The Ongoing Provision of Christ

Stefan Nitzschke October 17, 2021 John 21:1-15
Outline

I. Christ’s Provision of Manifesting Himself (v1-14)

A. Christ appeared three times after the resurrection

John 21:14 - This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6 - For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep…

The seven “I am” statements

1. The Bread of Life (John 6:35, 41, 38, 51)

2. The Light of the World (John 8:12, 9:5)

3. The Door of the sheep (John 10:7, 9)

4. The Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)

5. The Resurrection and the Life (John 14:6)

6. The Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6)

7. The True Vine (John 15:1-5)

B. We still wander

C. Jesus finds them

D. Jesus feeds them

John 6:9-14 - “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

John 6:26-29 - Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

II. Christ’s Provision of Shepherding for His Flock (v15-17)

A. The call of the Good Shepherd

B. The care of the Good Shepherd

John 10:11 - I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

John 10:14-15 - I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

Romans 6:10a - For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all…

Hebrews 10:10 - By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

1 Peter 3:18a - For Christ also died for sins once for all…

C. The instruction for shepherds

1 Peter 5:1-4 - Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

III. Christ’s Provision of a Clear and Focused Mission (v18-25)

John 21:25 - And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

John 20:31 - …these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

By way of reminder, this year’s annual theme is Enjoying Life in His name

And we have been studying verse by verse through the Gospel of John…seeing that John write his Gospel so that he could testify to the person and work of Christ…and that people would believe he is the Christ, the Son of God and through believing they may have life in His name.

So today as we end our series in the Gospel of John we will focus on Enjoying Life in His name through The ongoing provision of Christ

Please turn in your bibles to John chapter 21…as we read the last chapter in the gospel of John…if you need a bible, there is one under the seat in front of you…You can turn to page 90 in the back section…the New Testament.

[Read John 20:30 – 21:1-25]

As we consider our Lord’s amazing provision…first let’s consider…

I. Christ’s provision of revealing Himself (v1-14)

God revealing Himself to man is a continual theme throughout the Book of John

We read in the first chapter that “the Word [being Jesus] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory…”

Jesus then reveals Himself systematically to the disciples, then smaller crowds (like those being baptized in the Jordan or those at the wedding at Cana)…

…then to the Jewish leaders (Nicodemus), then Gentile outcasts (woman at the well), then His ministry explodes

The culmination of this revelation occurs when he is presented to the large crowd by Pilate and then subsequently lifted on a cross for all to see

…but that wasn’t the end, amen?

Jesus rose in victory, and then…

A. Christ appeared three times after the resurrection

We read…

John 21:14 — This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

And we know there were, in fact, more appearances based on passages like 1 Corinthians 15…

1 Corinthians 15:3–6 — For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

And not only did He reveal Himself so many times, but He continually told people who He was

This is captured beautifully in the 7 I AM statements found throughout the Gospel of John:

i. The seven “I am” statements

The Bread of Life (John 6:35, 41, 38, 51)

The Light of the World (John 8:12, 9:5)

The Door of the sheep (John 10:7, 9)

The Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)

The Resurrection and the Life (John 14:6)

The Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)

The True Vine (John 15:1-5)

Why talk so much about Jesus revealing Himself?

Because John is trying to emphasize a point throughout his gospel account:

Without Jesus revealing Himself, we have no hope

Why did Jesus talk so much about WHO He is?

Because Jesus was trying to show that He alone can satisfy the longings of those He created!

To the hungry—He is the Bread of life

To the one living in darkness—He is the Light of the world

To those wandering—He is the Door

To the lost sheep—He is the Good Shepherd

To the spiritually dead—He is the Resurrection

To the misguided—He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

And to the unsatisfied—He is the True Vine

Jesus revealing Himself is a huge deal

This point is emphasized in our passage through our dynamic friend, Peter…

Peter gives sinners like us hope, because while Jesus revealed Himself to us and called many of us into His flock (more on this later)…

B. We still wander

Peter had just seen the resurrected Christ twice

Matthew and Mark’s gospel accounts record that Jesus instructs the disciples that He will meet them at the designated mountain in Galilee

According to the text, where does Peter want to go? (fishin’)

You tell me: is the sea the same thing as a mountain?

There is a lot of debate as to whether Peter was simply passing the time vs doing something he ought not do – I tend to be in the latter camp for various reasons

1) The sea is NOT a mountain

2) What were they going to do with their catch? While they were likely to eat some, it was just as likely that they were going to sell it (which obviously would have taken them away from the mountain)

3) Envision the reality of catching nothing at all

How many times did Peter drop that net throughout the course of the night?

Over, and over, and over, and over again, he cast his net in hope but would drag it back empty

Any thought of “this clearly was not a good idea”?

Did the frustration of a consistently empty net serve as a reminder to him of Christ’s charge that he now be a fisher of people?

It’s not until Jesus graciously shows up once more that the disciples are able to see Him

Christian friend—isn’t this us, so often?

