John 21 Lesson

Doubt

Have you ever felt like your problems were so big that nobody could help you? Most of us have felt that way at some point in our lives, even those of us with a strong faith.

Satan loves to put doubt in our heads.

As John concludes the writing of his Gospel, he tells the story of how Jesus provided for His disciples. The disciples had been fishing all night and had caught nothing. Jesus appeared on the beach and said to them:

  • “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch,” – John 21:6.

The disciples (who did not realize this was Jesus) did what He said, and they quickly caught 153 fish!

This story is a reminder to us of just how easy it is for Jesus to help us. Thanks to the Bible, we know about the miracles that Jesus performed and how He changed the lives of so many people. And yet, doubt has a way of creeping in and wreaking havoc with our faith.

Instead of trusting Jesus, sometimes our egos get in the way, and we try to tackle life’s problems on our own. This is not what our Savior wants us to do. Jesus wants us to let go of the control that we seek and to put our trust in Him.   He wants us to be vulnerable and to fully rely on Him.   Even if it does not make sense to, “The world,” it is important to Jesus that we show Him this type of trust and respect.   Here are a few scriptures that speak to this point: 

  • “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” - Romans 12:2.

  • “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.” - Psalm 146:3.

  • “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.” - Proverbs 28:26.

  • “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.” - Psalm 27:10.

It is interesting to see the reaction of the disciples once they realized that it was Jesus on the beach.   Every disciple except one remained in the boat to drag the catch that they had to shore.   That one exception was Peter.  This is the same Peter that cut off the ear of the high priest's servant.  It seems that Peter may have been the most impulsive of Jesus' apostles.      

John writes in verses 7:

  • “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.”  

Peter swam to the beach (about 100 yards) and then when the other disciples got there with the fish, Peter, “Went up and drew the net to land.”   Can you visualize that in your head?   As soon as he hears that it is Jesus, he puts on his outer garment, jumps into the Sea of Galilee, swims 100 yards to shore, and then pulls in their catch!   Peter was filled with joy and excitement to be with Jesus again.   His passion for Jesus is something to behold!  

Later in chapter 21, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him.   Why three times?   Could it be because Peter had earlier denied Jesus three times?

Maybe Jesus wanted to let Peter know that He still had plans for him, that he was still wanted, and that Jesus still loved him.

Jesus asked Peter if He loved Him three times.

Peter responded each time that he loved Jesus, and each time Jesus responded with a different command.   The three exchanges are as follows (John 21:15-17). 

  1. Jesus: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”   Peter: “Yes Lord, You know that I love You.”   Jesus: “Tend My lambs.” 
  2. Jesus: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”   Peter: “Yes Lord, You know that I love You.”   Jesus: “Shephard My sheep.” 
  3. Jesus: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”   Peter: “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You .”   Jesus: “Tend My sheep.”

Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him.   Three times Peter responded that he does.   Then Jesus gave Peter three separate commands:

  • “Tend My lambs.”
  • “Shepard My sheep.”
  • “Tend My sheep.”

Jesus is making His expectations clear to Peter and His other disciples.   He wants them on His team, tending to the needs of the flock (His followers) and protecting them.   After Peter had denied Jesus three times, he may have felt that he was no longer of any use to the Lord. 

By welcoming Peter back, Jesus let him know that He was forgiven and that there was important work to be done.

We need to realize the same thing.

If you are wondering if God still loves you, He does.

If you are curious about whether God still has a plan for you, He does.  

God will forgive us if we turn to Him and repent. 

When we feel lost, afraid, or overwhelmed, we need to turn to Jesus.

Romans 10:17 says:

  • "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."  

This scripture highlights the importance of being in God’s word. To combat Satan’s attempts to cast doubt on our beliefs, we need to continuously nourish ourselves with the inspired word of God! When we do that, God will reveal His plan for us.  He will give our lives new purpose and direction, and our doubt will be replaced by a strong faith.

We will conclude our study on the Gospel of John with the following scripture:

  • And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and  that  He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him. ” – Hebrews 11:6.

Comments

John

With the Coronavirus impacting people all over the world, I think this is a great opportunity to spread the Gospel! In the United States, there is so much fear and anxiety in the news. It's refreshing to be able to step away and focus on God's word and admire pictures of His creation. I am spending every morning looking at Virtual Bible Study. I hope that others are enjoying it as well.

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tommy

We used to vacation on a Lake when I was a child. There was a dog named Rusty that would get so excited every time a water skier would pass the dock. Rusty would leap into the water and swim towards the skier. It was all in vain as the skier quickly went away and good 'ole Rusty would just turn around and doggy paddle back to shore.

That is the thought that comes to mind when I read this chapter. Peter got so excited when John told him that it was Jesus standing at the shore that he leaped out of the boat and swam approximately 100 yards to shore.

That thought makes me smile. It also inspires me. That is the kind of love for the Lord that I aspire to have. It takes work and adjustments everyday. But there is no better place to spend our time and our energy. Jesus loves us and is waiting for us. And unlike that water skier that skied away, Jesus won't leave us. Thanks for the study!

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