In Isolation Thoughts 2

Sunday 26th April 2020

Message for Today

 

Today’s music: YouTube-Lynda Randle

‘When I get to the end of the road’

Today’s Bible Reading: John 21.1-14

 

Over the last few weeks we have celebrated some of the major events of the life of Jesus, which are all linked to the final days that He spent on this earth. It was the purpose right from His birth, the angel promised a Saviour, and He fulfilled that promise on a hillside outside a city wall, rejected by the very people who were looking for and expecting the Messiah. How could they get it so wrong? They didn’t, God had it right, the promised Messiah would bring deliverance, not for a small nation in the Middle East, a people who had been in His eye since creation, but a blessing and hope for the entire world, which included them. We can link these last weeks in the earthly life of Christ by using the term, His Roads!

  • The Palm Road- where He was heralded as the coming king of the heritage of David.
  • The Temple Road- where He restored the holiness of worship
  • The Garden Road- where He prayed in anguish at the pain of His future, but willing to submit to the will of God.
  • The Calvary Road- which led to a crucifixion and a triumph over sin and death.
  • The Tomb Road- which allowed a rest before it was empty to those who visited it. They left with a message of hope, He is not here! Not because His body has been hidden, He had risen from death to show the extent of His Calvary victory.
  • The Emmaus Road- a journey of despair which became a restoration of hope, their dashed expectations were now realised as Jesus was revealed to them.

We could go on, but the passages that describe these events have a central base- The Upper Room in Jerusalem. It was to this room that the risen Jesus came to show Himself to His disciples on the two Sundays following His death. This was a place of comfort and hope. It was here that so much of the NT teaching was given to them, even if initially their understanding was limited. The disciples wanted more, they had just spent three years of their lives with Him, now it seemed that He was neglecting them. So what did they do? They went back to their old life, something that was certain in their experience, their zone of comfort. Three years on the road, with occasional visits home, has come to an abrupt end. They were impatient for things to happen and the lack of any action allowed them to consider what could they do next. So they went home, then went fishing on Galilee. In keeping our ‘Road’ theme, I’ll call it, ‘The Seashore Road’.

Where did this road lead them?

  • Backwards to the old life
  • Despondency at a failure to catch a single fish
  • Challenge to do something different
  • Meeting with Jesus and a meal

We need to unpick this event in their lives. Peter led them; he had always been a spokesman for the group. They looked to him as a natural leader, so when he suggested a night of fishing on the lake, they agreed. Jesus had called them from this old life to be fishermen, but not of fish from the lake but to fish for men. They were given a new focus, to attract men and women to a new life in Christ. But that had seemingly come to an end, so they reverted to their old ways. This is always a danger and as we see, it led to disaster. Fishing all night and not a single fish, we could say they were fishing in the wrong lake, they should be trusting the risen Christ to lead them, but He was now missing. In the early morning, as they sat in the boat, what were their thoughts? They must have been depressed, had they lost their skills, it had been three years away from the trade, yet at the same time, they must have remembered previous nights when they caught nothing, when the fish were not biting. Put this on top of their current situation, yes, they had seen the risen Jesus, but to the world he had died, some of their fellow companions doubted that he was alive, as it was impossible for someone who had died to return to life. How quickly they forgot Lazarus, Jairus’s’ daughter and the widow’s son. Perhaps the words, 'he saved others, so save yourself', were causing them to think again. How often do current events block out the past, we are so involved in the situation that all reason is lost. We want action now related to now and want it now. So we can have sympathy with their frame of mind as they went home and then out that night onto the lake, they were looking for reassurance to bolster and repair their sorry state.

 

The reassurance they wanted didn’t come from the lake. As they looked across in the early morning, they saw a man on the shore. He asks for fish, but they had none, no business was possible, this added to their upset. Then he told them how and where to fish. There was authority in his voice, he said they were to put their nets on the right side of the boat. Had they been fishing om the wrong side? What is amazing is that they did as He suggested and found fish, so many they had problems landing the catch. This action opened their eyes, the man on the shore was not just a customer wanting their fish, well he did, but they had just seen a miracle on the lake. The exclamation from John to Peter, ‘it is the Lord’, opened all their eyes. He had not left them; He had come to them again. Peter leaps out of the boat and rushes to the shore to meet with Jesus. How eager are we to meet with Jesus, to leave the current situation and have renewed fellowship with Him, even when we know we have drifted away from Him?

 

The others were left to bring the catch to shore, yet to their amazement, they find a meal already prepared on the fire. Jesus invites them to join Him and bring some of their catch. Or should it be His catch? Fellowship is restored, another affirmation that He was alive, He had risen, another piece of evidence confirming the truth of His resurrection.

 

Perhaps in these days of pandemic, we are struggling to cope, struggling to understand what is happening and why. In the loneliness of isolation, of the limits put on our activity, do we have the disciples’ feelings of an empty night of no fish! Take hope from the fact that we have a risen living companion, who is not in isolation, or has His activity limited, because He is God, known to us as Jesus. Who looks at our situation and gives to us the solution. The fishermen had to trust His command, they had to act or there would have been no blessing or comfort. Jesus calls to us and joins us in our individual situation and gently leads us along the way. He uses our situation to our benefit, to join our strength with His, to overcome.

 

Look away from your situation

Look towards the Lord

Obey His command and expect an outcome

Know that He never leaves you alone

Sit down with Him and enjoy the fellowship

 

In the words that Lynda Randle sang,

‘the toils of the road will seem nothing, when I get to the end of the way.’

But it depends on our travelling companion.

Who are you travelling with?

 

The sands have been washed in the footprints

Of the stranger on Galilee's shore,
And the voice that subdued the rough billows,
Will be heard in Judea no more.
But the path of that lone Galilean,
With joy I will follow today;
And the toils of the road will seem nothing,
When I get to the end of the way.

 


Page last updated: 25th April 2020 6:52 PM
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