In this message, we learn that Jesus came to us and did the unexpected.
Easter, it’s the story of the unexpected. It’s when Jesus came to our mess and our failures and our brokenness and literally did the unexpected. Easter is when God loved us when we least deserved it and least expected it.
And my hope and my prayer for you all week is that you would literally experience the unexpected today, that you would see His love on display. And so I want to go ahead and welcome everybody to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you’re here with us this Easter. I want to give a special welcome to our Denton campus and all of those of you who are in the venue. And whether this is your first time here or you haven’t been in a while or maybe you’ve left and you’ve just come back or maybe you’re here with us every week, and it really doesn’t matter. I’m so glad you’re here with us to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And I want to start by asking you this simple question, like what do you expect in your life when you mess up? Like how do you expect other people to respond to you when you’ve messed up or you have failures or you have brokenness in your life? How do you expect other people to respond? I think most of us, we expect the worst from other people because we’ve experienced the worst from people.
In fact, in my life, I was thinking about this week, some of the different messes and failures I’ve had in my life and how people responded to me. And I’ll never forget the first time I baptized somebody. It was actually in these church years ago and man, I was so nervous to baptize this guy. And we get into the water and there’s a big crowd. My heart is beating fast, my hands are shaking, my voice is quivering and I’m already tall and he’s like another foot taller than me, which makes it even harder to baptize somebody. And we’re in the water and I’m so nervous. I just want to get it over with. And so I’m going through the deal and I say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son,” and my mind totally froze. And I couldn’t remember the Holy Spirit. And so I totally forgot it. I just said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son.” And I put in him in the water, but because he was so tall, I didn’t get his head all the way under. So we got to about here. And I kind of panicked and brought him back up. And I remember being so embarrassed and I was harassed by everyone that was there for weeks and months. I’m still harassed to this day.
And I feel really bad for that guy because did his baptism count. I’m just saying, he didn’t get the Holy Spirit and he didn’t go all the way under the water. And so if that’s you and you’re here, man, I’m really sorry. Or I remember the time being in AP calculus in high school. Students, you’ll appreciate this. I walked in one day and I forgot to study for the test. And so I’m sitting there looking at these calculus problems and I can’t do them. And what do you do when you don’t know the answers to the test, you look at the smartest girl in class’ paper sitting right here next to you. And so you figure out the little rhythm. You know, you look at the teacher and make sure she is looking down. Boom, look at her paper back. You know, look at the teacher and look at her paper, boom. I mean, you’ve got to be fast. You know, you got to keep your eyes moving at all times. Well, I’m getting these good answers from this girl right here and you know, you’re getting a little bit more bold. And so you’re kind of doing now like one of these deals. And I’ll never forget looking up and seeing Mrs. Petrozino’s [phonetic] eyes staring right back at mine. I quickly looked back down. She is not coming. She is not coming. She is not coming. Click, click, click, click, click. Grabs my paper, rips it up right in front of me. And that was a bomber. That was a bad day.
Or the time that my dad had two brand new jet skis. I grew up on the Niagara River. Two brand new jet skis, they weren’t even a month old. And me and my best friend went out and we were ripping around and he zigged when I thought he was going to zag and I T-boned him and totaled the two brand new jet skis. I mean, I could still hear the sound of the plastic just shattering in my mind. It was an awful moment, totaled both of them. And as we’re flowing back to our dock, my dad sitting on the dock and let’s just say I wanted to flow right past my dock and go to somebody else’s dock because I didn’t want to go home and I had to work the rest of the summer to pay those off. Or the time I was probably about ten years old and my friends spent the night and it was Halloween and he talked me into lighting my neighbor’s pumpkins on fire. Okay. Now, here was the problem, I was the only like ten-year-old in our entire block. So wisdom would have said, at least go three houses down to light pumpkins on fire, not your exact next door neighbor’s. That’s the guaranteed way of getting caught.
