Please Note: Text is automatically produced. Errors may be present.
hey south family just before you watch this week’s sermon I have to let you know about why it’s so different we had a power outage at the church so we ran a service in the lobby because we had natural light through the windows there and we had almost no technology so this recording quality is a little bit lower as far as audio and video and stuff is concerned but we wanted still to post it for you so here it is sorry about the audio oh man what an adventure of a weekend day uh are there any gardeners in the building today any gardeners how many of you guys have come here with like deep existential questions about the fairness of the world right now it’s like why do bad things happen to good gardeners I don’t know they just they just do but we get uh we get to embrace this type of church and what’s kind of fun about this is is in truth for those of you that are familiar with worldwide church and travel at all we are tapping into something that is just normal in so many parts of the world uh to meet in an environment that is just thrown up and maybe for some of you have been around south for a long time it taps into some old history of south of having to set things up of having to pack everything away of having stuff that isn’t always working perfectly now we just don’t have any stuff at all it’s just simply the power of my voice um and so we’ll see what we can do uh but there’s something about that I was in the philippines years ago and just meeting in a church community that simply meets in a building of work with some corrugated sheets on the top with benches made of two by four uh and a stone floor and that’s that’s church and I remember thinking how often would I go how would I engage uh if this was my church all the time and yet you just feel something in this time singing together worshiping together there’s something here uh beyond just people gathering I also love that meeting out here means that I get to see who’s late uh so I just schedule like ah I see it I’m on to you usually you think you can sneak in and you turned up today and you’re like oh no I’m walking into a room full of people so I’ll know for next time so just yeah think about that if you didn’t need judgment in church um so john 21 we’re in this series that is really tapping into the resurrection appearances of Jesus Jesus spends time after his death and resurrection just going around and almost collecting back into the story some of these followers of his that seem like they’ve they’ve gotten detached from the story we looked at a lady called mary magdalene this couple that are on a road to a little village just getting out of town we looked at thomas with all his doubts and then last week we looked at peter who’s maybe in a bit of a spot of despair and watched as Jesus pulls him back in the good news is we get to do two weeks on peter uh next week the great dan elliot will come and talk to us about a guy called james we’re doing two weeks on peter why because peter is so fundamentally messed up that he needs two weeks to figure him out I I love peter because he reminds me of me he’s all passion and he’s very much into the story but he just doesn’t get it right very often he gets it wrong as much as he gets it right and there’s something about that personality that’s just delightful really we’re going to kind of compare and contrast him a little bit to this other guy john and and john’s just too good for me I can’t handle john like everything’s perfect with him and peter a delightful mess let’s for those of you that weren’t with us last week we’re going to track back and uh just see what happened last week because it looks it looks last week like the stories come to like a good resolution john 21 if you’re following along uh in a text if you want to follow along on a screen good luck um I don’t know what to tell you this reminds me of the times I’ve been asked to preach in other countries and and I’m like who do I send my keynote to and they’re like you don’t that’s not a thing here work for it afterwards Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the sea of galilee happened this way simon peter thomas known as didymus nathaniel from canaan galilee the sons of zebedee and two other disciples were together I’m going out to fish simon peter told them they said we’ll go with you so they went out and got into the boat but that night they caught nothing the whole passage sent us around that word nothing without Jesus they can do nothing without Jesus they have nothing without Jesus they are potentially nothing we they caught nothing early in the morning Jesus stood on the shore but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus he called out to them friends in the greek language children children haven’t you any fish no they answered he said throw your net onto the right side of the boat and you will find some and that moment they’re like huh feels like we did something like this before when they did they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish then the disciple whom Jesus loves said to peter it is the lord as soon as simon peter had him say it is the lord he wrapped his outer garment around him before he had taken it up and jumped into the water classic peter move the other disciples followed in the boat towing the net full of fish but they were not far from the shore about a hundred yards when they had landed they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it and some bread Jesus said to them bring some of the fish you’ve just caught so simon peter climbed back into the boat dragged the net ashore it was full a fish 153 but even with so many the net was not torn Jesus said to them come and have breakfast none of the disciples