Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Sunday April 10th 2016 - / John 21:1-14 / Breakfast with Jesus.
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr Ted A. Giese / April 10th Easter 3 - / John 21:1-14.
After this Jesus revealed Himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and He revealed Himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. They say, you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy – or in Peter’s case you can take the boy out of the fishing boat but you can’t take the Fisher out of the boy. Peter was a fisher of fish before he met Jesus and Jesus made him a fisher of men, yet Peter still went a’ fishin.’ Here we have Peter doing just that.
Before today’s Gospel reading Peter had seen the resurrected Jesus twice before, once in the upper room with Thomas and the others, (we heard about this last week) and also Peter saw Jesus one week before that on the first Easter Sunday again in the upper room (The same upper room where they had celebrated the Passover together and had had Holy Communion for the first time the night in which Jesus was betrayed and was handed over for crucifixion). It had been a long journey for Peter from meeting this insistent Galilean from Nazareth who had healed his Mother-in-law in Capernaum, and called him off of his fishing boat, to today’s reading on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (or as it’s better known – the Sea of Galilee). Peter had witnessed Jesus heal the sick, feed thousands with a couple loaves of bread and fish, he’d heard Jesus teach and outwit crafty opponents, Peter had seen Jesus raise the dead and walk on water and command the weather and shine like the sun and touch the unclean and love the “unlovable” and Peter had seen the empty tomb of Easter morning and then had seen the risen Lord Jesus with his own eyes. But now what? We aren’t told what Peter was thinking when he went back out to fish the night before that morning, maybe he was thinking it was all over for them, all over for him, yes Jesus had revealed Himself to them twice before this but maybe that was it; perhaps Peter was thinking that he’d better get back to what he knew best, fishing, that he'd better get back into some kind of gainful employment. And yet discovering that it is Jesus on the beach that morning had a huge impact on Peter and Peter was not daunted by his personal troubles in that moment, Peter simply throws himself in to the water and rushes ashore to spend time with Jesus. There’s nothing in Peter’s relationship with Jesus that could keep Peter away from Jesus.
Peter was not perfect, he’d early on, had a mixed up idea of who Jesus was supposed to be,yes it was given to him from above to confess Jesus as the Christ but then Peter couldn't see how Jesus' death and resurrection could be a part of being the Christ, he’d tried to fight to protect Jesus as Jesus was being arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, he’d run away in the night, he’d denied knowing Jesus as Jesus was on trial and he’d been left pondering the events of the crucifixion and the empty tomb that first Easter Morning, Peter had needed Jesus’ forgiveness often and this morning’s reading is setting the stage for Peter’s forgiveness yet again. You see our Gospel reading ends with a dripping wet Peter who’d thrown himself into the water and had rushed to see Jesus at the shore and who had jumped back on the boat, once it was ashore, to hall off that huge catch of miraculous fish over to the place where Jesus was. This is pretty much were our reading ends today but this isn’t where the story ends, with the breakfast over, “Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” [Peter] said to Him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love You.” [Jesus] said to [Peter], “Feed My lambs.” [Jesus] said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” [Peter] said to Him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love You.” [Jesus] said to [Peter], “Tend My sheep.” [Jesus] said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because [Jesus] said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” and [Peter] said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This [Jesus] said to show by what kind of death [Peter] was to glorify God.) And after saying this [Jesus] said to [Peter], “Follow me.”
And there it is, Peter is right back to the beginning, back to that first day with Jesus, back to the day Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee when He’d said to Peter and Peter’s brother Andrew, “Follow Me. And I will make you fishers of men.” A lot had happened between that first call and the one following today Gospel reading, but regardless of all that, there Peter was with Jesus on the beach again being asked “Follow Me.” This is the root of forgiveness. Jesus is always saying this to us, He is always saying to you “Follow Me.” No matter if you’ve got Jesus figured out perfectly, no matter if you’ve sinned and hurt others or if you’ve run away from Him or denied Him or doubted Him Jesus is always calling out to you, “Follow Me.” This is forgiveness.
A Jewish psychiatrist once said, “Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation” Some people feel like God is busy retaliating against them for everything that they’ve done wrong, but here in the Gospel we see God come to His disciples once again with forgiveness and the fulfilment of His promises. Jesus personally brakes this seemingly endless cycle with His given Body and His Shed blood. Before His death on the Cross Jesus had told His disciples many times that He “must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Saint John, in the Gospel that bears his name, again shows us Jesus doing just this, particularly Jesus showing the disciples His risen Body which is proof of God’s Love for them and for you.
We started off with the saying: “You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy” then we expanded it by saying that in Peter’s case you can take the boy out of the fishing boat but you can’t take the Fisher out of the boy. When it comes to sin many people would think you can take the boy out of the sin but you can’t take the sin out of the boy. Or something like “once a thief always a thief,” but this isn’t Jesus’ Way for you, it isn’t Jesus Truth for you, and it isn’t Jesus’ Life for you. When it comes to sin the forgiveness won by Jesus at the cross, the forgiveness proven by the empty tomb is perfect in its power to remove sin. When Jesus forgives you, it is complete forgiveness, its perfect forgiveness. The world might constantly bring up your past, tossing in your face, but Jesus will not, Jesus will forgive you just as He forgave Peter. If you’ve gone back to your old ways, Jesus will be on the beach calling out to you; if you’ve been caught up again in that trouble that doesn’t seem to want to let you go, that sin that seems to have your number, Jesus will still say to you “Follow Me.”
