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..