dared ask him who are you they knew it was the lord Jesus came took the bread gave it to them and did the same with the fish this was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead Jesus encounters this disciple peter alongside a fire the last time they have been by a fire together peter has denied Jesus and it’s just the potential that every time he smells a fire every time he experiences what it is to stand around this simple thing he remembers the last time he did that it’s just a potential that every time he catches that beautiful whiff of campfire it taps him back into oh this is where I failed this is where it all went wrong and this wonderful Jesus kind of retcons retroactive continuities the fire for him he he comes alongside it and now now potentially every time peter will sit by a fire he gets to remind himself that Jesus was incredibly good to him that Jesus pulled him back into the story Jesus takes something that could be traumatic and turns it into something wonderful I can see some of you when I’m talking about fire you’re like I could just I could just picture it right now I could feel it I started a fire in the sanctuary last week and would have been better this week if we’re honest
there is this moment uh that it seems like Jesus has pulled peter back into the story and he asks peter three questions as though he still needs he knows peter needs something more from him really what we looked at last week is peter needs confession he needs to be able to come alongside Jesus and say the same thing as he needs to agree with Jesus about who he is yes he’s a failure yes he’s broken yes he rarely gets it as right as he’d like but Jesus is constantly good and constantly pulls him back into the story and and really what we see is Jesus asked him the same question three times do you love me and peter’s response is initially kind of yeah I I’m trying and in the end it’s like the last time it’s almost like the surrender of you know everything you know all things you know that I love you you know that I’m not always who I want to be you know that I’m regularly a mess regularly I promise more than I can deliver regularly I make the same mistakes over and over again but Jesus I love you and I’m in this story with you there’s this beautiful moment where Jesus pulls this wondering disciple back in and gives him purpose again and it looks for just a second like the store is finished with perfect symmetry these gospel these biographies of Jesus life they begin with follow me and they end it seems for a moment with follow me as Jesus asks peter those questions he says to him feed my sheep very truly I tell you when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted but when you were older you will stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death which peter would glorify God the tradition in the church history is that peter eventually will not deny Jesus peter will be arrested he will be sentenced to crucifixion and in the moment where he’s about to be crucified will say I’m not worthy to die in the same way of Jesus who I follow and chooses to be crucified upside down because again Jesus path for him he seems unworthy of the final words that we see from Jesus in this little sentence are follow me and it seems like we began with follow me and we’ll end with follow me and wouldn’t that be a delightful symmetry to the story except as there is so often there’s just a little bit more this writer john that put together the these stories for us he excels in this wonderful thing in this incredible way he takes group events and he always helps everybody else disappear from the scene so we get to focus on just Jesus and one other person for those of you that like movies uh the there was a movie um pride and prejudice the jane austen novel and the director wanted to tap into dancing in this culture and just how intimate it was as an experience in a culture where you weren’t allowed to spend time with someone of the opposite sex it really was one of the most intimate experiences you could have before you were married and so in this scene you watch as the two main characters mr darcy and elizabeth bennett begin dancing together in a room full of people and then slowly the director fades out everybody else from view and so it’s just the two of them everybody else has disappeared and john this writer does this over and over again there’s a moment where there’s a crowd and sometimes physically in a story where Jesus encounters a woman caught in adultery physically everybody else disappears from the scene but but quite often just in terms of his writing as a literary device people just slowly disappear and you’re left with Jesus and one person and it’s regularly life-changing for a second it seems like that’s what’s happened here Jesus encounters peter this disciple who’s kind of on the fringe and he pulls him back in and it seems like the perfect symmetry it began with peter follow me it can end with peter follow me and then something happens verse 20 of john 21 peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them this was the one who leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said lord who is going to betray you when peter saw him he said lord what about him what about him now if you know peter’s character peter struggles a little bit with distraction we’re going to look at another story about peter and matthew chapter 19 again text people feel free to flick over in matthew chapter 19 peter has what you might call one of his hero sorry 14 has one of his hero moments uh verse 22 immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side while he dismissed the crowd after he had dismissed them he went up onto the mountainside by himself to pray later that night he was