Dear Christians you are sealed into this same Jesus in your Baptism and for this reason you are free daily to return to those waters in Christ Jesus and gain a new fresh start; by daily confession, by daily asking for the forgiveness of Jesus you will be washed clean, Jesus’ fresh start is all yours. Morning and evening and at any other time of the day you can remember your baptism, examine your condition with the ten commandments and pray the Lord’s Prayer which includes the petition “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In this you have a fresh start when you get up and a fresh start when you go to your sleep and a fresh start at any other time that you need it. This fresh start is in Jesus, in His resurrection He gives it to you as a gift just as He gave it to Peter.
Even still Peter needed to hear it from the lips of Jesus, and Jesus came to Peter and spoke forgiveness to him on that beach. We in our lives need to hear the words of forgiveness too; we need to hear that Jesus’ forgiveness is for me. We need to be reminded that even today we are still dripping wet, sopping wet with the waters of our baptism into Jesus. So it is that God in His great mercy and loving kindness gives us the office of the keys, He gives us pastors and fellow Christians who can say to you, “You are forgiven.” People who direct us back to who we are in Baptism, who direct us back to that identity that we have in Christ. When you hear these words, “You are forgiven,” you can trust them because Jesus said to His disciples “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” This is good news for you, because when we are alone, when we are apart from our fellow Christians in Christ Jesus, we are often unsure of the forgiveness we have received because day in and day out the devil and our own sinful flesh sows seeds of doubt on the forgiveness of Jesus, attempting to tarnish that forgiveness and spoil it. A good day, then, is a day when we hear Jesus’ forgiveness pronounced to us, spoken to us by a fellow Christian, by our pastor. Each day like that is precious, each day like that is a gift.
But there is a better day coming, a day when you will get up from your sleep, the sleep of death, and on that day you will experience forgiveness for the last time, forgiveness that will go right down to the very marrow of your bones, right down to the insides of every cell in your body, right down to your DNA, cancelling out every effect of sin, on that day there will never be need of forgiveness ever again, all the troubles and sorrows that come with sin will be removed forever. On the last day Saint John tells us that there will be “a loud voice from the throne [of God] saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Saint John continues to tell us in his Revelation, that, “[Jesus] who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” 
That morning, on the beach with Peter, Jesus was making Peter new, as Jesus forgives you, you are being made new. On the last day all things will be made new and they will never need to be made new again. In the mean time Jesus has made this commitment to you, by His shed blood and His promises, that He will make you new each and every time you come to Him for forgiveness, each and every time you rely on the gifts given to you in your baptism and in the meal you will share this day, each and every time you come with a repentant heart to Him in the prayer He teaches you to pray. In making Peter new through forgiveness Jesus didn't make Peter acceptable to the world, the Christian life is not acceptable to the world, it runs against the grain of the selfishness and personal desires prized by the world. It is Jesus who turns you back to God by the working of His Holy Spirit, you are not able to do this yourself.
Remember that self forgiveness, "forgiving yourself," is like fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus’ forgiveness comes to you by His word, and in the Sacraments He instituted, and in an instant you have more forgiveness than you could imagine, so much forgiveness that you are not even able to haul it into your boat. Such is the Love of God, when you have nothing to eat He already has breakfast cooking for you on the beach. When you are dead in your sin God already has forgiveness prepared for you, when you have followed a different path that leads away from Him He is there saying “Follow Me” when others would say “good riddance” and “be gone.” Saint Thomas’ surprise was that Jesus was risen from the dead, Saint Peter’s surprise was that this same Jesus still wanted Him to be a fisher of men, after everything that had happened, and that this same Jesus forgave him for all his sins. This same Jesus every day says to you “Follow Me” and every day this same Jesus extends His forgiveness to you. You are forgiven: In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
 “Hollywood 1938.” Henry Major & Bugs Baer. The phrase ‘you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy’ was first seen in this book as a caption to a caricature of James Stewart.
 John 20:24-31
 John 20:19-23
 Luke 22:7-23
 Mark 1:29-31
 Mark 1:16-20
 Mark 1:32-34, 2:1-12, 3:1-6, 5:1-20, 5:21-34
 Mark 6:30-44, 8:1-10, Luke 9:10-17
 Mark 10:1-12, Luke 6:27-49
 Mark 12:13-17
 Mark 5:35-43, Luke 7:11-17
 Mark 6:45-52
 Luke 8:22-25
 Mark 9:2-13, Luke:9:28-36
 Luke 5:12-16
 Mark 7:24-30, Luke 7:36-50, Luke 19:1-10
 John 20:1-10, Luke 24:1-12
 Luke 24:36-49
 Mark 8:31-33
 John 18:1-11
 Mark 14:50
 John 18:15-18, 25-27
 John 20:1-10
 John 21:15-19
 Roberto Assagioli, “If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren’t There More Happy People?” John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, pg. 124.
 Mark 8:31
 “A Spanish-English and English-Spanish Dictionary, with Grammar,” John Stevens, 1706. One of the earliest recordings of the idiom ‘once a thief always a thief.’
 “Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation” 1991. pg. 32.
 ibid, pg. 26-29.
 John 20:23
 Revelation 21:3-5
 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
 John 21:24-31