Guest Post: Failed, Fruitless, Fed up

fed upGuest post from Glen..

If Jesus ever caught up with you, what do you think He’d say?

Imagine that you haven’t led the purest life in the world. Imagine, for a second, that you have sins in your life. And they’re not just a part of your past, they’re a part of your present.  You haven’t been the perfect father, mother, son, daughter, friend, employer, employee, citizen, Christian. You’ve failed.

But you’re not just failed, you’re also fruitless… not  fulfilling your calling, not maximising your gifts, not setting the world on fire. Just keeping busy with insignificant stuff.

And now, finally,  you’re fed up – wondering whether it’s all worth it. And just when you think it can’t get any worse – Jesus turns up, in all His risen glory.

Failed, fruitless, fed up. What do you think He would say to you?

In John 21, the disciples are in just this situation. Only days ago they had failed Jesus in His hour of need. They had literally left Him for dead.  Since then He has risen. He has spoken peace to them (John 20). But the day of Pentecost is still future, and they feel at a bit of a loss.  Peter says “I’m going fishing.”  He doesn’t know what else to do.  So he goes back to the old life.  And the others follow him.

All night they fish but they catch nothing (v3). Failed, fruitless and fed up. And what does Jesus say?  Four things, and notice the progression…

Friends, haven’t you any fish? (v5)

Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some. (v6)

Bring some of the fish you have just caught. (v10)

Come and have breakfast. (v11)

It’s beautiful. They’d sold Him out but His first word is friendly. Because they are friends, He teases them gently. “You seem tired fellas? Caught anything??”  He knows they haven’t. But this is how He will draw them out of their failed, fruitless frustration.

Essentially He says:

My friend, that fruitless old life, it’s not working is it?

Will you trust me and not your old strategies?

Bring your little efforts to me – nothing’s failed in my hands. And finally..

Let’s feast!


6 thoughts on “Guest Post: Failed, Fruitless, Fed up

  1. yep that was me, i am still a sinner but conscious of it – i now that i am not perfect. (i am now aware of my sin in God’s “eyes” and that only Jesus can look at that sin and wash it away through repentance – because God the Father cannot look at sin. Please explain “but the day of pentecost is still future” because im not sure what this means. God Bless you x katherine

  2. Hi Katherine,

    John 21 takes place in between Jesus’ resurrection and the day of Pentecost when the Spirit was poured out in a special way (see Acts 2). It was an in-between time – Jesus is risen but the disciples are not yet “clothed with power” as Luke 24:49 puts it. Hence Peter – not knowing what else to do – goes fishing.

  3. thank you glen i will read Acts 2. I do wonder if when Jesus’s side when “dead” ( he was not in heaven neither on earth ) on the cross was pierced not only blood flowed out but water also. this could relate to the cleansing water (death of old life – new life with Jesus) in a baptism. Or Moses hitting the stone with his his staff to give the life giving water of Jesus, from which we will never go thirsty – what do you think. regards kath

  4. Hi Katherine, I think the immediate context is John 4 (the other time when Jesus goes thirsty to provide others with Living Water) and John 7:37-38

    “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”

    I think that’s best understood as: out of *Jesus* will flow the Living Water which all the thirsty can drink. And yes ‘water from the rock’ in Moses day was a powerful foreshadowing of this. (I think baptism is only tangentially related to this particular truth).

  5. Glen, thank you so much. Been really struggling with some incredibly stupid old patterns this week – feeling exactly as you describe – failing and fruitless. That has really helped.

  6. John 6:28-29
    Amplified Bible (AMP)
    28 They then said, What are we to do, that we may [habitually] be working the works of God? [What are we to do to carry out what God requires?]
    29 Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger].

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