.

Mark 16:7 says,

"But go, tell His disciples - and Peter - that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."

Have you ever been there? Perhaps you did something, said something, that destroyed you and your testimony?

Maybe it was something you did when you were younger that you're not proud of, and you've been living with the guilt for years...

... or maybe it's something you've done, or are going to do, this week...

We've all been there... we've all messed up, haven't we? Even if you've given up on yourself, Jesus has not given up on you!

John 21:

1. God often complicates things to get our attention.

John 21:3 says,

"Simon Peter said to them, 'I am going fishing.' They said to him, 'We are going with you also.' They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing."

The last sentence of verse 3 tells us that they caught nothing that night.

That was all Jesus! He wasn't going to let them go! He wasn't about to let them go after investing three and a half years into them.

And just as He refused to let them go, do you really think He's just going to let you go and give up on you?

Of course not!

Often times, He'll wreck your plans to work His purpose.

That night, He made sure those fishermen caught nothing, because He wanted to remind them that they were fishers of men now, and that they were nothing without Him!

2. God is present, even when you don't recognize Him.

John 21:4 says,

"But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus."

They didn't recognize Him because they weren't looking for Him.

But Jesus was looking for them... waiting for them (to realize that they were nothing without Him).

Notice verse 5: "You don't have any food (fish) do you?"

In other words, the life you're trying to live isn't working, is it?

3. God will restore you when you run to Him, not from Him.

John 21:6-8 says,

"And He said to them, 'Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.' So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish."

Remember back in verse 3, Peter said, "I'm going fishing" - I'm going back.

But here in verse 7, Peter does something I pray some of you do today...

He stops running from God, and runs to God!

And this experience wasn't pretty - as Peter jumped in with his clothes on... it was a mess... a beautiful mess. (Verse 7 says he put on his outer garment? Who does this???)

Some of you don't know the words to say or how to return to Jesus because of the stuff you've done... some of it's pretty bad...

But you see, it doesn't have to be pretty. Just jump! Just run to Jesus! Just be honest - He already knows anyway.

By the way, if this event in verse 6 sounds familiar, it's because it is:

He did the same miracle at the beginning of His ministry, too - on the day He first called Peter to follow Him.

Here, in the midst of Peter's greatest failure, Jesus re-creates the miracle of when He first called Peter. He was sending a message to Peter that the relationship is still open!

4. God must break us to restore us.

You cannot have restoration unless you have first been broken.

And here, in these verses, you see where God breaks Peter in order to fully restore Peter.

John 21:9 says,

"Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread."

Notice the charcoal fire that Jesus had prepared on the shore for them that morning. It was the same type of fire that Peter was warming himself beside on the night that he denied Jesus.

You see, not only did Jesus re-create the moment of Peter's first great miracle in verse 6, but now He also re-creates the moment of Peter's greatest failure.

Jesus doesn't address our wounds to hurt us, but to heal us!

This point is made even more clearly in versos 15-17, where we see the public restoration of Peter. (He had already dealt with him privately - see Luke 24.)

5. You can never out sin the Grace of God.

John 21:15-17 says,

"So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Feed My lambs.' He said to him again a second time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Tend My sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, 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, 'Feed My sheep.'"

In verse 15, Jesus refers to "Simon, son of Jonah." This didn't mean Jesus was mad at him - unlike when our mom says our full name! He wanted Peter's full attention... "This is important."

Essentially, when Jesus asked, "do you love me?" He was simply saying, "Good, let's move on."

God didn't have to give Peter a second chance... but God chose grace!

God is more concerned with where you're going than where you've been!

For some of you today, God is saying, "I know you messed up, I know where you've been and what you've done, but I forgive you... let's move on... let's get busy doing what I've called you to do."

Jesus is far more concerned with your potential than your past!

God did not give up on Peter and He will not give up on us! He refused to let Peter die with potential!

Don't die with potential!

I don't know about you, but I don't want my life to be dictated by my failures... I want it to be dictated by my faith!

Yes, Peter messed up... but God still used Peter, and He can still use you!

By the way, how many times did Jesus ask Peter if he loved Him?

3 times...

The same number of times Peter denied Him!

That's grace, and that was God's way of publicly restoring Peter that day!

In closing, look at verses 18-19:

"'Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.' This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, 'Follow Me.'"

Jesus told Peter he would later die on a cross.

A few weeks before, Peter denied Jesus to save himself from the cross, but when he was older, he would face the challenge of the cross once again and he would embrace it.

We may never hang on a cross, but we must carry our cross if we're to follow Jesus.

Don't come near the cross if you don't intend to carry one.