31 Mar The God of another chance
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played University of California in the Rose Bowl. In that game a man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California. Somehow, he became confused and started running 65 yards in the wrong direction. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, outdistanced him and downed him just before he scored for the opposing team. When California attempted to punt, Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety which was the ultimate margin of victory. That strange play came in the first half, and everyone who was watching the game was asking the same question: “What will Coach Nibbs Price do with Roy Riegels in the second half?” The men fled off the field and went into the dressing room. They sat down on the benches and on the floor, all but Riegels. He put his towel around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, put his face in his hands, and cried like a baby. If you have played sport, you know that a coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during half time. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels. Then the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time.
If you’ve been a Christian long enough, then you are not a stranger to what Roy Riegels must have felt in that locker room. The bizarre feeling of disappointing God and people around you who loves you. Maybe you led a Bible study but then you made a stupid decision and was extremely ashamed because of it and you find yourself hiding from God. Maybe you hang out with a wrong guy or girl and made a big mess of your Christian life. Whatever the case, you are now filled with guilt and shame and you are struggling to hang on. When this happen, lots of times we try to hide it and we do not want anyone to know because we are ashamed about it. We live in a success-driven culture that sees failure as something to hide. We are consumed with success that we do not tolerate failure. Truth of the matter is all of us failed God more than we care to admit. But because of the success-oriented surrounding, we do not like to admit our failure and we become hypocrites. We act as if everything went well and used the church’s phrase to fake our situation while inside, we are full of pain, hurt and shame.
The good news is that the message of the gospel is not for those who have it all together. The gospel is good news because it offers hope to the hopeless, relieve to the hurting and mercy to the shameful. Church is not a social club for the good people; it is hospital for the sick. Jesus is our doctor and we are his patients. All of us are sick. Granted that there are some of us who are in the ICU, and some of us who are about to leave. But we are all sick. I pray that this church will be a safe place for failures to admit their failures and find healings by the grace of God. And tonight, I want us to take a look at the life of one of the disciples of Jesus whose life is marked with failure after failure. This is the one disciple that one day when I meet him in Heaven, I have to apologize. I like to make fun of him in my sermon. While in fact, this is the one disciple that I resemble the most. When I look at his life, it is like the reflection of my life. His name is Peter. Peter is the man who is very outspoken about his love for Jesus but yet find himself failing to live up to it again and again. Sounds familiar to your story? I hope so.
I want us to focus on John 21 because this chapter is really fascinating. Just the fact that we have John chapter 21 is already incredible. Why? Because if you read the last part of John chapter 20, John just wrote the climatic statement on the purpose of the book. John 20:30-31 – 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. This statement is a perfect ending to this glorious letter that speaks of the greatness and the glory of Jesus Christ. John is saying, “I am writing this letter and telling you everything that Jesus did in order for you to believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that by believing you may have eternal life.” BOOM. It should have ended there. It is the perfect ending to the story of Jesus. But then John continued with saying, “After this…” and he gave us John 21. It’s like watching Marvel movie in a theatre for the first time. After the movie ends, the credits roll, and everyone is leaving. Then suddenly another scene shows up on the screen. “Surprise.” Why does it end this way? I love the way Louie Giglio puts it. He says that John 21 exists to tell us that the gospel is indeed the story of Christ but it is also our story. The gospel is not only good news about the God who conquered sin and death but also how the same God offers another chance to those who failed him. God is the God of another chance. This is where the resurrection of Jesus meets real life. Because there is still unfinished business at the end of the life of Jesus in regards to Peter. Jesus loves Peter too much to let his hurt unresolved. But before we go there, let us take a quick look at the life of Peter.