So we had a great time lighting pumpkins on fire until the next morning when the doorbell rang and it was my neighbor and I heard him talking to my dad and let’s just say within five minutes, I was over there sobbing, cleaning up the pumpkins, apologizing profusely. Or one more, so the story goes, my mom tells me that when I was a kid, I went into her makeup drawer and got her nail polish and took her nail polish. And ladies, you know it’s never good when kids get nail polish. And I took her nail polish and wrote all the way down the hallways of the upstairs, Johnny was here all over, over and over again, Johnny was here. And then I put it back and went into my room. And a little while later when she saw it and she called me, “Johnny get in here.” I come in and she said, “What did you do?” And I said, “I didn’t do that.” “You didn’t do this?” I said, “No, I didn’t do that.” You mean to tell me someone else in our home wrote “Johnny was here”? I said, “Yeah. I didn’t do it.” And I ended up with a red behind.
And still to this day, I think my one-year-old sister set me up. I’m just saying I was framed on that deal. You can’t prove it. And I tell you those silly stories of messes and failures in my life and I bet you have some of your own. Some of which are humorous, some of which are probably painful. And based on how other people have responded to you, we’ve been conditioned. We’ve been conditioned to be ashamed. We’ve been conditioned to be afraid. We’ve been conditioned to hide, to pay for our mistakes based on how other people have respond to our messes, it’s conditioned us to have an expectation of what they’re going to do. And so in a sense, it’s your past experiences that create your present expectations. The past experiences of how people have responded to your messes and failures create your present expectations of how you believe people will respond. And we take those negative expectations and we apply them to God. But the truth is is that God doesn’t respond to our failures the way we expect Him to, he responds to our failures with the unexpected.
And so if you’ve got a Bible, flip over with me quick to John 21. John Chapter 21, if you don’t have one, that’s okay. I’m going to put the verses up here for you on the screen in a second. John 21, I think this is a great story that shows us the relevancy of the cross and the resurrection. See, it’s Easter and we gather together around at Easter time and to celebrate the cross and the resurrection, but sometimes we’re like, Man, it’s a 2000-year old story. What does it really have to do with my life? Well, I think this passage shows us the relevancy or the result of what happened on the cross and the empty tomb, the resurrection of Jesus. And so to set the stage of the story for you, Jesus had 12 disciples. One of those disciples, his name was Peter. And right before Jesus goes to the cross to die, he looks at the 12 and he says, “Hey, guys. You’re all going to deny me.” He says, “I’m going to go and die and every one of you is going to deny me.” You’re going to betray me. And Peter very quickly steps forward and raises his hands, “Not me, Lord. Not me.” Even if everyone else denies you, even if they all betray you, not me, Jesus. I will even die with you.
And Jesus looks at Peter and says, “Oh Peter.” He says, “Even on this very day, you’re going to deny me three times before the rooster crows.” And what happens, Peter denies Jesus that very day, three times and nonetheless to a servant girl. And you know how the deal is. Sometimes it’s like the harder you try, the worse you fail. And that’s Peter. And Jesus goes to the cross, he ends up in the grave. And so here we find Peter. He is hopeless. He is defeated. He is discouraged. He’s mad at himself and we all know that feeling. You’ve messed up. You failed and you’re mad at yourself and you feel hopeless in a sense that nothing can change because of what you have done. So that’s the set-up. So look with me starting in verse 1, it says, “Afterward, after all that, the resurrected Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the sea of Tiberius or the sea of Galilee.” It happened this way, Simon, Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, the sons of Zebedee and two other disciples were together.
I’m going out fishing Simon Peter told them. And they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night, they caught nothing. Early in the morning, the resurrected Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. They didn’t know that it was Him. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you’ll find some.” When they did, they were unable to hold the net in because of the large number of fish then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” As soon Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him before he had taken it off and he jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat towing the net full of fish for they were not far from shore, about 100 yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have caught.” Simon, Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153. But even with so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you, Lord.” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took bread and gave it to them and did the same with the fish. Okay. You want to talk about the unexpected. This entire story is the story of the unexpected. I mean, Peter fails miserably three times, denies Jesus to a servant girl. And what do you do when you fail? You go fishing, of course. Isn’t that what you do? Go fishing. You go to wherever you find comfort. Peter found comfort in fishing. That’s why he went fishing. Where do you find comfort? Maybe it’s in your job or in a relationship. Maybe it’s in an activity or a hobby. Maybe it’s in a substance or the Internet. It don’t really matter. When we fail, we go to something that makes us feel comfortable. We go to a place where we can find comfort. For Peter, that was fishing. And we realized very quickly that Peter wasn’t a very good fisherman. I mean, he spent all night fishing and he doesn’t even catch a single fish.
