Guys, what’s up?
Derek here from BOM Socks with more BOM Bites, where we feast upon the words of Christ one bite at a time.
So I want to take you in the John 21 today.
And as I’ve been studying John 21, and I’ve been trying to dissect this and figure out how I’m going to teach it, I’ve been looking at my interpretation of it. And then I find myself being drawn to a wonderful conference talk from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland back in October 2012. And it was called The First Great Commandment, where he teaches this chapter so masterfully. And as I’m sitting here thinking about this going, Okay, would I rather have me give my interpretation or do I defer to a special witness of Jesus Christ? I know what I would choose. I’m going to defer to Elder Holland. This might take a little bit longer than we normally take, but I promise it will be a really good one. In fact, there’s a wonderful member of the church who already put this together with some nice music. And so I’m going to defer to that. If you’re listening to this on our podcast, you can go ahead to the YouTube channel and just watch this, or you can listen.
But I think you appreciate the message from Elder Holland about what is taught in John 21. And I love this. So go ahead and watch this.
There is almost no group in history for whom I have more sympathy than I have for the 11 remaining Apostles immediately following the death of the Savior of the world. I think we sometimes forget just how inexperienced they still were and how totally dependent upon Jesus they had of necessity been. Of them, he had said, Have I been so long time with you, and yet, hast thou not known me? But of course, to them, he hadn’t been with them nearly long enough. After such a short time to learn and even less time to prepare, the unthinkable happened. The unbelievable was true. Their Lord and Master, their counselor and King, was crucified. His mortal ministry was over, and the struggling little Church he had established seemed doomed to scorn and destined for extinction. Children, have you caught anything? Cast the net on the right side of the ship and you shall find. The stranger calls out, and with those simple words, recognition begins to flood over them. Just three years earlier, these very men had been fishing on this very sea. On that occasion, too, they had toileded all the night and had taken nothing, the Scripture says.
But a fellow Galilean on the shore that day had called out to them to let down their nets. And they drew a great multitude of fishes enough that their nets broke, the catch filling two boats so heavily they had begun to sink. Now it was happening again. These children, as they were rightly called, eagerly lowered their net, and they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. John said the obvious, It is the Lord. And over the edge of the boat, the irrepressible Peter leaped. After a joyful reunion with the resurrected Jesus, Peter had an exchange with the Savior that I consider the crucial turning point of the Apostolic Ministry generally and certainly for Peter personally. Moving this great rock of a man to a majestic life of devoted service and leadership. Jesus said, Peter, do you love me more than you love all this? Peter said, Ye Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. The Savior responds to that reply, but continues to look into the eyes of his disciple and says again, Peter, do you love me? Undoubtedly confused a bit by the repetition of the question, the great fisherman answers a second time.
Yay, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.
Did I not see thee in the garden? I do not know this man.
Of whom you speak. The Savior, again, gives a brief response, but with relentless scrutiny, He asks for the third time, Peter, do you love me? And by now, Peter surely must be feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps there is in his heart the memory of only a few days earlier when he had been asked another question three times, and he had answered equally emphatically but in the negative. Whatever his feelings, Peter said, for the third time, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. To which Jesus responded, and here again, I acknowledge my non scriptural elaboration. Jesus responded, perhaps saying something like, Then, Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then, and isn’t it obvious now, that if I want fish, I can get fish. What I need, Peter, are disciples, and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me and loves what our Father in heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message.
It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless. It is not hopeless. It is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go and teach and testify. You labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me. Then turning to all the Apostles, he might well have said something like, Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and the pharisees as Herod and the pilot were? Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the nails and the tomb were the end of it all? And each could blissfully go back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and my love touch your hearts more deeply than this? My beloved brothers and sisters, I’m not certain just what our experience will be on judgment day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter.
Did you love me? I think he will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment? The first and greatest commandment of them all. Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind. And if at such a moment we can stamina out, Ye Lord, thou knowest that I love thee, then he may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty. If you love me, keep my commandments, Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The crucifixion, atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it.
It was this truth, this reality that allowed a handful of Galilean fisherman turned again, Apostles who without a single synagogue or sword went on to shape the history of the world in which we now live. To all within the sound of my voice in this conference broadcast, the voice of Christ comes ringing down through the halls of time, asking each one of us, while there is time, do you love me? And for every one of us, I answer with my honor and my soul, Yay, Lord, we do love thee. And having set our hand to the plow, we will never look back until this work is finished. And love of God and neighbor rules the world.
I love that message and the encouragement that it provides for me to be able to be a disciple of Jesus Christ forever, not to go back to fishing. It seems to me that whenever these guys are fishing and Jesus isn’t there, they’re horrible fishermen. When Jesus is with you, he’s going to make you better. And so that idea of just becoming his disciple forever and staying with him and doing what he’s asked to do. I love this message and I am grateful for it and I know that it’s true. Thanks so much for watching. Thanks for subscribing. Thanks as always for sharing these messages. We love that you do that. And check out our amazingly comfortable gospel theme socks at bombsocks. Com. Have a great day and we’ll see you tomorrow. Godspeed. Bye. Bye.