Luke 5 tells us the story of Peter’s first encounter with Jesus. Jesus was teaching and the people were crowding around him on the shore of a lake. Because of the overwhelming numbers of crowd, Jesus got into Peter’s boat and he taught the people from it. When he finished speaking, he asked Peter to let down the nets. Peter replied reluctantly that they had done so all night. What good will it does to do it again? He was tired and exhausted from the all-nighter. Jesus may know a lot about a lot, but Peter knows about fishing. Peter knows when to fish and when to quit. Common sense said it was time to quit. The most difficult journey is back to the place where you have failed before. Jesus knew that. That’s why he volunteered to go along. The first outing was without Jesus; this time Jesus was in the boat. “Pete, try again, this time with me on board.” Peter reluctantly agreed to try again. It didn’t make any sense, but Peter knew enough to know that there was something different about Jesus. He cast down the nets and the result was overwhelming to the point that their nets began to break. When Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” When we encounter Jesus for who he really is, our response will be similar to Peter. None of us are worthy of his presence. Doesn’t matter how good we are, we are still sinful in the eyes of God. The fact that he came and called Peter to follow him was all because of his grace. By grace, God called and chose Peter to follow Him. God was the initiator of the relationship. It was not Peter who chose to Jesus; it was Jesus who chose Peter.
In Matthew 16, Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” The disciples gave him a lot of good answer but not the correct one. Matthew 16:16-18 – Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The rest of the disciples must have wished they were the one who said it. But as always, Peter beat them to it. And at this point, Jesus gave Simon a new name – Peter. And not only that, Jesus also declared in front of other disciples that Peter would have a big role in building the church. Peter must be very happy with himself. After all, he just received a special revelation from God on who Jesus is. But it did not last long. Jesus then predicted his death to his disciples. Peter, being confident in the revelation he just received, thought he knew better than Jesus. He took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him. He said, “Lord, this shall never happen to you!” Peter, thinking he deserves another compliment from Jesus, must have shocked when he heard Jesus replied, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” What would you do if your pastor called you Satan in front of everyone? Peter turned from hero to zero.
Peter’s biggest failure happened the night before crucifixion. Luke 22 tells us the story in vivid details. Earlier, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times. To which Peter replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Peter had a strong confident in his love for Jesus. “Lord, all these other disciples might fail but not me. I will never disown you.” Jesus smiled the way I would smile to one of my KM members whenever he made a promise and said, “We’ll see.” Despite his boasting, Peter did exactly what he vowed will never do. When Jesus was arrested, Peter ran; he turned his back on his dearest friend. At that moment, the instinct to survive collided with his allegiance to Christ, and for just a moment allegiance won. Peter went to the courtyard of Caiaphas to see what happen to Jesus. Luke describes that Peter followed at a distance. He was careful not to get close enough to be seen. Pay attention to the setting. Luke tells us that Peter was sitting by a fire. Other people near the fire recognized him. “You were with Jesus.” Three times people said it, and each time Peter denied it. Three times the salt of Peter’s betrayal stung the wounds of the Messiah. “Kookooroyok..” When the roosted crowed, Jesus turned. His eyes searched for Peter and they found him. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. At that moment there were no soldiers, no accusers, and no priests. At that predawn moment in Jerusalem there were only two people – Jesus and Peter. Peter would never forget that look. Though the look lasted only a moment, it seemed like forever. Peter had failed many times before but without doubt this was his worst failure. He turned his back on the man he swore he will never leave. Peter saw the look on Jesus’ eyes and he remembered everything Jesus said. So Peter walked out and wept bitterly. Peter made a bold promise to Jesus and Peter failed miserably to keep his promises.
That’s the setting for Jesus’ conversation with Peter in John 21. Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Peter saw the resurrected Christ with his own eyes. Everything Jesus said came to pass. Jesus finished what he came to do. However, for Peter, there was one unfinished business. Peter was still swallowed in guilt and shame for what he had done. And all other disciples knew that. The question must have lingered on their mind, “What is Jesus going to do with Peter? Jesus said that he would use Peter to build his church. But Peter denied Jesus publicly. What’s going to happen now to Peter?” And I am sure many of us had been there before. We made bold promises to God yet we failed him again and again. You promised you would never do that again but you did. You embarrassed yourself and God and you thought God’s plan for you is over. Have you been there? John 21 is written for Peter and you. So let’s dive in from the beginning of John 21.