But I don’t think Peter was really focused on fishing that night. I think that night, the wheel of failure was playing over and over and over and over and over again in his mind. And so he don’t catch any fish and it’s early in the morning and the resurrected Jesus comes walking down the shore, but they don’t realize it’s Jesus. And here is what I want you to see, is that Jesus comes to Peter. He doesn’t make Peter come to Him. Jesus shows up on the shore, the Sea of Galilee and shows up in Peter’s life. He comes to him. He doesn’t go and hide somewhere and make Peter come and find him. He doesn’t wait a long time and make Peter sweat it out. Jesus comes to Peter before he does anything right and he comes to Peter even after he is done everything wrong. See, if you remember the story, the first time Jesus and Peter ever meet, it’s just like this, Peter is on the shore, the Sea of Galilee and he’s fishing and here comes Jesus. Peter hasn’t done anything right yet. He hasn’t done anything good, anything worthy to be called by Jesus. But Jesus comes walking on the shore and looks at Peter, “Hey, Peter. Come follow me and I’ll make you a fisher of men.”
In other words, you didn’t choose me. I chose you. Before he did anything right, Jesus came to him. And now, after he has done everything wrong, Jesus comes to him. And the same is true for you. Before you do anything good in your life, Jesus comes to you and even after you have done everything wrong, He comes to you. Now, I don’t know about you but when someone hurts me or disappoints me in some way, I don’t go to them, I expect them to come to me. Like if you hurt me, I’m going to create space between you and me. I’m going to pull away and expect you to come and apologize to me. Like when my wife, Colleen, if she does something that hurts me, I’ll very quickly create distance. I’ll separate. I’ll pull back and I’ll just wait and expect that she is going to figure out that she was wrong and that she is going to come and apologize to me. And like two days go by and she hasn’t apologize and I’m getting more frustrated by the moment that she hasn’t. So finally, I’ll just blurt out, “Are you going to apologize to me or what?” And she’ll just kind of look at me and be like, “Apologize to you for what? What are you talking about?”
And the problem is, it’s two days have gone by, I can’t even remember why I’m mad. And so I look at her, I say, “I don’t know, but like two days ago, you were wrong. You should apologize to me.” And somehow in the deal, I end up having to apologize to her. You know what I’m talking about, guys? Come on. I mean, somehow it don’t work out all that well in the end. I expect her to come to me. But Jesus comes to us. Luke 19:10, for the son of man came to seek and save that which is lost. He comes to us with eyes of love, hands of grace and words of life. You see, every one of us, we’re all playing a game of hide and seek with God. And you would probably agree to that. Only here is what we think. We think God is hiding and we’re seeking and we’ve got to spend most of our lives looking for this elusive mysterious God that’s incredibly good at hiding and He’s so hard to find. And so we’re spending our lives trying to seek Him and find Him. But the truth is, we’re hiding and God is seeking and we’re not very good at hiding and He’s really good at seeking.
Like Adam and Eve. Think about it for a second. First time anybody sins and they take the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve, they run and they hide. And God starts the first game of hide and seek ever in recorded history. And He comes walking through the garden, “Adam, where are you?” How about Moses? Moses kills a man in his anger. And because he’s afraid of the consequences, he runs off into the desert and he goes and he hides as a shepherd. And God comes seeking Moses in a burning bush, “Moses, where are you?” How about King David. He takes another man’s wife, sleeps with her, has him killed and he runs into his palace and he’s hiding out in the palace and God comes and He seeks David through the prophet, Nathan, “David, where are you?” How about you? Maybe there’s a mess or a failure or brokenness in your life and you’ve run off and hid. You’re hiding in your job or your activities or your kids or your money or your car. Whatever it may be, we’re hiding and God is walking through your life saying, “Hey, where are you?”
