Restored Disciples

ONCE a preacher was invited to a dinner meeting, many guests reached for the meeting and the preacher was asked to give a brief sermon after the dinner. The preacher came and sat down at the table and suddenly realized that he had forgotten something very important to him i.e. his denture/false teeth.

Turning to the old man next to him he said, “I forgot my denture.” could you please help me out. The old man said, “No problem.” He put his hands into the pocket and pulled out a pair of a dentures.
“Try these,” he said. The speaker tried them. “Too loose,” the preacher said. The man then said, “I have another pair – try these.”
The preacher tried them and responded, “Too tight.” The old man was not taken a back at all. He then said, don’t worry “I have one more pair. Try them.”

The preacher said, “They fit perfectly.”With that, he ate his meal and gave his speech.
After the dinner meeting was over, the preacher went over to thank the old man who had helped him. “I want to thank you for coming to my aid. Where is your clinic? I’ve been looking for a good dentist.” The old man replied

“I’m not a dentist. I’m a caretaker of city mortuary”

Many times in our Christian life, we feel lonely and stagnant in our spiritual life, and a routine life dominates our day to day activities. We hardly recognize the presence of God. Sometimes we tend to forget the relationship that we have with our God and His plan for our life. In this type of situation, some people may backslide in their spiritual life. And also people may feel life is worthless and lose their direction.

An incident in the Bible describes how Jesus had restored His disciples when they backslid when the circumstances went beyond their expectations, and how He put them back on track and how they effectively changed the course of an early church history.
From John 21:1-22 (Breakfast by the sea)

we can learn the following lessons:

1. God is interested in ordinary people.
2. God is interested in obedience, more than in our talent/competence.
3. God is interested in relationships
4. God is interested in restoration, not in separation
5. God is interested in ordinary people, people to execute His plans for mankind

Read John 21: 1-2.
This incident happens by the sea shore.  Jesus appeared many times to the disciples after His resurrection on different occasions and this was the third time that Jesus appeared to his disciples. Jesus has a special purpose for this appearance to give a mission to Peter. He had a plan, shared it personally with Peter, and restored him back as an apostle.

When we look at all the 12 disciples, all are hailed from very ordinary Jewish families, and lowest strata of the Jewish society.They were very insignificant people in the eyes of the Roman government and Jesus builds His kingdom on the foundations of very common people.
Now Jesus appears at the sea of Tiberias  also called by name of Galilee (John 6:1)

The Sea of Galilee is mentioned in the Bible by 3 other names:

1. The Sea of Kinnereth (or Chinnereth), from its harp-like shape.
2. The Sea of Tiberias.
3. The Lake of Gennesareth.

Much of the ministry of Lord Jesus Christ and numerous of His miracles took place in the area of the Sea of Galilee.
From the fishermen, of the Sea of Galilee came at least four of The Twelve Apostles – Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Jesus stilled the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee that was about to swamp their boat. Jesus and Peter to a limited extent walked on the water there. Near its shores, Jesus fed the five thousand men, women, and children from the miraculous multiplication of five loaves of bread and two fish. Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake and river Jordan flows through it and connects the Dead Sea.

one way or another way it is a favorite meeting place for Lord and disciples (Luke 5:1-11) from this place only, Simon Peter was called by Jesus to the ministry.

Now look at how many disciples were present there
Simon Peter (fisherman) 2. Thomas 3. Nathaniel 4. James (fisherman) 5. John (fisherman) 6 & 7 (two other names not recorded here) so out of 12, 7 is the majority so a majority of the people gather here and venturing out something they are trained from their childhood. That is fishing.

2. God interested in obedience, not in talent/competence to do the miracles

Read John 21:3-6

Here we can see those disciples going back to their old profession and as usual Peter leading the team or Peter initiated the task by telling them here also. They were scattered and they lost their identity, now no Jesus so no following of multitude of people, Jesus used to take care of their needs but now they were helpless. They were left with no option but except fishing. So peter said to them “I am going fishing” so that other disciples followed peter. The disciples’ toiled whole night, they tried their level best to catch fish but all their efforts failed and they caught nothing.

Now the time was early morning and one man came near to them and asked for food but disciples said they had nothing. And immediately that man suggested them to cast the net on their right side of the boat and they got plenty of fish, they marveled at the miracle.

Here we can see the obedience of disciples to a stranger. Have you observed that here a trained fishermen followed the order of a stranger. Here we can see their humble submission to Jesus’ words and obedience brought blessing to them. They didn’t think that they knew everything and they were already tried. But they had hope in Jesus that let us try and listen to this man. They did not depend on their talent but depending on the words of Lord Jesus Christ.

Many times we also stop doing things because of our old experiences. Our past will try to dominate the future experiences. Past life, past habits, past sins try to bind our future. But here disciples in spite of their failures tried to obey the instructions of Jesus Christ. You all know the how the elephants are trained. The formula of a trainer.

If you are willing to obey despite your past experiences here Jesus is willing to perform the miracle. Will you be ready to obey Him?

3. God is interested in relationships, not in business

Read John 21: 7-14

Here we can see how Lord dealt with the disciples. I think most of the disciples were depressed, and Peter was guilty too. It is just like changing their job and venturing new avenues.

One of the disciples i.e. John recognized the person who came to meet them. And he told to Peter and peter immediately put on his cloths because he removed it earlier and other disciples are helping in bringing the net the shore.

Now we can see Jesus preparing breakfast for disciples and he wants a fellowship meal with them.

Jesus didn’t point out that why they left him or cheated him or why they did go back to their old profession but Jesus just hosting a beautiful breakfast with his loved ones.

What matters most to the Jesus is not the ministry which was left by his disciples but the relationship between him and disciples. Business is not matters but the relationship matters.

Jesus wants to bring back the courage of the disciples and remove their shame and guilt feelings.

Jesus wanted to restore their identity as His disciples which they had prior to his death, and wanted them to continue their ministry.

Jesus wanted to put them back on track so he prepared a fire, fish and bread. Also, he recognized their hard work and asked them to bring their catch.

Jesus reestablished all seven disciples for the kingdom of God. a simple forgiveness, heart of loving people and heart of accepting people can transform anybody into Christ likeness

Will you willing to forgive and accept the people who betrayed you?

4. God interested in restoration, not in separation
Read John21: 15-22

Here we can see a face to face encounter between Peter and Jesus Christ. It is just like a captain meeting the team manger and settling the things.

Disciple John recorded a personal conversation between peter and Jesus in a dramatic way putting all emotions and actions.

Jesus had a personal interest to talk with peter in a special way and he wants to entrust the ministry to peter.

Here Peter was in need of personal counselling. Here we can see Jesus’ loving approach in spite of peter’s impatience.

Jesus personally entrusted ministry to peter.

Sometimes we also like Peter running away from God’s plan and his ministry We may be comfortable in our old lifestyle, even though there may be guilt or shame.

Sometimes we may also be more concerned about others than ourselves.

Taking up the cross and following Christ is personal commitment and a matter of trusting God for our life. It is not because of outward factors but it is from within.

Chances will not come all the time when a chance comes we have to grab it.

Our life in this world is very limited and we have to take a decision.

Are you ready to take up the Cross and follow His footsteps?

KPR Joseph Abhishek, working with Government of India.

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