Jesus makes Himself known to us in such profound ways, yet that’s no guarantee that we won’t later wander off

We look elsewhere for satisfaction, casting our nets over, and over, and over again, thinking: this time I’ll get something—this time it’ll satisfy me…

Does this describe you right now?

You have received Jesus’ provision before—you know He is able to satisfy, but you are off fishin’ and off mission

That’s what makes the next part so profound—is Jesus done with them?

“guys, I rose from the dead, I showed up not once, but TWICE (one of those times walking right through your locked door)—if you don’t get it by now, you never will”

Wandering Christian friend, is He saying that to you right now?

No, but rather…

C. Jesus finds them

Look down with me at the passage once more…

*re-read vv 4-7

They didn’t even know it was Jesus at first…

And yet, Jesus graciously reveals Himself to them once more

In the midst of their hopeless ploy to find satisfaction, Jesus grants it to them by His Word

And then notice what Peter does here…

*putting clothes on before getting into the pool

So why this activity?

I believe Peter got the hint—I’m not getting back into this boat

I’m gonna grab what I need and plunge myself towards Jesus

John would later recount this level of grace in his first epistle:

1 John 2:1b – …if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;”

Implication: if you are fishing in waters that you ought not fish in, plunge yourself towards Jesus in repentance

…and do it now

Because what was waiting for Peter and the others when they got to Jesus?

A lecture?

A big old stick for discipline?

No, Peter and the others went fishing because they were hungry for something, so…

D. Jesus feeds them

Don’t you love that?

Let’s look down at our passage again…

*re-read vv 9-14

John repeats that this is the third time that Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples

And as a total aside, don’t you love that Jesus still redeems the time that Peter and the others wasted by asking them to contribute some fish from their catch?

He does that with you and I as well—even the time we’ve spent squandering and floundering, Jesus is able to use it for His glory and our good

But more on point, Jesus graciously receives them and FEEDS THEM

Regarding their immediate desires, this is meant to satisfy their longing

But Jesus was pointing to so much more here than His ability to fulfill His people

In other words, Jesus is serving more than fish—He is serving a healthy dose of reminders….

Haven’t we seen fish and bread miracles before?

John 6:9–14 — “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”

A few verses later it says…

John 6:26–29 — Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

Jesus isn’t just providing them with a meal, but a mission

The fish you catch will fill you (and others) for a few hours, but the fish Christ is calling you to will have eternal implications

Many also believe that the inclusion of Jesus giving them the bread serves as a reminder of the Passover meal that would have only been a short while ago for them

There, He inaugurated the New Covenant of His blood

This portion of Scripture is absolutely ripe with symbolism, but it all point back to one thing:

Whatever you are looking for: Jesus has it

And He has revealed Himself to us so that we would jump in and race to Him

*Gospel (don’t wait for the next time He reveals Himself—no guarantee)

Jesus provides for us by revealing Himself – and He proves to be the only One who can satisfy

But there is so much more—even just in this passage we see…

II. Christ’s provision of shepherding for His flock (v15-17)

Let’s get a quick reminder of what this passage says…

*re-read vv15-17

The temptation is to see these passages as detached—Jesus was talking about fish and now He’s talking about sheep

But they are beautifully related

Jesus graciously retrieves Peter from his fruitless fishing expedition for the purpose of reinstating Him

So far as John records the matter, the last personal interaction Jesus had with Peter was regarding his denial of Him

There would have likely been a certain amount of shame accompanying Peter’s interaction with Christ

And yet, Jesus comes to him…

He gives him an opportunity to declare his love for Christ – the same number of times Peter betrayed Him

And this is…

A. The call of the Good Shepherd

The call for all who would be in Jesus’ sheepfold is simple: love the Shepherd above all else

There is a bit of debate over what Jesus was intending the first time He asked Peter “do you love me” because He includes the phrase “more than these

What are the “these” Jesus is referring to?

Some speculate it was the other disciples: “Peter, do you love me more that these disciples?”

Others believe it was the load of fish they just hauled in: “Peter, do you love me more than fishing?”

Others still believe it is a comparative phrase: “Peter, do you love me more than these other disciples love me?”

Let me throw my own hat in the ring…

There are times where the Word of God is vague, lending to the possibility of several conclusions – this is certainly one of those instances

I believe this is intentional—when God wants to be incredibly specific, He is (*see John 11:14 “Lazarus is dead…”)

I believe what we’re to gather is this: whatever YOU would put in to replace the “these,” go ahead and put it in there

If the appropriate question for you today is: “do you love Me (Jesus) more than money?” let that be the question to you

Or “do you love Me more than comfort?” so be it

Fishing and comparison were Peter’s common pitfalls (we will see more of the latter in a minute) – what are yours?

Because the call of the Good Shepherd is to love Him more than these

Peter’s wandering (and subsequently OURS) always begins here—loving something else more than Jesus

So that’s what Jesus goes for, and the question is for us today as well: “do you love Jesus more than these?”