John 21:1-14 – After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Just a quick side note. How would you feel if you were the other two disciples? Everyone got their name mention except for them. It’s like looking at your friend’s post on Instagram and you realized that something is odd. You know you were there but you are not there. You can see your hand but you can’t see the rest of you. Your friend cropped you out of the picture. Anyone know what I am talking about? This is what happened. Because John wanted to zoom in to one particular person in the story, Peter.
3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. Sounds familiar? It should. This is the repetition of Luke 5, when Jesus encountered Peter for the first time. Same setting (sea in Galilee), same scenario, same word, and same miracle. The only difference is Peter’s reaction. In his first encounter with Jesus, Peter told Jesus to depart from him for he was a sinner. But this time, it is radically different.
7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. Peter is so eager to meet Jesus that he jumps off the boat and start swimming toward the shore. Another side note. I have never seen anyone outswim the boat. So imagine Peter swimming toward the shore and the disciples rowing the boat next to him and say, “Pete, you know you don’t have to jump off the boat right?” But Peter is so eager to meet Jesus. He wants to prove to Jesus that he is different than the other disciples.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus already have fish ready. Someone asked me, “Where did Jesus get the fish?” I don’t know. Maybe Jesus said, “Let there be fish” and fish popped out. Not important.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Every now and then, you find people who try to find a deep spiritual meaning to the number 153. They try to connect dots here and there to give deep spiritual meaning to 153. Are they right? Maybe. But it makes more sense to take the number 153 just as numbers. This is after all an eye witness account. John is writing an eye witness account of what happened before his very own eyes.
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. Peter is finally face to face with the man he had failed. Peter must have many things to say but he remain silent. The man who was very outspoken is lost for word. He had failed Jesus, but Jesus comes to him. And rather than speaking words of condemnation, Jesus said, “Come and have breakfast.” Jesus is offering breakfast to the friend who betrayed him. This is the grace of Jesus.
This is the background of Jesus’ conversation with Peter that radically transformed Peter’s life. I want us to pay special attention to their conversation because I believe it has the power to radically transform our lives as well. But pay attention to the setting again. This is not a coincidence. How many times did Peter deny Jesus? Three times. And where did Peter denied Jesus? By the fire. And now we find Jesus intentionally set up the scene. Peter is by the fire. This time he has Jesus and other disciples by the fire with him instead of strangers. And Jesus asks him the same question three times by the fire. Not once, not twice but three times. What is Jesus doing? Jesus is about to ruthlessly pursue after Peter’s heart. The point is clear. “Peter you denied me three times by the fire. Now, I am going to ask you three questions by the fire.” 3 repetitions, 3 questions, 3 denials, 3 answers, 3 commencement. Jesus knows exactly what he is doing. This story is about the restoration of Peter. But before he does that, Jesus first need to do a heart surgery on Peter. So, let’s look at the conversation.
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
First thing that Jesus does is he refers to Peter by his old name. By itself, there is nothing wrong with calling Peter, Simon. But reading it in the context of everything said, this change is crucial. Jesus refers to Peter as Simon son of John to show the seriousness of sin. It’s like when your parent called you by your full name, you know something is wrong. Just imagining my dad says “Yosia Y Yusuf” gives me a chill already. By calling Peter with his old name, Jesus is reminding Peter of his old life. “Peter, you are not acting consistently with who you truly are. You are acting like your old self and that is why I am calling you Simon.” This is important. You cannot start to repent until you acknowledge your sin and take responsibility for it. As long as you still say, “Yes I did wrong, but…” you have yet to own your sin. True repentance begins when we stop blame shifting, when we stop making excuses. And this is what Jesus is doing. He does not sugar-coat Peter’s sins. He looks at Peter in the eyes and he is essentially saying, “Simon, you have failed me three times. Do you acknowledge that?”