Like some of you don’t even know why you’re here today. You just came to appease that person that invited you. But you’re here today because Jesus has come to you. And here is the deal, we’re really bad at hiding. He is really good at seeking and He never loses. He never loses. And I love what Jesus does. He walks down the shore and He says to them, “Friends, have you caught any fish? Catch this.” He says friends. He doesn’t say, “hey, sinners losers.” He doesn’t say failures, frauds. He says friends. Why, because he wants to restore their identity. Their identify has fallen because of their failure and their brokenness. Now, they’re defined in their own minds by their sin and their shame. And he restores their identity by calling them, “Friends, haven’t you caught anything?” And they say no. He says, “Then throw your net over the right side of the boat and they do and they pull it in and it’s so full of fish that the net is full. It’s literally sinking the boat. They can’t even get all the fish into the boat.
And in that moment, God overwhelms them with His kindness. In fact, what Jesus really does in that moment is he implodes our belief that we get what we deserve. He destroys the belief that we get what we deserve. Most of us sitting in this room, we have a little religious root somewhere in our brain where we believe we get what we deserve. That if we do good things, we’ll get good things and if we do bad things, then we’ll get bad things. Like that’s how the world has treated us. We do good, they give us good. We do bad, they give us bad. And so our past experience creates our present expectations. And most of us know we haven’t done enough good to expect good from God and we have done enough bad to expect bad from God, so we just kind of create a sense of distance and we pull away. We believe we should get what we deserve. But can we all agree that in this moment, Peter did not deserve 153 fish. Anybody want to agree with that?
He did not deserve 153 fish. You know what Peter deserved? He deserved a hole in his boat. That’s what he deserved. I mean, the story could very easily read something like this. Jesus walking down the shore of the Sea of Galilee, hollers out to them, “Have you caught any fish?” And they say no. And He says, “And you’re not going to.” Snaps his finger and puts a hole in his boat and watches it just go down and we would [unintelligible] [0:19:23.4] yeah, Peter. Get what you deserve, man, a servant girl. Come on. No. Why, because just a few days earlier on the cross, Jesus got what Peter deserved so Peter could get what Jesus deserved. Jesus got–
We’re sort of excited about that. We’re not really sure. Jesus got what you deserved so you could get what He deserved. It’s no longer about what you do. It’s about what He has done. And your failures can never negate His love. And what I love — what Jesus does in this moment, He literally puts His love on display.
Like I think this is really cool. There’s a lot of things that God asks you to have faith for, but His love is not one of them. There’s a lot of things God expect us to have faith for. Faith, be insured of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see. But love is not one of them. His love, He puts on full display for all to see. Romans 5:8, God demonstrates his love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 1 John 3:16, this is how we know what love is that Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. 1 John 4:10, this is love. Not that we loved Him, but He loved us and sent his son as an intoning sacrifice for our sins. It is love He puts on display. He doesn’t expect us to have faith in it. He puts it on display for the world to see. And in this moment, He displays it for Peter with a net full of fish, how does he display it for you? Maybe it’s that job, maybe it’s provision, maybe it’s health, maybe it’s comfort, maybe it’s compassion, maybe it’s a new friend. I don’t know, but I promise you it’s in your life.
And so in this moment with this net full of fish, Peter’s eyes are open and he sees, he sees Jesus. He realizes it’s Jesus, jumps in the water and starts swimming to Jesus. Why, because it’s kindness, the Bible tell us, that leads us to repentance. It’s not judgment and shame and condemnation that changes our hearts, it’s God’s kindness that changes our hearts, that gives us a new way of looking at life. And he jumps in the water and he swims to Jesus and he gets to the shore and he comes out and he’s sopping wet and there is Jesus, and I’m sure there’s still a little bit of fear in Peter’s heart, like how was he going to respond. And what does Jesus do? He grabs Peter and he pulls him right into his presence. And they walk over and Jesus has got a little camp fire going and there’s already fish on it. See, Jesus doesn’t need Peter’s fish because He is the creator of fish. There’s already fish on the barbecue. And so he sits there and has little Texas style barbecue. I know it’s not really Texas, maybe it’s Louisiana. I don’t know. Fish for breakfast, whatever. But he’s got fish there and he sits down. And what does he do? He feeds Peter.