Peter’s responses are telling, and I hope you can say it with him: “yes Lord, You know that I love You”

But Jesus’ charge after each response show…

B. The care of the Good Shepherd

While Jesus gives a deal of variation: 1) tend My lambs, 2) shepherd My sheep, and 3) tend My sheep, there is a constant to it all:

MY

This is a reminder of the beautiful role Jesus has in the life of all who He calls to Himself:

John 10:11 — “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

John 10:14–15 — “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, provided for us in the greatest way possible: by laying down His own life for us

In the highest sense, this is a unique act that cannot be replicated

This is made clear in various passages throughout the NT:

Romans 6:10a – “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all…”

Hebrews 10:10 – “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

1 Peter 3:18a – “For Christ also died for sins once for all…”

So Jesus’ sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins is a one-time deal that is sufficient for all who would enter into His sheepfold

But in a lesser sense, He calls each of us to emulate Him by seeking to lay down our lives for others as well

And specific to this passage, He even provides…

C. The instruction for shepherds

Let’s revisit those three charges that Jesus gives Peter:

Vs 15 – …Tend my Lambs

Vs 16 - …Shepherd my Sheep

Vs17 – …Tend my sheep

Does Jesus command Peter to: “hold the office of pastor”?

Does He demand that Peter: “establish his authority as an elder”?

No: his charge is to tend and shepherd CHRIST’s flock

Will Peter do this perfectly?

No: Paul makes that very clear in Galatians 2 where he is found leading the Jews to effectively separate from the Gentiles (see the natural leadership ties in this passage as well)

Will your pastors at Faith Church do this perfectly?

No: there are those whom I have failed in this room here today in one way or another

Regardless of the failure of myself or others on staff, we will continue to strive towards Jesus’ charge to Peter, and subsequently Peter’s charge to us as well:

1 Peter 5:1–4 — Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

But there is good news: where I or we have failed to provide, Jesus will never fail

He alone is the Good Shepherd who is able to perfectly tend to the specific needs of each individual sheep

And a part of that care is…

III. Christ’s provision of a clear and focused mission (v18-25)

Please look down at the passage with me, if you will…

*re-read vv 18-22

Can I be honest?

There is a part of me that has always been a bit disappointed in this last portion of John – my favorite gospel

For a book so rich with earth-shattering claims and highly dramatic depictions of historical events, to end it with, “Peter, you are going to die a horrible death” always seemed a bit deflating…

…but can I be transparent?

Much of this discomfort stems from my own prideful and selfish wandering

To say it in line with today’s theme: when I am seeking my provision in something else

First, this ending offends all who believe a call to follow Jesus entails a life of health, wealth, and prosperity

John reserves the precious finale of his gospel to highlight the high cost of following Jesus

Second, Jesus re-emphasizes His sovereign rule over all things by telling Peter how He has determined he will glorify God

This grates against the Genesis 3 lie that we often believe: only I know, and only I am in control

Christ alone is in control, and He is working for His own glory—not ours

Additionally, it beautifully bookends the Book of John

The final portion of narrative in this gospel is Jesus’ call to discipleship: YOU FOLLOW ME

The first portion of narrative in the book is John the Baptizer’s charge to follow Jesus

Jesus Himself calls the initial disciples to FOLLOW HIM in chapter 1, verse 43

Let me try to weave some pieces together here:

Jesus finds Peter fishing, as He did when He initially called Peter to follow Him

He then provides Peter with a meal to remind him of his true calling

Jesus then gives him an opportunity to profess his love for Him, allowing an opportunity to be reinstated

He closes with a call for Peter to keep his eyes on Christ – an issue that Peter (*walking on water) as well as the rest of us will struggle with

John closes the narrative portion of his gospel account with the most concise summary of what Jesus calls us to: YOU FOLLOW ME

Are we on-mission, or “gone fishin’ “?

I want you to picture something…

I want you to look around and imagine this room we’re in was filled from side-to-side, top-to-bottom with books

Now imagine each of those books was unique—no duplicates

Finally, every single one of those books was about a single subject

Can you imagine such a subject? What could possibly be so complex that such an incredible amount could be dedicated towards it?

John 21:25 – “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”

Now imagine the world itself covered in books, if that’s even possible to comprehend

That would be insufficient to cover the single topic of WHAT JESUS DID

Brothers and sisters – can Jesus provide?

He is totally sufficient in His very being – praise the Lord He revealed Himself to us

He more than worthy for us to follow as the sheep of His flock – praise the Lord He laid down His life for us

And He is utterly inexhaustible in all His ways – praise the Lord for who He is…

Allow me to simply close with the words of this gospel that have served as our theme:

John 20:31 — “…these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

Authors

Stefan Nitzschke

Roles

Pastor of College Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S. - Management Information Systems, Iowa State University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Stefan has been serving on the pastoral team at Faith Church since 2016. He and his wife have a passion for discipleship and evangelism. They are the blessed parents of four carefree boys and one sweet girl. Stefan is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and is a board member of Faith’s Community Development Corporation.