I was talking to Ellis a while back about the importance of preaching on sin. Many churches today back away from preaching on sin. They said it is outdated and it is not helpful. What people needs to hear is the message of love, grace and forgiveness. After all, Romans 2 says that it is the kindness of the Lord that leads to repentance. And I’m all for love, grace and forgiveness. But here is the thing. Love, grace and forgiveness means nothing if we do not take sin seriously. It is only when we realize how sinful we are that the grace of God becomes precious to us. And the way to do it is not to stop preaching on sin but to preach on sin. This is what Jesus is doing. “Simon, you have sinned against me. I’m not going to give you a pass just because I am gracious. I want you to acknowledge your sin.”
Jesus continues, “Simon, do you love me more than these?” This is a brutal question. Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Jesus more than the other disciples. If you remember, the night before crucifixion, Peter was so sure of his love for Jesus. He was so sure that even if all the other disciples left Jesus, he would not go anywhere. He would die for Jesus. Peter was confident in his love for Jesus. And this is his problem. This is the root of sin. Because at the end of the day, Peter was confident in himself, in his commitment, in his strength and in his love. The foundation of everything Peter did was himself. And now Jesus kindly asks him, “Where did your love get you? Where did your confident, commitment and strength get you? To me or away from me? You said you love me more than all these disciples but what happened to you?” Jesus is not rubbing salt in Peter’s wound but Jesus is doing a heart surgery on Peter. Peter boasted on him giving his life for Jesus when what he really needed was for Jesus to give his life for him. Peter got it the other way around. Peter always tried to outperform the others in order to prove his love and be accepted by Jesus but Jesus is teaching Peter that he accepted Peter not because of Peter’s performance but because of grace. Jesus wounds Peter in order to heal Peter.
“Yes, Lord; you know that I love you”
This is Peter’s reply to Jesus’ question. Now, let me go off in a tangent for a bit. Many preachers and commentators quick to point out that there are two different Greek words used for love in this conversation. Agapao and Phileo. Agapao is word used to describe the love of God and Phileo is the love between friends. So they see in this conversation that Jesus wants Peter to love Jesus with the love of Agapao but Peter is unable to do so and he answers with Phileo. And on the third time asking, Jesus reduces the love he demanded from Peter from Agapao to Phileo. Here is what I say about it. Yes throughout the New Testament, the greek word Agapao is often used to describe the love of God. However, John is unique. Throughout his gospel, John used the word Agapao and Phileo interchangeably to convey the same meaning of love. Therefore, it is unlikely that Jesus asks the question three times because Jesus wants Peter to have Agapao love instead of Phileo loves toward him.
Let’s go back to the story. When Jesus asks him the first time, Peter is fine. When Jesus asks the second time, Peter is fine. But when Jesus asks for the third time, Peter understands what Jesus is doing and he is grieved by it. So Peter replies, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” I love Peter’s answer. Peter is no longer relying on his love for Jesus. When Peter says, “You know that I love you,” Peter no longer put his confident in his love for Jesus. Peter relies on Jesus knowing of his love for him. He is saying, “Jesus, you know my heart better than I do. You know the best and the worst in me and you know that I love you. I do not know if I love you more than these disciples, but you know everything in me and you know that I love you.”