there alone and the boat was already a considerable distance from the land buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them walking on the lake when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified it is a ghost they cried but Jesus immediately said to them take courage it is I do not be afraid lord if it is you peter replied tell me to come to you on the water that is classic peter come he said then peter got down out of the boat walked on the water and came towards Jesus but when he saw the wind he was afraid and began to sink and cried out lord save me immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him you have little faith he said why did you doubt this is just who peter is he makes these bold brave steps all passion he’s the only disciple that asks if he can walk on water he’s the only one that climbs out of the boat he’s the only one that lets go of the side and everything is going so well until the moment where something else grabs his attention the wind and the waves and all of those different things and and Jesus general responsible maybe a little annoyed responses peter focus focus on me there it’s an event in the story we just read it’s a person it’s john interestingly john who loves to create these stories where everyone else fades out of you and it’s just Jesus and one person is the person who is interrupting this story he breaks his pattern this last time he becomes the interrupter he becomes the distraction he he becomes the point of I would suggest of envy for peter there’s a proper proverbs 19 40 that says this attractive heart creates joy but envy rots the soul envy rots the soul there is something about the relationship between peter and john that just says to him it was going so well Jesus and I were interacting we were having good conversation and and now something has interrupted that have you ever had that feeling of just the somebody else somebody else that you they just get to you on some level there’s something about their life maybe all the things that they have something about your relationship with them that it just nags at you and it seems like that is peter and john I was listening to a podcast a while back and this psychologist was talking about this client and he couldn’t obviously reveal his name because of confidentiality but he was just talking about the experience of working with this client who was vastly successful incredibly successful person had founded companies that achieved so many things had graduated highly in college but but kept talking about how he he didn’t really have a very high view of himself had constant sort of inferiority complex and this psychologist said I I just had to get to the bottom of this so I just started asking questions and as we talked more he started to talk about his college roommate and how this college roommate was just so much more successful than him and he felt inferior to this person as he unpacked it it turns out his college roommate was elon musk who had founded at this point paypal and tesla and all of these different things and you can understand the inferiority right somewhere john and peter there was something that when john walks into the scene peter’s like what about this guy Jesus if you’re telling me I’m going to get taken where I do not want to go if I’m going to go through all of these experiences what about john what’s going to happen to him why does this bug peed us so much to understand why we need to get back to a little event that happened earlier in john so again text people john chapter 13 we’re going to read from verse 2. the evening meal was in progress and the devil had already prompted judas the son of simon iscariot to betray Jesus Jesus knew that the father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God so he got up from the meal took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist after that he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet drying them with a towel that was wrapped around him he came to simon peter who said to him lord are you going to wash my feet Jesus replied you do not realize now what I’m doing but later you will understand no said peter you will never wash my feet Jesus answered unless I wash you you have no part of me then lord simon peter replied not just my feet but my hands and my head as well again such a peter move okay don’t wash my feet no if you’re gonna do that then watch other stuff as well Jesus answered those who have had a bath don’t need only to wash their feet their whole body is clean and you are clean though not every one of you for he knew that he was going to betray him and that was why he said not every one of you is clean now skip down a little bit more to verse 21 after he had said this Jesus was very troubled in spirit and testified very truly I tell you one is going to betray me his disciples stared at one another at a loss to know which of them he meant one of them the disciples whom Jesus loved was reclining next to him simon peter motioned to this disciple and said ask him which one he means leaning back against Jesus he asked him lord who is it Jesus answered it is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it into the dish then dipping the piece of bread he gave it to judas the son of simon iscariot this is a scene around a table uh now it’s a bit hard for us to jump into this contextually in the 21st century the best example I could give you was if you’ve been to a wedding you’ve maybe had that experience of going to look at the list of where people are sat to find out where you are sat and you’ve had that moment of like wow that that’s a pretty good table I didn’t realize that you that we were that close you’ve sat me fairly close to the center of the action that feels like uh a big