John 21:7 "Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea."
In yesterday's blog we noted some general observations about how John aims in his gospel and in John 21 to show you and I the importance of seeing and knowing Jesus more. Today I want us to draw out some specific applications from John 21:1-17. How is it that Jesus makes Himself more clearly known to His disciples and you as a follower of His by faith? We discover that Jesus is more clearly known in the following ways, namely...
1. In obedience He is known more clearly. 21:1-7a
Recently I heard Dr. Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church at Dallas, TX, point out that only in obedience will we be able to understand and know the Lord better. Isn't that always the case? Imagine what would had happened if Peter and the disciples had not heeded Jesus' instructions? They knew there was a man standing on the shoreline, but did not yet recongnize him to be Jesus. (John 21:4) Furthermore they heard a voice call out to them, but it had not yet dawned on them that it was the voice of their Master. Yet as soon as they cast that net as Jesus instructed, John 21:7 states: "Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
2. By His Word we draw to Him more nearly. 21:7b-10
As soon as the Apostle John (the one whom Jesus loved) declared the words "it is the Lord", the demeanor of everyone in the boat changed. Catching fish was no longer the priority. In fact, Peter dove right into the water to draw more nearly to His Master. (21:7) With the other disciples following suit, it demonstrated that already, albeit in an ackward way, Peter was performing his role as the leader of those early disciples. As they brought the boats and the nets full of fish onto the land, Jesus already had some fish cooking. The words John spoke were God's words, since they were meant to be written by divine inspiration some 60 years after the scene of this event. The word of God needs to be heard regularly by His people, since it excites and strengthens faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we give ourselves to the scriptures, we will naturally desire to draw more nearly to Jesus.
3. When He mends us, He is loved more dearly. 21:9-17
Peter's heart was carrying regret over the denials he had done on the eve of Jesus' crucifixion. He needed restored and mended. Jesus needed to recreate the events of Peter's denials in order to transform pain in to healing. Note the comparisons between the events surround the three denials in John 18 and the events recorded here in John 21.
1. Charcoal Campfire in John 18:18, same in John 21:9
2. Dimly lit sky, since it was dusk into night John 18, dimly lit sky of early morning in John 21
3. Three denials in John 18, three affirmations of love in John 21
Jesus whole point was two fold: restoration and deeper love. Jesus first of aimed to restore Peter by giving him his purpose: "tend my lambs" (John 21:15); "Shepherd my sheep" (John 21:16) and "Tend my Sheep" (John 21:17). Then Jesus taught Peter the lesson of having deeper love for his Master by using different Greek words for love to capture nuances of close love (21:15, 16) and abiding love (21:17). Only when you and I have been broken hearted and have allowed ourselves to be mended by the Master will we love Jesus more dearly. Only when you had something and have been reduced to nothing and have no one but Jesus Christ do you realize you have everything you could ever need or want.
Dear friend, may you and I today see and know Jesus more nearly through obedience, more clearly by His Word and more dearly through His mending of our hearts.