THE AFTERMATH OF THE CROSS
Sermon Verse: John 21:1-19
When is the last time you opened up the dryer and your clothes were perfectly folded? When is the last time you threw together a bunch of ingredients and started eating something that just happened to taste good? We live in a world that goes from order to decay. Our body is leading to death from day one. As soon as we are born, we are destined for death someday. The Bible says all men experience birth, death and judgement. We cannot overcome this depressing truth. We are fighting like crazy to fight death.
John 10:10 says “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” Jesus didn’t just come to solve some of our problems. Jesus restores our life. What good would it have done if Jesus solved every problem with the exception of the main problem? Imagine getting a new house, better job, good relationships, but still heading toward death, an eternal one. Jesus conquered death, our main problem. Before He did this, we had no hope because death was victorious. Because of what Jesus did, we can shout “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
Jesus did this by taking everything that you deserve, so you could experience everything that He deserves: sonship in God, fruitfulness of life, blessing and not cursing. For Jesus it was a Bad Friday. For us it was a Good Friday. It only became “good” because of what happened the following Sunday! The disciples didn’t know that it was a Good Friday because they didn’t know the whole story. For them it was originally a very bad Friday. Where do they go? Their leader was dead and they had nothing to do.
Before the disciples knew Jesus conquered the grave by rising from the dead, they went back to what they had known before Him: fishing. In John 21:7 the disciples realize that it was Jesus calling out to them from the shore. Jesus’ response to them in the following verses paint a pretty clear picture of how Jesus sees us in light of the resurrection.
The first thing that Jesus prioritizes with the disciples and Peter is relationships. They shared breakfast together (verse 12). There’s something different about breakfast. We will eat dinner with everyone, but we only eat breakfast with our friends. Jesus displays our new relationship to Him in John 15:15 “no longer do I call you servants, I call you friend.”
The second priority is forgiveness. Jesus specifically displays this to Peter in verses 15-17. Just a few days prior, Peter had denied Jesus three times after swearing to Jesus he would NEVER do such a thing. He screwed up. Big time. Who was the first one to run towards Jesus on the shore? Peter. Jesus’ reaction to Peter is a wonderful display of God’s reconciliation to man. Jesus asks him three times, “Peter do you love me?” Three times Peter says, “Yes Lord you know that I love you.” Jesus responds, “Feed my sheep.” Here we see Jesus goes straight for the heart, not the guilt or shame or condemnation. All 3 times he restores the broken relationship.
The third priority Jesus displays is purpose. In verses 18 and 19 Jesus speaks into Peter’s future death on a cross. A stark change from the restoration he just had with Peter. The resurrection is the promise of a bright future, an eternal one. We are not citizens of this earth, we are citizens of heaven. So when Jesus tells Peter that he will be crucified for Jesus’ sake. it prepares Peter for his eternal purpose.
In all three of these priorities, Jesus is ultimately displaying the love He has for us. The message of Easter, the message of the cross is God’s love for mankind. Romans 5:8 says “God demonstrates His own love towards us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” After Jesus died, He sealed His purpose by coming back to life. The message of the cross is that it equals love because Jesus raised from the dead. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, our faith would be useless.