1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he [himself].
2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the [sons] of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

(John 21:1-3 AV)

In a Time We Ought to Rejoice

In The setting of our text, we see that Jesus has already been crucified, He has risen from the grave and even appeared to all of the Apostles. Knowing that Christ has Risen, it seems that the Apostles would have been excited; At a time like this, they had great reason to rejoice. However, we see in our text that Peter decided to go fishing and several of the Apostles went with him. This action does not seem appropriate, but as Christians, we often do the same thing. God has blessed us, often things are going great, yet we get so caught up in the cares of this world or just our carnal flesh, that we fail to praise our Lord.

There are three things we should consider about these people in our text that we'll discuss as we apply this lesson to our lives. We must remember that these Apostles were ordinary people just like you and me.

First of all, they were a dedicated people. These were not just common followers of Christ, they were His Apostles, His workers. We could compare these people to our pastors, our missionaries, members of an evangelistic or missionary team, veteran Sunday school teachers, deacons or whomever you would consider the most dedicated of Christians. They were those who had decided to go the extra mile and give their lives to His service. Whenever we consider ourselves faithful and dedicated, we must remember that "pride goeth before destruction."

Second, we see that they were a discouraged people. Although they had reason to rejoice, that was not of themselves, for inside their hearts were feelings of guilt and disappointment. I'm sure each of them was ashamed to face Christ after their failures preceding the crucifixion. At the last supper, they had actually argued over which of them was the greatest. Then when Jesus went to the garden at Gethsemenie to pray during His final hours before His death, Peter, James and John went with Him; But rather than praying, they slept. After that, they saw Judas, one whom that had trusted, betray Christ. To make things even worse, Peter later denied he even knew his Lord, which he'd just sworn to Christ he'd never do; And after Christ had risen, Thomas doubted that it was even Him. Carrying such a tremendous load of guilt, or more appropriately, conviction, they must have been very discouraged.

Third, we see that they were a defeated people. After traveling with Christ throughout His ministry and being faithful to Him all that time, and then so utterly failing Him at the end they must have really felt defeated. It seems that in our text that Peter and the other Apostles had decided to do something they knew they could succeed in; Yet Peter, the great fisherman, and the other Apostles, who were no doubt experts themselves, even failed at that, for the Bible says "that night they caught nothing." Now if that's not defeat, I don't know what is.

Perhaps the greatest feeling to experience after a long night of trouble is to hear the birds singing and the light appearing in the east and realize that a brighter day is about to dawn. For these disciples, I am sure that was the case as the scripture says, "But when morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore." They once again put their trust in Jesus as He told them to cast their net on the right side and then they realized it was time to rejoice. They then knew as Christians they couldn't even do what they knew best, without the guidance of their Lord.

By Van Billingsley
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