Reflection : Leaders - The Peters and the Johns (John 21)
Series: Developing a leadership culture
Sunday before last was Easter Sunday when we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I believe that he rose bodily from the dead, he’s sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us and that He’s the King of Kings and He’s the Lord of Lords.
He met a group of disciples one time after his resurrection and He said to them: “go wait for me and I’ll be right over there”. The story is found in John chapter 21. You don’t have to turn there, just make a note of it, you can read it yourself. But they got tired of waiting on Jesus. Have you ever got tired of waiting on Jesus? How many of you know by now that He’s never in a hurry? He’s always taking his time. Hurry, come on, come on, come on, I need you now. I’ll be there, relax. And so here are the disciples that got tired of waiting on Jesus and they go back to fishing.
Do you notice how readily their boats were available to them? They hadn’t been fishing for 3 and a half years but the boats and the fishing nets were all ready to go. They had a plan B in case that Jesus thing didn’t work out. In case this ministry thing doesn’t work out, I’ve got to have another career track in case. So they go fishing and they caught nothing. Just like 3 and a half years ago and Jesus shows up on the sea shore and He says: “Have you caught anything?” Nada. And then Jesus says to them: “cast your nets on the other side”, just like He did 3 and a half years ago.
The Bible says that Peter recognizes the voice of the Lord and that he was fishing naked and don’t know about all of that. I’ve never been fishing in my life, maybe that’s what fisher people do. I don’t know. Maybe, when we are in heaven and I’ve got eternity on my hands, I’ll say to him: Brother, Pete, what was going on? How come you were naked? But then the Bible says that he put a cloak on him and he jumped in the water and as he comes back to the sea shore and the other disciples are with him, and all the fishes are with him, Jesus has already got fish and chips breakfast ready for them and as they come over there Jesus looks at Peter and he asked him a simple question: Do you love them more than you love me?
He’s talking about fish. The King James’ version says it this way: Loveth thou me more than these? Peter is not happy, he’s embarrassed, he’s angry, he’s frustrated, he’s been fishing all night and hasn’t got anything and then Jesus, He says: Well, yeah. And He asks him again: do you really love me? Yeah. Third time: Do you really love me? And by now Peter is so fed up, and he says: You know. Now Jesus by now should have backed off from Peter because he knows about Peter’s temper, but how many of you know that Jesus does not back away from us? He’s still pushing his horizons and he says to him: Let me tell you how you’re going to die. Who wants to know how you’re going to die. He says to him: Right now you’re young, you go wherever you want to go but there’s going to be a time in your life when you’re going to get old and people are going to take you to places where you don’t want to go.
By now Peter is angry with Jesus. Have you ever been angry with Jesus? When he keeps convicting you of the things you need to do? You go to church you hear about it, the preacher preaches about it, the worship team sings about it, after church you turn on the radio and the preacher on the radio is talking about it, you go home and turn the TV and the preacher on TV is talking about it. By now Peter is angry with Jesus and he’s wanting to shift the attention from himself to John. Now, John was fishing as well, but Jesus wasn’t talking to John.
What do we know about John? We know that he was the disciples whom Jesus loved. We know there were the 70 disciples, then there were 12, then the 3 Peter, Paul and John and then the one he loved the most, was who? John. Now how do we know that? John writes that about himself. In John Chapter 21, he says: Jesus loves me more than anybody else. If you were writing a book of the Bible wouldn’t you put that in there? Here’s John and here’s Peter and here’s Jesus, and Jesus has been laying into Peter and Peter is so tired of Jesus, he looks at John and says: What about him, he was in the boat too you know? Talk to him, leave me alone. And Jesus says to him: what does that to you? Mind your own business. If I want him to live forever, what’s that to do? You follow me.
In leadership a lot of times we look at another leader. When Jesus is dealing with us about something we need to do we say what about him? Ah, ah, ah. Jesus is hanging on the cross, He looks down at the foot of the cross, there are two people at the foot of the cross, one is his mamma, her name is Mary, the other is one of his disciples and his name is John. All the other disciples are gone, Peter has denied the Lord, he’s somewhere out there. Judas has hung himself and the rest of them are gone and there’s Jesus hanging on the cross. He looks down and He says: mamma, I’m your oldest son, it is my responsibility to take care of you. I need for you to go home with John. John will take care of you, mamma. John, I love you, you’ve been faithful to me, will you take my mamma home and take care of her?
And there’s Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit has descended. Guess who is standing up there and preaching the first sermon? It’s not John, it is Peter. He’s looking down at mamma and saying to his mamma: “go home with him”. He looks at John: “Take mamma home”. He’s saying I will trust my mamma to you John, but not my church. Because the job that I need to see get done I need somebody who can do more than just love me. I need somebody who is more than just in agreement with me. I need somebody who is effective in their leadership. Yes, Peter has embarrassed me, yes, Peter denied me, yes Peter has a short temper, gets angry easily. Yes, Peter does not know a lot of different things, but I’m not going to leave my church to people that I love, I’m going to leave my church to somebody who can get the job done.
And that is the challenge of ministry. That’s the challenge of leadership. We give positions and jobs to people we love, they’re good people, we love them, they love us, but they can’t get the job done. But then there are Peters in your church who are always in trouble, who’re always opening their mouths, who’re out there fishing naked, who are doing stupid things, but you know that they can get the job done. I have made many mistakes in this area myself, we give jobs and responsibilities and leadership to people that love us and agree with us, we put them on our list, but Peters we don’t even put them on the list because they always bring us more trouble that they are worth but somebody needs to look at your Peters in your ministry.
Look at the people that you have to spend the most time with because when Peter preached the first sermon under the anointing of the holy spirit and gave the altar call, 3000 people came in the first altar call. In the next chapter, in Acts, Chapter 3 they’re walking down to the temple, this time John is with him and they look at this man who is lame “Silver or gold I have none, but what I do have I give you”. They took a risk. They saw Jesus do it, but now Jesus is gone. And in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. I have missed out on some of the best leaders in my ministry because I concentrated on Johns and ignored the Peters.
May God bring some Peters on our list again. Though they give us trouble, they give us a lot of trouble but God has a plan for their lives because when they holy ghost comes on their lives, when they receive the anointing of the holy spirit, they can speak the word and the word goes out with power and in full. It’s not about what you see, it’s about he sees. Most of us in this room are more like Peter, we mess up a lot, we mess up every day, we deny the Lord on a regular basis, but aren’t you glad? That he doesn’t go looking for somebody who’s perfect like John.
Aren’t you glad that he’s come into my life and your life? … know you’re a Peter, I know you’re in trouble all the time, and I know you make mistakes, and I know that you make mistakes, that you make mistakes……. Come on, come on, come on, I’ve got a job for you. And once we understand that He called us in spite of us being more like Peter than anybody else. Oh that takes us to our knees and say: Oh, God I’m not worthy, not worthy at all, but thank you for calling me. When nobody else would call me you called me. When I wouldn’t have a call myself, you called me. So I approach to you with humility, not with pride as a leader but humility as a leader.
Father, I just want to pray right now in the name of Jesus Christ, you’ve been so good to each one of us, none of us deserve to be in this room, all of us deserve to die and go to hell but you in your grace and mercy called us by our names, not when we were perfect but when we were dead in our sins and you called us, and not only did you call us then you chose us and not only did you choose us but you commissioned us and not only did you commission us you have called us to be leaders of the Kingdom of God. So we bow our hearts in humility and say Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.