Gentle Shepherd, Loving Savior

Gospel of John #54: an exposition of John 21:1-19. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, March 4, 2012.

What images come to your mind when you picture the Lord Jesus?  He is history’s greatest figure.  The most unique individual to ever walk the earth.  All of history turns on His person.  More has been written about Him than about any other figure in the history of the world.  Great men have pledged their lives and fortunes to Him.  Men have turned their backs on wealth and fame in order to follow Him.  Followers have died the deaths of martyrs out of devotion to Him.  Yet, for history’s greatest character there remains a great deal of misunderstanding and misinformation.

When you think of Jesus – what do you think about?  How do you picture Him?  I guess I’m asking you what Jesus asked his disciples when He said, “Who do you say that I am?”  To some He is the “cosmic kill-joy” robbing life of it’s fun and pleasure.  To others He is a stern and unyielding judge.  Some consider Him a good moral teacher.  Some consider him a misguided lunatic!  Even within the church you get mixed signals concerning His temperament and His person.

As we explore this question there is but one reliable source – the Word of God.  The Scripture is the only place we can find a trustworthy and reliable information for our consideration.

We find ourselves in that period of time following the resurrection and preceding His ascension.  Jesus has appeared to His followers at various times and places.  Without warning He would suddenly be in their midst.  The disciples where both excited and confused.  On the one hand they were overjoyed that the crucified one was alive.  They saw Him with their own eyes.  They heard Him with their own ears – there was no question in their mind or heart.  But they still were not sure what to make of it.  They still did not know how this all fit together.  It was a time of restlessness.

Our text this morning is found in John’s Gospel chapter 21.

Text: John 21:1-19

This final chapter in John’s Gospel serves as a postscript.  John told us in chapter 20 why he had written.  “There are other signs Jesus performed that are not written here.  These are written that you may know that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that you may have life by believing in him.”  John has already provided proof of the resurrection.  The purpose of this chapter is not to prove the resurrection but to reveal something of the Risen One.

21:1 serves as the key to the chapter.

“After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.”

John, in repeating the word “showed” in verse one indicates that this is the emphasis or point of the chapter.  Jesus is manifesting himself.  The word means to “make known” to “expose” or to “reveal.”  Also implied in the language John uses is the fact that this is an intentional act on His part.  Jesus did what He did in order to reveal something specific to the disciples.  This is an intentional revelation design to reveal something about the character and the heart of the Lord Jesus.

Thesis: The Risen Lord reveals Himself as the gentle Shepherd and the loving Savior.

Jesus had said back in John 10 that He was the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep.  He said that no one takes His life but that He lays it down.  He also said – if He laid it down He would take it up again.  The resurrection proved that Jesus is Lord even over death and the grave.  He is the conqueror and king.  But He specifically reveals His gentleness and love in our text.

There are two things I want you to note in our text.

  1. I.  The Risen Lord demonstrates His devotion to His own by thoughtfully, lovingly, meeting their needs.  (21:1-14)
  2. II.  The Risen Lord demonstrates His heart for the world in commissioning His own to love and service.  (21:15-19)

Jesus came to the shores of Galilee that day with an agenda.  He came to reveals some important facts about himself.  He came to reveal His loving, tender provision for His own and His love for the world in His challenge to Peter.

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