My friend, this is true repentance. There is a big difference between grieving because you fear the consequences of sin and grieving because you break God’s heart. And God knows! You can’t fool God with your repentance. You can fool your pastor and people around you but not God. Let me give you example. Let’s say that there is a husband and wife who had a big fight and came to see their pastor for counselling. So they meet and they fight in front of their pastor while the pastor listen to them. The wife says, “We’ve been married for 10 years and you never change. You keep saying you would do A but you always do B. You lie to me again and again and I continue to forgive you. You never help me with the kids. You always play games when you came back from work and do not talk to me. You love your friends more than me. I am sick and tired of this relationship. I’ve had enough. I am leaving you. Good luck with the kids. I want a divorce.” And usually the husband replies, “You want to divorce? Fine. Let’s get divorce!” And the counselling ends. What did the pastor do? Nothing. That’s how counselling works most of the time. Then a week later, the husband returns to the pastor. “Pastor, my wife is really serious about leaving me. What should I do?” And the pastor replies, “What else can you do? Remember the two rules of marriage. First, wife is always right. Second, when your wife is wrong, remember the first rule. So admit your wrong to her, apologize and change.” So the husband goes to his wife and says, “I’m sorry babe for not listening to you. I was wrong and I won’t do it anymore. I’ll change and become a better husband and father. Please give me one more chance.” And the wife says, “Okay, let’s give it another chance.” Problem solved? Not necessarily. What often happen is that the husband does change for a while. But when it looks like the wife is not thinking to leave anymore, he would go back to his old self, and they are back in the pastor’s office again few months later.
What happen? Here is what happen. The husband changed because he is afraid of the consequences of his actions. He is afraid that his wife would leave him. Once the threat is gone, he slides back to his old self. With another word, the husband grieves because he fears the consequences of sin but he does not grieve because he breaks his wife’s heart. This is not repentance. This is self-pity. True repentance is to own your sin, see how your sins breaks the heart of God, and turn away from it. And this is what Peter did. He owns his sin and he relies on Jesus’ knowing of his heart. He is grieved because he sees his sin and how he break Jesus’s heart.
“Feed my lambs”
Once Peter acknowledges his sin, Jesus is ever ready to restore Peter and commission him. Jesus commissions Peter to feed Jesus’s lambs, another word for saying that he wants Peter to take a good care of God’s people. And Jesus does all of this in front of the other disciples. Not because Jesus is insensitive to the situation but because Jesus wants the other disciples to know the future he has in mind for Peter. Peter’s betrayal has cast a great doubt over Peter’s credibility as an apostle but Jesus restore all of it. How? By having Peter confesses his sin publicly, repenting publicly and Jesus commissions him publicly. This is a good news for all of us. For Christians who repented of their sins, failure is never the last word; Grace is! There is a grace of God available to restore every failures who confess and repent of their sins. God is the God of another chance.
And not only that. Jesus can use Peter mightily not in spite of his failure but because of his failure. Because of everything Peter went through, he is now ready to shepherd God’s people. Peter is ready to feed God’s people. This is radically different from the world. In the world, you hardly ever receive a second chance. If you blow it once, it’s over. But God’s grace operates differently. Grace says that it is precisely because you blow it the first time that you are qualified for the job. Peter can be a great shepherd because he was a great failure. Because of his failure, Peter can understand the brokenness of human but he also can understand the amazingness of grace that can restore even the biggest failure. Peter was ready to feed God’s people because he was the biggest failure. This is grace!
After restoring and commissioning Peter, Jesus then proceeds to tell Peter what sort of life is waiting for him. John 21:18-19 – 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” Jesus is telling Peter that Peter will die for Jesus. And this is not a bad news. Peter said it before that he would die for Jesus but he failed. But this time it is different. Peter will actually get to live out his promise to Jesus. Jesus is saying, “Peter, this time you will die for my sake and you will not deny me.” And history tells us exactly that. Peter was killed by being crucified upside-down. He did not deny his faith in Jesus. Peter followed Jesus to the end, to his death.
Now, what happen to Peter? There is about a 30 years gap between Jesus’s prediction of Peter’s death and his actual death. So, for 30 years Peter continues to shepherd the people of God faithfully, knowing exactly how he is going to die. What happen? Let me tell you what happen. Peter experienced the transforming grace of God. Peter experienced the grace that accepts failures and transform them into shepherds. Peter met the God who came to pursue him rather than walked away from him. Peter met the God who was not afraid to confront Peter with his sin and lead him to repentance. Peter met the God who did not waste his failure but rather used it for his purpose. Peter met the God says, “No matter what you have done, no matter how you have blown your life, you can start over. My grace is available for you. Because I have died for your sins. I have died for your betrayal. I endured the punishment of sins once and for all at the cross. So that if you confessed your sins and repented of your sins, I can look at you in the eyes and say, I’ll use your failure for my purpose.” Peter met the God of another chance.
