Overcome Self-Pity

In John 21, Jesus comes back from death and invites the disciples to breakfast. They had all recently failed him. They scattered out of fear before the crucifixion. They had returned back to the mundane after the crucifixion, even though they spent three years in ministry training, witnessing the majestic. 

But what I love so much about John 21 is that Jesus never mentions any of that…He simply invites them back to the table when He returns. He prepares food for them and then invites them back to a place of intimacy and provision. He invites them back to the place for proximity. He invites them back to family. After breakfast, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” …and then proceeds to give Peter his next assignment. 

Isn’t it just like Jesus to give you another assignment after failure? Isn’t it just like Jesus to refuse to allow you to default back to the mediocrity of your old life? 

I failed marriage and I failed fatherhood—BUT GOD. He keeps inviting me back to the table. He keeps giving me new assignments. He keeps honoring me while I become what He’s honoring in faith. I don’t know who this is for, but Jesus always makes it harder for us to go back to the life we left to follow Him. The best is waiting for you at the table. Come eat.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 

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. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 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. 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. 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.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 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. 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.

(John 21:1-13)

Do you love me? FEED MY SHEEP. 

Jesus is putting something on display. He is feeding them breakfast. Jesus is inviting them to the table….and asking that they now invite others to the table. When Jesus appeared they didn’t recognize it was Jesus, but they obeyed… 

Peter and the disciples were going to be sent out to groups of people that would not know Jesus, but will obey and respond to the call. 

Jesus is inviting us back to the table with him…. 

But He is also asking us: will you continue to invite people back to YOUR table when they reject you? When they gossip about you? When they hurt you?

Peter, if you love me, love people the way I love you.

The disciples may not have listened to a carpenter tell them how to be fishermen. Sometimes we have our own mind made up. We are so secure in how WE do things, in how WE do ministry, but if we will be fishermen who are willing to listen to a carpenter, and put our nets down on the other side, we will have more than we can contain.

Jesus is always inviting us to the table. He keeps inviting us back. 

Jesus intentionally did not mention to Peter his failure. As a matter of fact, previously, He sent an angel messenger to tell His disciples and ALSO tell Peter, I am risen! In other words, look Peter right in the eyes and say, “Peter, your ministry isn’t over, it’s just getting started!” Jesus is risen!!

Breakfast is a ritual. Jesus invited Peter back to the ritual.

Sometimes, we are too busy striving to honor the ritual, too busy trying to make it happen for ourselves that we forgot the ritual. You’re not too busy for church…you’re striving too much to stop for the ritual. 

Working hard without Jesus hardly works. Obedience to Jesus always carries bigger results than hard work without obedience.  

Self pity occurs when we are more concerned with what we think we should have than what God already gave us. 

Self pity occurs when we are more concerned with what we want to do than the mission right in front of us. 

Self pity is a barrier to progress. It’s easier to return back to something familiar, to mediocrity. To go back to breakfast and miss the ritual.  But you can’t even be good at your old life. You old life doesn’t satisfy. 

JESUS in His mercy comes TO YOU. 

Even when JESUS is attempting to save you, you won’t be able to recognize its HIM DOING IT. Jesus is trying to use CHURCH and PASTORS but you can’t recognize HIM.

The disciples couldn’t recognize Jesus, but they obeyed. Sometimes you can’t tell it’s Jesus, but you still need to OBEY.

How do you get freedom from self pity?

BE WILLING TO TRY SOMETHING A DIFFERENT WAY. GO BACK TO THE TABLE.

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