5 Steps Jesus Used To Restore A Backslidden Christian

John 21:1-23

This story starts off after Jesus has been arrested, after he has been killed, after he has been resurrected but before He has ascended into Heaven.  It is the story of how Jesus restored the Apostle Peter back to the ministry after he had failed Jesus at His crucifixion by denying Him three times.  Peter is discouraged and beating himself up for his failure.  In this post we are going to look at the 5 steps Jesus took to restore him, so he could become that powerful servant of God we all love and respect.  

You will need to get your Bible out and read what it says to see how it applies to the points I am making.  I pray that God will bless you as you read this and encourage you. Maybe you are one who who needs to be restored.  Here's some good news for you! Jesus is ready, willing and able to restore you just like He did for Peter and countless others.  So, read and be encouraged!

This story starts off with Peter telling some of other apostles that he was going to go back to fishing.  This is important because Peter had left this profession to follow Christ just about 3 years earlier. For him to make this declaration "I'm going fishing" he was in essence saying, "I am going back to my old life before we met Christ."  

That is the attitude of a backslidden Christian!  They've given up on follow Christ and going back to live the way the used to live before knowing Christ.  But also, in this story we see that Jesus has other plans. He doesn't allow Peter to just goes back to his old life but Jesus shows up to restore him to full service and commitment.  

STEP 1:  Jesus Pursued Peter!

In verses 4-7 we see Jesus showing up on the shore where Peter and the others were fishing that night. He calls out to them and tells them to throw the net on the other side. When they did their nets were filled fish. This caused them to remember another time when Jesus said to do the same thing with the same kinds of results. And because of this they recognized that it was Jesus was on the shore.

Why did Jesus come to where Peter was at?  Because Peter was floundering and felt unworthy to continue to be a servant of Christ.  Jesus showed up to restore him and give him the confidence he need.  NOTICE IT WAS JESUS WHO PURSUED PETER - NOT PETER PURSUING JESUS!

STEP 2: Jesus Fellowships With Peter

In verses 10-14, after Peter responding favorably with Jesus' pursuit we see Jesus inviting Peter and the others with him, to sit down and have a meal with him.  How many times had Peter sat around the fire eating a meal with Jesus over the past three years?  A ton for sure! Because of his failure he probably thought those opportunities would never happen again but now Jesus is inviting Peter to sit and eat with Him.  How precious and encouraging that must have been for Peter.

I think one of the important things to realize in being restored to Christ is that Jesus isn't wanting to beat you up first! No, Jesus is wanting the wonderful relationship that had be originally established to be restored.  Jesus wants to sit and eat a meal with us as much, if not more, than we do with him.

STEP 3:  Jesus Questions Peter Love

As they finish their meal together, in verses 15-17, we see Jesus ask Peter three times if he love him or not and each time Jesus follows Peter answer with a command to take care of His sheep.  Jesus already knew Peter loved him. It wasn't for his benefit that Jesus asked that question but it was for Peter's benefit. Peter needed to be reminded of his love for the Lord and to be reassure that Christ still wanted him to be part of his band of apostles.  The questions of love and the commands to take care of the sheep was Christ's powerful way of letting Peter know that his service and ministry was wanted and needed. The only requirement Jesus asked from Peter was for Peter's love and devotion.

STEP 4:  Jesus Gives Peter A Glimpse Of The Cost For Following Christ.

In verses 18-19 Jesus shares with Peter what it will cost him for continuing to be a devoted follower of Christ.  He lets him know that his commitment and service would lead him to his own death and a death by crucifixion. 

Isn't interesting how open and clear Jesus is with his followers of what it means and cost to be his disciple. IT WILL COST YOU YOUR LIFE!   Even though, out of fear, Peter denied Christ, Jesus was letting him know that there would be other times to come where Peter would need to gird up his fear and place his faith and trust in Him. Jesus was preparing Peter for what would evidentially come around again.  

STEP 5: Jesus Warned Peter Against Comparing Himself To Others. 

In verses 20-23 Peter begins to ask what would happen to a different disciple.  Jesus' response is classic. "What's that to you?"  In other words Jesus was telling Peter what happens to other disciples is none of His business. The only thing that should be important for Peter was to faithfully live out what God has determined to be his role.  

To often, faithfully serving Christ, gets all muddled up because our focus is on other people and not on Christ and his will for our lives.  We complain to God about this person having this blessing, or that person getting to serve Christ in that way.  That kind of focus will never honor God.  Instead, we should be saying to Christ as he reveals his mission for us to be these words,

"Yes Lord, yes to you will and to your way. Yes, Lord, yes I will trust you and obey. When your Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I'll agree. And my answer will be, 'yes Lord, yes."

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