deal or maybe you’ve had the opposite experience have you gone to look at the listing like I didn’t realize they could get like 104 tables in here you’ve got me on table 140 104 and that’s really embarrassing when we’re family like I expected I expect it to be a little closer than that that’s kind of what seating looks like at something like a passover meal something like they’re doing I I tend to picture things as kind of linear so so when I think about this table setting I think about one of the big tables we have over in this side of the room and very much like leonardo da vinci’s famous painting I think of Jesus in the middle and then the disciples sort of either side of him and the action sort of pulls away from Jesus Jesus is the center everything else is here that wasn’t what a table looked like in the first century in actual fact this room really helps us understand this there will be the first part of the table that would come along here and then a second part of the table that would come this way and then a third part of the table that would come this way and the host the most important person in the room in reality would sit over here one space from the right and then the guest of honor would sit here on his right and the second guest of honor would sit here on his left and then the least important person would sit all the way over here at this point of the table and and kind of in seniority kind of an important influence it would move around the room so you would get less important less is very much a graduated system all the way down to there when we read that john leans across to Jesus and reclines on him so we can ask him a question that means that john is sat here and Jesus is sat here john the youngest disciple is in the place of honor the most important seat and to be able to make a signal to him to be able to talk to him peter the guy that’s followed Jesus from the beginning the most senior the most important the leader of the group the one that always speaks up the one that’s helped Jesus with his ministry so much all those different things well peter peter’s all the way over here in the last spot that means that when there was no servant present that means if someone needed to wash feet because there was no servant supposed to be the guy in this seat that means when Jesus gets up and wash his feet peter has all of these moments like that that’s supposed to be me that’s really awkward that means that peter gets to sit there all the way through the passive meal and look at everybody else in a better seat and list for himself all of the reasons that he should be sat where they are that means that when any of the disciples have to think about who is Jesus talking about when he is talking about a betrayer who’s the person that they’re likely to suspect it’s the person in this it’s the person that used to be in the place of honor that used to be over here somewhere and he’s now all the way down there another interesting little kernel of all this is that if john is sat here and Jesus is sat here we’re told that Jesus says to john the person that will betray me is the person to whom I pass this bread and there’s only two people at the table two seats that Jesus can pass bread to directly as john sat here who asked the question and there’s the second seat of honor on his left that means that we have john here and we have Jesus here and judas is set here judas is in the second place of honor judas that will betray him is in the seat next to Jesus and so imagine all the things that go through peter’s mind as he sits there and watches this meal take place and the frustrations in him that say I should be in one of these I should really be over there where john is how did he get that spot what is he doing there this isn’t fair we get a little picture into peter’s world what it is to to experience envy rotting the soul now of course you probably haven’t been invited to a passover meal recently you probably haven’t been invited to to sit in that kind of environment and you probably haven’t been given the worst seat either what is it in your world what is in my world that creates that same experience that peter has around john because I would suggest in our world there’s actually tons of things right there’s tons of things that put us into that place and no this this thing is just working at me maybe it’s a an individual person a particular person maybe it’s lots of people but our whole world is almost designed to create those kind of emotions particularly around things like social media we we get that concept right I’ve got to keep up with the jones is the so much stuff or maybe the kardashians or whoever it is you know there’s so many of those things going on that we get to look into people’s world and say I should be sitting in that scene I want what they have it looks so much better over there I rarely post stuff on social media which is a deep frustration for our connections director who’s like that would be really useful to me in my job if you would say anything on any social media environment but but I really am not particularly first the other day yesterday I posted something uh just for this sermon really I posted a picture of me and my kids building a snowman on may 21st and just that that window that people get into our lives and and if you were to look at my history of social media you would believe that my life was one constant ski trip or adventure with my wife and kids and everyone always dressed perfectly and everyone behaved perfectly and we were always doing fun things together because what I do when I put things on social media is I put on my best of moments for those sports center fans like the highlight reel I put on those things when we engage with social media what happens so