The Power of the Resurrection #1
TEXT: John 21:1-19
Our passage starts out with the words “after these things.” The things that the writer is referring to are the events of John chapter 20 which tell of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, His appearance to Mary Magdalene, and then His two appearances to the disciples — one where Thomas was not present, and one where he was present. Several Bible scholars believe that our passage for today serves primarily as an appendix to the book of John. John Walvoord and Roy Zuck state, “Some critics have argued that this chapter is anticlimactic after the great conclusion in chapter 20…” However, one of John’s purposes in this chapter is “to reveal how Jesus reinstated Peter after his great fall.” It is probably not in chronological order, and was tacked on to the end of the book in order to show Peter’s restoration to the group of disciples.
Simon Peter — one of the more prominent disciples, a member of Jesus’ inner circle, who had loudly and boldly proclaimed that he would never abandon Jesus Christ — not only abandoned Jesus when He was arrested and taken to be crucified, but he denied Him three times and said that he didn’t even know Him. I believe it is safe for us to call Peter a backslidden believer. Not only had he gone back on his word to the Lord, but now he was ready to go back on the occupation that Jesus Christ had called him and the other disciples to. He is ready to give up being a fisher of men and go back to being just a fisherman. The Bible tells us that he called Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John, and two other disciples, and said, “I go a fishing.”
Have you ever been at this place in your Christian life? Have you ever been a backslidden believer? Are you one now?
You made the decision to follow Jesus Christ, and you began to walk the straight and narrow way. But, somewhere along the way, you decide that you want to throw in the towel. Maybe it is because, like Peter, you feel like you let the Lord down. Maybe you feel like you cannot continue living as a Christian because of something terrible that you have done. Maybe you had different expectations about the Christian life and you are now discouraged and disappointed. Whatever the case, you either already have thrown in the towel or you are about to throw in the towel and go back to your old lifestyle. Either you already are or you are about to become a backslidden believer.
If you are that person today, please pay close attention, as I share with you what the resurrection of Jesus Christ means for the backslidden believer.