Sunday, April 7, 2013

John 21:1-14 - Fish, Friends and Fellowship. Guest Blog: David Mackertich



There is something so special about people coming together to share in a meal and fellowship. The more that I have thought about it the more I have come to realise that it is such an important part of life.

Some of the best times of my life have been around a dinner table or a camp fire with friends and family.  You are always guaranteed to have a great laugh. There is just something about that atmosphere. Those that have experienced it might just know what I am talking about.

See, God created us to come together. We were not made to spend our whole lives in isolation from each other.

There is a story in the Bible that I want to share with you about fellowship, found in John 21:1-14. This story begins after Jesus’ death and resurrection. After Jesus had died and risen again, he stayed upon the earth for 40 days to show the disciples that he had conquered death and had in fact been resurrected from the dead.

When we look at the biblical account of John 21:1-14 we see Peter telling a few of the disciples, John being one of them, that he is going fishing. The disciples said that they wanted to join him. During the course of the night they had not caught any fish.

John 21:5 tells us early that morning Jesus stands on the shore and calls out to them and asked them if they have caught any fish and they reply they hadn’t. Now, they do not know it was Jesus, as they had not recognised him (John 21:4). Jesus tells them to then cast the net over the other side of the boat. As they do so they begin to pull in many, many fish (John 21:6). The Bible records there were 153 fish (John 21:11). 

Even though there were so many fish the net still did not break. As they are pulling up the fish, John, the disciple whom Jesus loves, has a revelation that this is Jesus, and he tells Peter. Peter puts on outer garment and jumps out of the boat. When Peter and the disciples had all arrived ashore, Jesus tells them to come and bring some of their fish over so that he may cook it and that they may all have breakfast together (John 21:12).

We see here that Jesus is inviting the disciples to come and share a meal (fellowship). Jesus is the host of the meal. This is a very significant thing in Eastern culture. The coming together to share in a meal is more than just the eating of the meal.

The offering of the meal itself is an offering of peace and protection to the guest. When you sit down for a meal, no matter if you are a stranger or even an enemy, this meal is a peace offering. During the time of the meal, the guest is under the protection of the host themselves. If at any time during this meal someone was to try to harm the guest in any way it is customary for the host to protect the guest, even if it is with their own life.

The host is also to be the one to serve the guest and make sure that they have all that they need. There is much shame on a person if they are not great hosts.

The guest of the meal is the one that is honoured and served during this time of fellowship.

How was this offering to share a meal so significant to the disciples? Here we see that they were honoured guests of Jesus. They were the ones being invited by Jesus to share in a meal. He was the host and they were the guests. They are the ones to be served and protected.

Jesus desired to do all of this even after his death and resurrection. This is Jesus showing that after being glorified by God he still desires to serve the disciples, protect them and to have an intimate relationship with them.

If you were to be invited to share in a meal with a King, you would definitely be served. But the King would have servants to do that for you. What King would actually serve their guests himself? The King is the one to be served. But Jesus is different; he is unlike any other King. In the Kingdom of God the greatest is to be a servant to all. This is Jesus, a servant to all. Philippians 2:7 picks up on this, when it says, ‘he made himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant.’

Jesus calls us all to come and fellowship with him. Jesus is offering us peace and protection with God, through a relationship with him.

This peace was given to us when Jesus gave his life on the cross and payed for our sin; He died for us so that we could live in this freedom with him. It is so important take up this invitation to come into fellowship with Jesus and find peace with God.

There are a number of ways in which we can fellowship with Jesus in our lives.

Personal Prayer

Jesus has called for us to go and spend time with him by being (focusing) in his presence and talking to Him. I have seen in my life that when I spend time with God in prayer I feel a great sense of peace. I have found that this sense of peace lasts throughout the day and week.

Community Prayer

Jesus also calls us to pray with other people within our church. This is prayer for one another and prayer for the church itself. This is a wonderful time that we can come together to strengthen each other and the church. I have been encouraged so often through this time. I have had prophecy over my life and have been able to help strengthen others.

Fellowship in Community


There is also Fellowship within the church community. This is lived out primarily through small groups in many churches. At Salvos3064, we call them Connect Groups, where we have dinner together and then a time of bible study on a fortnightly basis. God speaks to people through this time. For me, this is a great time to learn more about God through others in the church. God speaks through the people in my group to tell me things that I did not know or things I needed to hear. This is a great time of fellowship with God and with each other.

Worship


Jesus calls us to not only follow him but to worship the Father through Him. This is a time where we can honour him with thanksgiving. For me, worshipping God makes me come alive, I feel as though I connect with Him the most during this time.

Will you notice Jesus calling out to you?

Will you be like John and recognise Jesus?

Jesus brings peace and protection. This counter-cultural as we live in a world where there are so many people living without peace and don’t feel protected.

Jesus is calling you to draw near to him and have even greater fellowship.

You may enjoy dinner with the family, hanging out with mates, and having a good laugh; though nothing beats having that close fellowship with Jesus. You can deepen that fellowship with him and with those around you, through personal prayer, community prayer, fellowship with others and worship.


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Guest Blogger: David (Macca) Mackertich is a candidate in The Salvation Army, hoping to enter Salvation Army Officer Ministry in the near future. He currently serves in ministry at Salvos3064 (Craigieburn, VIC).

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See Pete's Blog that unpacks John 20:19-23 - Another appearance of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples.

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