Surprised by His Question

May 16, 2021   /   Palms Baptist Church

Rogers Cadenhead is a domain hoarder. He registers domains he thinks might become valuable in hopes of selling them in the future. In 2005, he registered the name, “” When asked what he would sell the domain name for, Cadenhead asked for “one of those hats, a free stay at the Vatican hotel and complete absolution, no questions asked, for the third week of March 1987.”

Kind of makes you wonder, what happened on the third week of March, 1987, doesn’t it? Do you have a period of time you wish you could just wipe out? What we need is not just absolution, it’s restoration.


  • Mark 14:23-31, Jesus said all would fall away on account of him. Though Peter said he would never deny Jesus, Jesus said he would do exactly that three times before the rooster crowed. Peter boastfully said that even if he ha to die with Jesus, he would “never’ disown him.
  • Luke 22:31-32, Jesus said that Satan had asked to sift Peter like wheat. Jesus aid he prayed for Peter.
  • John 18:18, While hovering over a charcoal fire, Peter denied Jesus.
  • Luke 22:60, at the moment of the last denial, Jesus looked straight at Peter.
  • Luke 22:62, Peter went out and wept bitterly.

This passage is not so much about the question, “Does Jesus forgive?” Jesus forgave Peter the moment he went out and kept. At that campfire in John 21, Jesus would go beyond forgiving Peter and walk him through a process of Restoration.

Does Peter’s journey resemble yours? Maybe you lost some battles with the sinful nature. Maybe you failed Jesus. And while you were broken by the sin, you mourned over it and asked God forgive you; no one told you there is more to what God does. He “restores our soul.” (Psalm 23:3)

How does Jesus Restore us?

John 21:1: The sea of Galilee is also called the sea of Tiberis, sea of Gennsaret or the lake of Kinneret.

John 21:5: Jesus asks literally, “have you any food?” (verses have you any fish.)

John 21:6: His command to cast their net on the “right” side has stirred lots of debate. It probably simply means that the nets were currently on the left, so he was telling them to switch sides.

John 21:7: Peter was “goomnos”, naked. That is, he was stripped down for work. He “Ballo” cast himself into the sea.

1. He restores us with: (John 21:9-14)

  • God will orchestrate the perfect moments to speak to the heart.
  • John 21:9, they come to land and Jesus has lit a “charcoal” fire. (See John 18:18, Peter denied Jesus at a charcoal fire.)
  • John 21:11: Why 153 fish? Some suggest this represents all the known types of fish at the time. So the sea represents the world, the dragnet the Gospel and the fish all mankind. However, there is no evidence from that era that people actually believed there were 153 types of fish.
  • The fish, the fire, the meal were all set up by Jesus to move Peter’s heart.

2. He restores us with: (John 21:15-17)

  • God restores us with gentle wounding.

3. He restores us with: (John 21:15, 16, 17)

  • He gives us tasks inside his fold.
  • Easy to love Jesus. But we cannot love God and hate people. (1 John 4:20)
  • John 21:9: Jesus tells Peter to follow him. He is moving Peter form being an observer in the ministry to getting his hands dirty.
  • The last generation asked, “What’s in it for me?” This generation is asking: What’s in it for me?

4. He restores us with: (John 21:11)

  • God will give us strength to accomplish his assignments.
  • John 21:11: The 153 fish certainly express that Jesus will give them success beyond their human power. That the nets don’t break is a miraculous way of showing them that he will sustain them as they minister.

5. He restores us with: (John 21:18-19)

  • Jesus is transparent about suffering.
  • John 21:18: To stretch out one’s hands is a euphemism of crucifixion.
  • Eusebuis cites Clement who reported that Peter died by crucifixion after watching his wife die. Peter said he was not worthy to die like Jesus, so hew as crucified on an X shaped cross head first (upside down.)
  • John 21:19: Peter is told by a man with nail marks in his hand to follow him.
  • The danger modern Christianity is that it can make converts without clearly communicating that following Jesus comes with suffering.

6. He restores us with: (John 21:20-22)

  • He keeps turning our face back to Him.
  • To follow Jesus means I trust him.
  • John 21:21: Jesus doesn’t play fair. He’s not worried about fair. He focused on accomplishing His will.


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