May 1, 2022
Pastor John Hering
After this, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how he showed himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.” They replied, “We’ll go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus.
5 Jesus called to them, “Boys, don’t you have any fish?” “No!” they answered. 6 He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they cast the net out. Then they were not able to haul it in because of the large number of fish.
7 The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard, “It is the Lord!” he tied his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about one hundred yards. 9 When they stepped out on land, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
11 So Simon Peter climbed aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them. Yet even with so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them, and also the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
You all know that this past week Mrs. Hering and I were invited by the seminary to present a workshop on “Filling the Empty Nest” to pastors and their wives that have been in the ministry about 25 years. This workshop was in San Antonio. So, what do you do in San Antonio? You walk the River Walk! If you have done this, I’m sure this didn’t happen to you, but we walked out of the Drury Hotel, stepped down into the River Walk Area and started walking. But, we were heading in the wrong direction. It was a bit of challenge to get to where we were going but we were happy that there were lots of signs along the way so we could get to where we were going.
So, what about getting to the goal of our faith—heaven? We have so enjoyed the past two months reviewing God’s plan of salvation for us through the Words and works of Jesus. But, we’re not in heaven yet. Our comfort is that God has seen to it that the Holy Spirit created faith in our hearts. But, from today until the day we reach the goal of our faith it would do our life good to follow the signs! Praise God that in today’s gospel from John 21
Jesus Posted Signs
Pointing to His Power
We love gathering here on Easter to hear the account of Jesus’ resurrection. That Easter day the disciples were in the upper room all huddled together can you just imagine the emotion and confusion that was haunting them all! “Lock the doors!” said Andrew. “Everyone be quiet,” whispered Nathaniel. “I’m going to pull down the shades because I think I just saw a temple guard walk by,” said James. Then there was a knock at the door! “Oh-no! They found us!” Peter peeked through the keyhole and there was Mary from Magdala! “Open up! Open up! Someone has stolen the body of Jesus!” Peter and John opened the door and rushed out to head to the tomb.
By the time evening came they were piecing together all the amazing news they heard from everyone. Mary saw Jesus at the tomb. Peter saw Jesus on the way back to Jerusalem. Some women met Jesus along the way. The Emmaus Disciples walked and talked with Jesus. Then it happened! There was Jesus standing there talking to them! If you had been there, what would you have said? No wait! You probably would have been speechless! After Jesus saw them, he left. So, now what? Well, they decided to follow the information they had received. The angel told the women what they should do. “7 Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead! And look, he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him.’ See, I have told you!” (Matt 28:7). So, they did. They went home. They walked about 80 miles back up to familiar territory. That’s were we pick up the account of today. “2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.” They replied, “We’ll go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” When I read this account I don’t think Peter was saying, “I need a break! With all the tension in my life I need to go and zone out for a while. I’m going to go relax and do a little fishing.” Peter and at least three of the other disciples had been professional fishermen when Jesus called them to be disciples. They needed to eat. Yes, it was great to see Jesus and know that he was alive, but now what? They went back to work.
Then in the cool morning air, as the sun was pushing back the pink glow on the horizon, they were pulling in their empty nets. You all know this was a miracle, right? To throw nets into the water all night and catch nothing is impossible! But, not when Jesus’ power is at work. That’s when they heard the voice. “4 Early in the morning, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus. 5 Jesus called to them, “Boys, don’t you have any fish?” “No!” they answered. 6 He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they cast the net out. Then they were not able to haul it in because of the large number of fish.” That’s when John leaned over to Peter, “Can’t you see the sign?” Peter said, “No, I don’t see any buoys out here.” “No!” said John, “Can’t you read the sign right here in front of our noses? Look at this net full of fish! How do you think that happened? Doesn’t this remind you of something that happened here three years ago? It is the Lord!” “When Simon Peter heard, “It is the Lord!” he tied his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about one hundred yards. 9 When they stepped out on land, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them. Yet even with so many, the net was not torn.” This net full of fish was also a miracle just like the one from three years ago when he called them to be his disciples and follow him. Jesus posted his sign again that Pointed to His Power! “I am alive and I am God!”
There are people here today who have experienced a similar miracle, but maybe didn’t even know it! Perhaps it was the semi-truck that narrowly missed you on the bridge. Or like the one I experienced on Wednesday driving home with Bobby and Bennett in the back seat and the driver in front of me suddenly crossed over right in front of my lane to make a sudden exit and narrowing missing my front bumper! Perhaps there is someone here who can tell of a disease that doctors thought would be fatal, but you survived. And if you think you have never had a miracle happen to you, think again! You were touched by Jesus’ miraculous power when he took his message of the gospel—forgiveness of sins, eternal life and deliverance from the devil—when he linked it to the water in your baptism and planted his love into your soul. Today you will be touched by Jesus’ miraculous power he gives you his body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins when you eat the bread and drink the wine. Your heart, soul and faith are touched by Jesus’ miraculous power when you hear the Word of God proclaimed and the Holy Spirit uses it to strengthen your faith—the faith you have to receive the gifts God has to offer!
