Peace & Purpose
John 20:19-21:11 – The Ministry of Jesus in Times of Trouble
Philadelphia sanitation workers went on strike once upon a time.
There was nowhere to take the trash, so they put a megaton of trash on a huge ship. But there was still one problem: Where to take it. They couldn’t pay a nation or a port or a neighboring state, so it just became toxic and floated around from port to port.
Sometimes life happens, and our lives get filled up with junk, trash, and burdens. We carry it around with nowhere to put it and no way to get rid of it.
In one of our favorite verses Jesus says, “you can come to me weak and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” I’ll trade your burden, your trial, your worry, for my peace, purpose, and blessing.”
Today I want to share with you what Jesus does for His children when their lives bottom out.
How Does Jesus Help in Times of Trouble?
- Jesus Offers Us Peace (20:19-21, 26).
Unique to John’s account, we have Jesus appearing to the disciples and each time (3 times) telling them “Peace be with you.”
Why record this?
→ He is scaring them. True, and possible.
→ He is greeting them. Strange to put “Hellos” in Scripture.
→ He is a hippie. No.
→ He is announcing Victory over the Kingdom of Darkness.
Peace (Shalom) is a word that summarizes the hope of Israel. Systemic, total, and complete peace. Not just inner peace (zen); not just outer peace – materialistic; not just a psychological peace (self-confidence). Peace in all those and our peace with God. That was the peace that was lost in the garden and that is what mankind is always searching to get. But it’s been lost, and don’t you and I know it?
It is Finished (19.30). Well, what is finished? The work of canceling the curse of your peaceless-ness. Jesus puts death to death. Destroys the works of the devil, and pays the penalty for your sin, if you’ll believe. He crucifies with himself all the threats of your peace.
Jesus asks, “Do you doubt my Work? Look at my hands and side. They’ve sealed your pardon and reconciliation. Justice has been satisfied. And so you can be whole, be healed, have peace.”
Brother or sister, you’ll have trouble, but He’s left for us his peace. Peace doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. It means that your problems won’t have you. What’s the world got to offer you? Haven’t you had enough of jealousy, envy, bitterness, fear, and anxiety? Life is too short to wander and wonder, restless, sad, confused, selfish, bitter, and angry.
Listen to the words of our Christ to the disciples. His first ministry to us in times of trouble is the word he gave to the raging storm. Hear me say them to you and your trouble: “Peace. Be still.”
Not just Peace, Jesus also Offers Us Purpose (20:21-23, 21:1-11).
Vs 21 (read) → As the Father has sent me…what does that mean? “As,” well, then, how was Jesus sent?
Sent to be Heaven’s Ambassador
→ Jesus was sent by the Father to be Heaven’s Ambassador. John 1:18, no on has seen God at any time, but the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has explained him. He is The Divine Ambassador.
→ We (the church), likewise, are to be Heavens’ Ambassador. We are the “body” of Jesus. We represent Christ in the flesh, as Jesus was God in flesh, to glorify and do the work of God on the earth (2 Cor 5:20 – ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us).
The atheist will tell you that you are a collision of chance molecules trying to survive. The Gospel reminds us that every moment of your existence is divine imagery on the earth. The way you interact with the lady at the grocery store and the way you handle yourself at red lights all matter. You are ambassadors of Christ Almighty, the judge of the Living and the Dead. You aren’t put on earth to eat, drink, and be merry. You are not cosmic trash. You are sent as an ambassador of heaven among men.
Some people will say you’re from a small town. You don’t matter.
Some people will say you come from a nasty family. You don’t matter.
Some people will say you have an awful past. You have no future.
Jesus says, you are my family and a representative of the High King of Heaven. What you do here as my representative has an impact on my coming Kingdom.
Sent to be a Fisher of Men
→ Jesus was sent to “seek and save that which was lost” (Mk 10.45). Jesus wasn’t just walking around living a good life, trying to not offend everyone and have a nice time. Unfortunately that is the view among a whole lot of middle class Christianity. All about the Good life. That’s not how Jesus was sent. He came to reconcile people to God, no matter what the cost. That is what his scars are for.
→ Friends, we’re here to take up where Jesus left off. It does not say, “My power (Acts 1.8) is going to come upon you and you’re going to be ‘nice people’ to the ends of the earth. You’re going to be ‘decent citizens’ to the ends of the earth. It says, “You will be my witnesses. You used to catch trout, Peter. But from now on, you will be catching men.”
That’s partly what the fishing scene is about 21:1-11. It’s a visual aid, a reminder, of what Jesus has put you here to do.
153 fish is just a detail, but a huge haul. Some people speculate that it is 153 different types of fish in the Sea of Tiberius, and Jesus gets all of them from every tongue, tribe, and nation.
Isn’t Jesus worth it? Isn’t his glory worthy of a phone call to someone you know needs to be in church? Isn’t Christ’s majesty worth a week of VBS? A door to door visit? A trip to Nicaragua? Doesn’t he deserve to be known shore to shore? Let the people’s praise, let all the peoples praise him, let the nations be glad and sing for all those sitting in the land of the shadow of death. Upon them a light has dawned.” You are called and you have also been sent.
The Order of Peace and Purpose
Your purpose is not to make your peace. (i.e. Jehovah’s Witness/ Islam / Religion)
You will not find peace in your purpose. (Zen Buddism / Relativism)
Jesus says. “I have made your peace, now you have a purpose.”
Jesus will redeem, transform, and sanctify you, but you have to come to him.
Dr. Ben Stubblefield is the Pastor of of FBC Jackson in Jackson, AL, and graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Auburn University.