The biggest challenge when we fail God is to not look to ourselves but to look to Jesus. The enemy does not want us to look to Jesus. He wants us to be consumed with our shame and unworthiness. He whispers to our head that we do not deserve Christ’s love. Many of us are in church today because we try to keep the ‘Christians’ image while our hearts are far from Jesus because of our shame. The good news is that the same Jesus who came to Peter, comes to all of us in our worst moment of shame. Jesus brings us the good news of the gospel. How do you know if you truly understand the gospel? It is simple. If you understand the gospel, you don’t try to hide your sins. You don’t try to hide from God when you blow it up. Moral people hide from God when they sin but gospel people run to God when they sin. Gospel people know that their God is ever-ready to forgive them and restore them. The knowledge of our sins does not push us away from the grace of God but push us deeper into the grace of God.
One of the hardest thing about Christianity is to embrace the free, unmerited grace of God. You cannot earn this grace. You cannot prove yourself to be good enough to receive this grace. This grace is only given to the failures who know that there is nothing they can do to deserve this grace. It is only when you know that you do not deserve this grace that you are qualified to receive God’s grace. Jesus is only willing to make one trade. Your sin for his righteousness. That’s it. He will not make any other trade. Jesus is saying to every failures in this place, “Bring me your failures and I will give you my righteousness.” This is the gospel.
Coach Price looked at the team and said, “The same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started to walk out, all but Riegels. He did not budge. The coach looked back and called to him again; still he didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.” Then Roy Riegels looked up and his cheeks were wet with a strong man’s tears. “Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it to save my life. I’ve ruined you, I’ve ruined the University of California, I’ve ruined myself. I couldn’t face that crowd in the stadium to save my life.” Then Coach Price reached out and put his hand on Riegel’s shoulder and said to him: “Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over.” And Roy Riegels went back, and those Tech men will tell you that they have never seen a man play football as Roy Riegels played that second half.
We have a Heavenly coach who told us the same thing. “You might have failed, but the game is only half over. I’m going to give you a second chance.” It might seems to Peter that he could do nothing right. He always messed up. Even today he is used in sermon as an ultimate example of who we should not be. But yet out of all disciples, God chose Peter to be the primary spokesman on the day of Pentecost. 3000 people were saved with his first sermon. It was Peter that God chose to be the very first preacher to the gentiles. It was the same Peter, who could do nothing right, that God appointed to be the head of the early church. And it was the same Peter that died for the sake of Christ. My friends, I do not know the details of your story but tonight I come to preach to you the good news of the gospel. If you put your faith in Jesus, then all the condemnation for your failures already went to Jesus. All that is left for you is grace. It does not matter who you are and what you have done, today there is an invitation from the almighty gracious God, “Come and have breakfast.” Tonight, God is offering you a second chance. But you might say, “Yos, I’ve blown my second chance.” The good news of the gospel is that God is not only the God of second chance, but he is also the God of third, fourth, and fifth chance. He is the God of another chance. Come to him.
- The church is not a social club for good people but hospital for the sick. How does this statement affect our perspective on how we do church and small groups?
- What is amazing about the fact that John wrote John chapter 21? What does it tell us about Jesus’ heart?
- Why did Peter jump off the boat and swim to the shore? What does it tell us about Peter’s character? Can you see the same resemblance in your life? Share it with others.
- Is there any significance in the way John used the word “Agapao” and “Phileo”? (This is not in the sermon but it is in the script. Take time to explain it to your MC members. For John, these two words carry the same meaning and usage. If you are still not clear, discuss it with Yosia.)
- What is true repentance and how is it different from self-pity? Use daily life examples.
- What is GRACE? (ask people in your group on what they think grace is before giving your answer).
- How does the gospel enable us to run to God instead of run from God when we sin?