often is we compare our someone else’s best of moments to our rest of moments we compare them to just the general everyday experiences of our lives so of course the other thing looks better it has to it’s made to look better in actual fact the snowman that I so carefully curated and posted on facebook and instagram it actually fell down like three seconds later I actually think elaine was holding it up during the photo and isn’t that just a window into how we interact around social media we see one little snippet and it tells us life is good and it tells us I want that slowly envy gets the rot the soul we look at other relationships and they seem so perfect we look at people’s houses and they seem so tidy we look at people’s cars and they seem so nice and slowly slowly slowly they’re uh envy ruts the soul why else because there’s other things as well I think sometimes in that engagement what we actually find out we’re doing and not realizing it is that we’re actually comparing something that’s real with something that’s faith one of my favorite movies of the last few years is a movie called yesterday it’s kind of about the beatles and so you can see why I like it big beatles fan and in this story the beatles through this massive world event nobody remembers them they have ceased to exist you can google them and all you get are the car and the bug and none of the music and so this this sort of aspiring singer songwriter decides you know what I’m gonna do I remember all these beatles songs for some strange reason when nobody else does I’m gonna start writing them all and singing them all and I’m gonna become really famous and so he does and he does it’s a massive success story but but in the moment of writing all these songs and creating this brilliant career he runs into ed sheeran the real life ed sheeran actually famous actually writing wonderful songs and then sharon says as they’re hanging out with a group of friends we should have a contest right here right now let’s both of us go into a room and we’ll write the best song we can in 10 minutes it can’t be something old can’t be something you’ve done before can’t be something in your back pocket it has to be new and so ed sheeran goes into a room and he comes back with this just delightfully simple yet poignant song about love we are just penguins on the ice we’re not meant to fly but we can try just a little evocative melody all those different things and everyone loves it and cheers and then jack malik the hero of the movie comes back and he sings the long and winding road possibly the greatest most poignant beatles song of all time and of course everyone is is just just astounded that someone in this moment could write something so spectacular ed sheeran actually says man these things are complicated except for you they’re not are they it’s simple for you he has this moment which is we’re not even voting because you someone said someone would come along that was better than me and you jack are in a different league what’s happening in that story what’s happening in that moment ed sheeran is comparing something real something that he wrote to something that okay maybe it’s real and since it’s a song but is it is it real actual fact it’s not it’s not the purpose of the thing and I think we do the same thing in our lives as well we look at other people around us and we say that looks real I want that and so often what we’re looking at isn’t real we don’t know all of the details sometimes we compare somebody else’s best stuff to our restaurant we compare somebody else’s fate to our real and then finally I think we look at other people and we see the success but not the sacrifice that went with it I used to experience all the time this is all the time coaching soccer players in michigan coaching high schoolers I would regularly have people come up and say I really want to be a premier league player or a famous soccer player what do I have to do and sometimes there was just the honest answer of that’s just not going to be your story often I get parents ask me the same question what does this son of mine have to do to be a premier league player that had this crushing moment of realizing apparently british people are here to kind of evaluate american talent we do that in all of these song shows like x factor and now I’m doing it for 17 year old soccer players but but sometimes what I would say is this you need to try harder you need to actually want this more than you do because right now you turn up for practice late and you don’t actually put in a lot of effort and you kind of just hang around goofing around the rest of the team like there’s so much that I look and say I don’t see any success because I don’t actually see any sacrifice in that movie yesterday it’s interesting that that ed sheeran makes this kind of cryptic reference he says to jack malik this now famous but not famous person he says to him you’re mozart and I’m salieri this is reference to these two musicians from centuries before and the the story is that mozart was incredibly talented and salieri was talented but not in the same league as mozart mozart would write pieces of music from scratch with no corrections he would just he would pluck them out of the air and pour them out on paper salieri was always frustrated that someone like mozart who seemed to live mozart lived a pretty r-rated life there was nothing really pg-13 about him and the salieri found this deeply frustrating why would God give talent to this person who seemed to ignore God completely in actual fact if anything’s unfair it’s that interpretation of mozart mozart began piano lessons when he was four mozart was writing pieces of music at six and there’s pieces of music that he sweated over and slaved over that we never