“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps.16:11).
“They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God” (Ps.84:7).
There is a challenge in the body of Christ today – we have robbed ourselves of the pleasure in His presence. Most of us come to the presence of God weighed down by our present predicaments and problems; never realizing what the presence of God actually means -- the presence of God is a place of pleasure; the presence of God is a place of strength; the presence of God is a place of fun; the presence of God is a place of great encounters and great meetings (Heb.12:22-24).
Treasures Worthy To Unearth
In John 21:1-12, a remarkable story was recorded by John, the beloved, that reveals some great treasures to unearth and that will stir us to loving His presence more in our lives, so that we may be able to say like David said in Ps.84:1-2 “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God”.
I would love for you to stay with me as I share the revelations in this twelve verses that the Holy Spirit ministered to my heart:
1. Vs. 1 – God Defines The Point And Place of Encounters In Our Lives.
“After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias...”
He selects and handpicks people, places and times as the backdrop for the painting of our experiences and encounters in life. Someone once told me, “you can forget stories, you can never forget encounters”.
The setting for this great encounter according to our text is the Sea of Tiberias, which is also the same as the Sea of Galilee (Jn.16:1).
The meaning of Galilee is “circuit or a wheel”. Oh, how apt this is, because at this point in the life of the disciples they were experiencing a cycle – they were back to where they started from! To them it seem as if three (3) years of their lives have been wasted, just chasing shadows and very unproductive. They went back to the fishing business they had always been known for.
It is interesting to know that God can choose the most frustrating time of our lives for an encounter. He loves to show up when the cloud seem darkest and gloomy.
Just like He does in our lives, He chose the Sea of Tiberias as the place of encounter and an unforgettable experience in the lives of dejected and hopeless disciples.
2. Vs. 1 – He Is Always There At The Right Time.
“After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.” [Emphasis mine]
He showed Himself AGAIN to the disciples (this encounter was actually the third time He would show Himself to the disciples after He rose from the dead. He showed Himself more than twelve (12) times in all to His disciples after his resurrection, at different times):
(i) To Mary Magdalene (Jn.20:14-17);
(ii) To the disciples when they stayed behind shut doors for the fear of the Jews (Jn.20:19-21);
(iii) After 8 days specifically to erase Thomas’ doubts (Jn. 20:26);
(iv) To seven (7) of His disciples (Jn.21:1-8) – where we are studying from now;
(v) To the two (2) disciples on the road to Emmaus (Mk.16:13-32);
(vi) To His disciples to buttress the claims of the other two (2) disciples on the road to Emmaus; and to also teach them (Lk.24:36-42);
(vii) To His disciples when He gave them the promise of the Holy Spirit, and shortly before His ascension (Acts 1:3-7);
In 1Cor.15:5 Paul revealed five (5) more encounters that may have not been recorded in the Gospels, and which may have possibly occurred after His ascension:
(viii) To Peter;
(ix) To the twelve (12);
(x) To 500 brethren;
(xi) To James; and finally
(xii) To Paul himself.
(xiii) We can also add His revelation to John (Rev.1:9-19)
He is also revealing Himself to us! Hallelujah! He shows up in our situations when we think that all hope is lost.
But, why would He show Himself? I have three reasons:
(a) To give you undeniable proofs that He exists (Acts 1:3);
(b) To reassure you that He is still there; and
(c) To create a sense of eternal intimacy with you.
3. Vs. 2 – Fellowship Can Be Lost When Your Hunger For Him Is Lost.
“There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.”
The Bible says there were seven (7) disciples there at that time – 5 named and 2 unknown. The truth here is that loosing fellowship with God can happen to anybody – Pastors and spiritual leaders are not immune from it; church workers and members are not either. We are all susceptible to it – what can keep you going is to continually have a hunger for more and more of God. Don’t give any room for the devil to keep you away from God. Seek to know more about Him daily for yourself. The deeper you are in Him, the broader your life will become.
Bishop David Oyedepo puts it this way, “seek to know and your world will know you.”
4. Vs. 3 – When You Are Frustrated With God, You Loose His Presence.
“Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”
The great Peter, the one who was given the keys of the kingdom, got so frustrated that he said “I go a fishing”! He returned to what he was delivered from – he allowed the ‘Galilee syndrome’ work negatively for him: he went round in cycle. He literally went back to his vomit (Mat.12:43-45). He was frustrated with the whole thing, and even with his Master and he lost every sense of purpose and direction.
Don’t let your frustrations drag you away from His presence.
5. Vs.4 – When You Loose Touch You Become Oblivious of His Presence.
“But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.”
Jesus was present yet they did not know it was Him. How sad? The same Jesus that they had been with for three (3) years, sharing every moment of His earthly ministry! Jesus had become just another stranger to them. They have lost touch with His presence! How sad?
The greatest catastrophe in life is to be oblivious of Christ’s presence in our situations, especially when we need Him most.
David has a grasp of this when he said in Ps.42:1-2 – “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”
I have discovered that our preoccupations and proclivities can deny us the privilege of Jesus’ visit or an encounter with Him in our lives and situations. Most times we forget that He camouflages our circumstances in calamities and catastrophes. We are too engrossed with what we are going through that we forget He is there through it all.
6. Vs. 5 – His Love Is Overwhelming.
“Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.”
In spite of their shortcomings Jesus still called them “Children” (“Friends” in another version – NIV).
This shows the heart of the Master towards you and I (Ish.49:15-16 ). He loves you – we are not making it up. That’s exactly how it is!
7. Vs. 6 – His Ridiculous Instructions Can Produce Miraculous Experiences When Obeyed.
“And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”
He told them to throw the net at the right side of the boat and be ready for the catch of their lives. Jesus was proving to them that without Him they can be nothing (Phi.2:13). He was proving to them that He has the power to make it happen for them. He has the power to make it happen for you too!
Another important truth here is that most times the solution to our problem is just at the circumference of the problem itself. What will redeem you will always be around you or come through you. In other words, the solution to your problem is as close as you can imagine (Eph.3:20; 2Kings 6:6; Exo.15:23-25).
Don’t give up too soon; your victory is close by! Closer than you can ever imagine!
8. Vs. 7 – His Love Produces Revelations In Our Lives.
“Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord…”
The disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, it is the Lord!
What a relief to know Jesus is with you all through the time to make it happen for you. His love produces revelations in our lives (Eph.1:15-23). Therefore, when you love you automatically grow in wisdom, knowledge, understanding and revelation (2Pet.1:8). This love must be two ways: vertical and horizontal. That’s the sign of the cross! Love for God and for other people (1Jn.4:20-21).
9. Vs. 7b – Sin Makes Us Ridiculous.
“...Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.”
Our sin causes us to make irrational decisions when we try to cover them (Pro.28:13).
When we try to cover our sins, we would require more sins to do that, and more to cover them, and on and on it goes. It makes no sense at all not to be real with God Who sees and knows everything.
Like the song writer said, “Just as I am without one plea but that your blood was shed for me…” Jesus wants us to come just as we are – no pretences.
10. Vs. 8-11 – There Is Always A Prepared Table In His Presence.
“And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, and hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.” [Emphasis mine]
There is always a prepared table only if we learn to stick with Him (Ps.23:1-6) and we can only access His prepared table through the knowledge of Him -- and what He is capable of (Phi.3:10). This knowledge is inexhaustible!
Notice also verse 11 – there were many fishes yet the net was not broken!
11. Vs. 12 – You Are Invited.
“Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.”
There is an invitation to everyone and anyone today – Jesus is saying to anyone who cares to hear, “…come and dine”. Jesus is inviting you to the greatest party ever!
Ps.34:8 – “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him”.