So, let’s do a little comparing. Do you think it is a greater miracle to escape a car accident or have your life escaped the punishment of sin? Do you think it is a greater miracle to have blood cells healed from cancer or a virus or to have your soul rescued from eternal death in hell? Do you think it is a greater miracle to have your house protected from lightning or to have your life protected from the devil? Listen to the Words of Jesus he connects to the water, the wafer and wine and see the Powerful Signs Jesus is Posting for You Today! See the signs! The Empty Tomb – Jesus has power over death. The Net Full of Fish—Jesus is God. His Appearing alive to the Disciples—Jesus is the All-powerful Son of God! His Glorious Presence through the Gospel is Word and Sacrament—Jesus came into this world to Powerfully Save You! Jesus has Posted His Sign Pointing to His Power and…
Pointing to His Provision
There was something else Jesus wanted his followers to know, so he posted another sign. Did you catch it? I’m sure the disciples did after fishing all night long and catching nothing to eat. “9 When they stepped out on land, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught…. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast.” There were other times in the history of God’s people when he made them breakfast. Remember the Children of Israel wondering through the desert and getting fresh manna every morning. The disciples didn’t experience that divine support, but Jesus often taught them that the Lord would provide all they would need to support their body and life. Yes, this support would include their income from being fishermen, but soon they would be sent out on missionary journeys and their support would come from God’s people for their clothes, food and shelter. All of this would come from God’s gracious hand. This fish fry on the shores of Galilee was another Sign Pointing the disciples to his Provision. We are reminded of Jesus’ words, “26 Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matt 6:26).
This is a sign for us to clamp our hands over our mouths when we’re tempted to mumble out Doubting-Thomas like words that we won’t have enough to survive. I know, it is easy to fill the space between our ears with worries and fears for the future. But, Jesus Gives Us His Signs of Provision. The sign reads like this: “7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7). You know the worries and fear I’m talking about. How can we pay the bills? What about my school debt? What about paying my taxes? What can I do about my declining health? It isn’t only little children who can sing: “For my shepherd gently guides me, Knows my needs and well provides me. Loves me every day the same. Even calls me by my name” (CW 804). Jesus Has Posted the Signs of his Power and his Provision. Trust him. Rest secure in these signs that
Point to His Promises
As those disciples were munching on brunch with Jesus can you imagine how they felt? “12 Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.” Quite a contrast from a few weeks ago! They had doubts, fear and worries written all over their hearts. But, now they knew it was Jesus and he was alive! It was as if they had scribbled their worries on the sands of the shore and then the waves of Jesus’ power and providing washed them away. But, Jesus has one more Sign for them. “13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them, and also the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.” It was the 3rd time the disciples have read this sign from Jesus. By this 3rd resurrection appearance Jesus was posting a sign that pointed ahead. This was a sign that guaranteed a future living under his Promises! This sign said, “I will always keep my word!” Jesus said he had to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die. That came true. Jesus said he would rise again. That came true. He said he would meet them in Galilee. That came true. Jesus said he would always provide for them. That promise came true, too! Now, they could count on his future promises. Jesus said that he paid the penalty of all their sins. They could believe this promise, too. Jesus said he opened the gate of heaven for them. They could believe this promise, too. Jesus said he would rise from the dead and raise them also. They could believe this promise, too.
These promises from Jesus are just as important for us today when we don’t know the future. Will inflation continue to rise? Will interest rates go sky high? Will inflation lead to a big depression? What about the increasing threat of nuclear weapons and WWIII? Will the government pass laws that make it illegal for Pastors to preach all of the truths of Scripture? Will neighbors threaten you? Will relationships crumble? Will work wear you out? Just like the disciples we need to clearly hear Jesus’ Promises! The resurrected Lord Has Posted Signs we can trust! This Promise is in big, bold, flashing letters! “He was raised from the dead.” “Because [Jesus] lives, you also will live!” (John 14:19).
We are very thankful for signs when we are traveling to trying to find our way around the River Walk in San Antonio. Signs are very important. They are important for our life as well. Have you ever talked to a person who said, “I’m waiting for a sign from God.” Maybe they are trying to figure out if they should move, or change jobs, or get married and they say, “I sure wish God would give me a sign.” Well, God never promised to communicate like that. I’m not saying he can’t do that, but that he hasn’t promised to operate like that. But, Jesus Has Given Us Signs that are absolutely dependable through the Word of Scripture. If you want to see God’s signs then open your Bible and pay attention to the Promises God has Given to You. There you will see the Signs Jesus Posted that Point you to his Power, his Provision and the Promises. There you will see the Signs Jesus Posted that Point you to the goal of your faith—Heaven! Amen!