listened to anymore mozart was if anything the product of someone who gave and he gave and he gave and gave it wasn’t just that everything came easy was that he had talent that he worked to hone and create and I think just like the other two things just like comparing our rest off to somebody else’s best of just like the way that we compare somebody else’s fake to our real staff I think we look at other people’s lives and say oh man I can see I can see all of the success but we missed the part where they gave and gave and gave and I think that’s what peter does peter looks at john in this moment and says I’m about to suffer I’m about to go all through all of these things what about jump it’s interesting it doesn’t bother him Jesus prediction that he’ll die for Jesus one day doesn’t actually bother him it’s when he finds out that somebody else in his mind is going to get it easier than he has it that he has a problem why does john have to go through this if you’re going to put john in the seat of honor Jesus shouldn’t he have to do this too
I wonder whether Jesus is actually right whether peter’s actually right about john peter true dies for Jesus he dies in this incredibly painful way but isn’t that much easier than what john will go through history tells us john will be the last disciple left alive long after the others many of them have been killed for their faith long after the rest have died john will still be there banished to an island called patmos writing letters to churches by himself year after year after year 90 91 92 93 still no Jesus returning still waiting for the story to finish just by himself with none of the community none of the people to share the stories with just him just waiting is the only person now that remembers what it was to talk to Jesus face to face and still when is he coming back when is the story going to finish I don’t know that john gets it way easier than peter does I think their stories are just different when Jesus wants to give peter an answer to this question what about him that’s where peter lands has come to where Jesus lands as comfortable as uncomfortable as that can be for us at times Jesus answered if I want him to remain alive until I return what is that to you you must follow me this is what you’ve been trained for peter this is what you’re called to do now peter will be asked to do a new type of following for years he’s followed Jesus when he gets to see him physically he’s followed him step for step and now Jesus says now you’ll have to follow me with no physicality just just that inner voice just that spirit guiding you but you peter you’re not here to question somebody else’s journey you’re here to follow me when the bible when this proverb says envy rots the soul I think it’s trying to help us understand that that decision to focus all of our energy on somebody else’s journey is ultimately flawed and ultimately damaging to our own journey another proverb outside of the biblical language simply says this the comparison is in fact a form of self-harm there’s something about comparing how somebody else is doing and what their journey looks like that in actual fact is deeply damaging to us Jesus solution that he gives to peter is peter don’t worry about him don’t worry about the seat over there don’t worry about what they have don’t worry about what their journey looks like you follow me you follow me and and so when I feel that that’s challenging there’s something that I do there’s a psalm that I’d love to share with you psalm 25 in those moments where I’m like I don’t know what following looks like and everybody else’s journey looks better than mine and I want what this other person has and the seat that john has looks better than the seat that I have in that moment psalm 25 is this just great source of wisdom this is verse 4 show me your ways lord teach me your paths guide me in your truth and teach me for you you are God my savior and my hope is in you all day long and then it goes on to add something just for those of us that like peter feel like we regularly misstep on that journey regularly feel like he shows us paths that we fail to take that we should have taken and look back again like peter and say man time and time again I make the same mistakes over and over he throws in this little verse at the end remember lord your great mercy and love for they are of old Jesus solution to peter’s envy to peter’s desire to have what john has to sit at the chair that john has to have the journey that john will have is is Jesus is peter keep your eyes on me this is the journey that I have when I started uh doing a ministry job years ago someone gave me a list of 10 things to remember while pastoring a church and I’ve forgotten nine of them but the first one I remember like it was yesterday it says simply this follow Jesus on the journey he has for you invite other people along that seems to be where Jesus lands with peter peter you follow me and I wish I could take that sentence and just tweak it a little bit and because I’m talking to you I can uh so I have that privilege I wish it said this follow Jesus on the journey he has for you with gratitude invite other people along there is something about gratitude as a practice that enables us to look at what we have and say I have so many good things now are the stories that sometimes there will be just so much brokenness yes are there stories where it’s hard to find what that kernel is yes but somewhere for most of us sitting in this room there is something about the story we have been gifted that we get to look at and say God I’m stood by a fire with all of my mistakes and all of the ways that these things could remind me of failure and yet what I see is this you have been good and I am grateful let’s pray