He takes care of his hunger and his thirst. Peter is satisfied in Jesus’s presence. We are satisfied in his presence. And in that moment over this little campfire and some fish, what Jesus is doing is he’s validating the three words he said on the cross. It is finished. He’s validated it. Three most significant words ever uttered in all of history, it is finished. Jesus is proving it because he performs his words. So in that moment as he’s sitting right there with Peter who has just failed miserably, he’s validating that there’s no more distance between man and God. He is validating there is no more shame between man and God. He’s validating there’s no more separation between man and God. He is validating, Hebrews 8:12, that I will forgive your wickedness and remember your sins no more. He’s validating, Psalm 103, that he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, but as far as the east is from the west, so far as he removed our transgressions from us, he’s validating it.
See, the sins that you can’t seem to forget are the ones that he can’t seem to remember. And so we’ve got to stop trying to pay for that which has already been paid for. I mean, the failure Peter can’t get out of his mind is very easily communicated to Peter that it’s the failure that Jesus just can’t seem to remember. And so the story goes on, I didn’t read it to you, but basically they go for a little walk, Jesus and Peter get them away from the rest of the disciples to spare his dignity. And three times, Jesus says to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” One for every time Peter denied Jesus to fully restore him, “Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep.” And what he does in that moment is he empowers Peter with purpose. He restores his purpose and entrusts him with the kingdom. No. Timeout. Would you respond to Peter that way? Come on. Would you respond to Peter that way? Are you — would you respond to Peter that way? I’m taking by your silence, you would.
Not in a million years. No one would respond to any — you wouldn’t entrust your entire kingdom to someone that just failed you to a servant girl, but Jesus does. He comes to Peter, puts his love on display, brings him into his presence, now empowers him with purpose and that’s the gospel. That’s the gospel. We say, what is the gospel? What is the message of Easter? The gospel is God coming to us and redeeming our identity, reconciling our relationship and restoring our purpose. That’s why the gospel is not just for Easter and getting saved, the forgiveness of sins. It’s for our entire way of life. And what I love about this story, if you can catch this, what I love the most about the whole thing is what Jesus doesn’t say and what Jesus doesn’t do. You have to notice that in the story, is nowhere in the story does Jesus bring out any guilt, there’s no shame, there’s no condemnation, there is no little speech of try harder, behave, better, you owe.
When Peter gets to the shore, Jesus isn’t standing on a little fishing crate like a soap box, preaching, pointing his finger with anger and judgment. Jesus doesn’t do all the things we expect in church. He does the unexpected. He puts love on display. See, I’m not sure what you expected when you came here today. If you’re not around here regularly, my guess would be that when you came in your heart, somewhere there’s the expectation of guilt and shame and judgment. Like most of us, we’ve been around, you know, long enough to know that most likely on Easter, you’re going to show up somewhere, you’re going to get in there and somebody is going to be hammering you, talking about, it was your sins that put Him on the cross and you — you know, He died for you, you need to live for Him and you should feel bad about yourself, all those kinds of things. We expect that. But what’s really sad is we already know the failure that’s in our own heart. Like most of us, we pull away from that because we already feel bad about ourselves.
And I don’t need you to remind me of my failures because they play just pretty freely on their own, in my own mind over and over and over again. So I don’t need you to make me feel worse about myself than I already feel. And so I think we walk in something like this today and we show up with an expectation of judgment but we come hoping for hope. And so maybe religion has got it wrong because when I read John 21, the aftermath of the cross and the resurrection where we now live, I don’t see Jesus using any of those tactics. I see him showing up putting love on display. That’s the power of the cross and the resurrection that no longer is it about shame, guilt and failure. It’s now about forgiveness, freedom and love. I mean that’s why the religious people were always so confused by Jesus because He was always doing the unexpected. Look, you watched that little video a minute ago like Jesus shows up and He gives vision to the blind man that everyone rejected. He goes to a woman at the well who’s been married five times, full of shame and condemnation.
Everybody knows her story and he gives her dignity. He goes to Zacchaeus, the tax collector’s house. No one likes tax collectors unless you’re getting a refund. And Zacchaeus didn’t give refunds. He ripped everybody off. Jesus goes to his house. He would touch lepers and play with children and was friends with sinners. He literally did the unexpected because Jesus came to put love on display not in forced religious rules, and there’s a big difference between the two, okay? Now–
A couple weeks ago in our home, it was like 7:00, it was a week night and everybody was getting ready for the next day. So everybody was in their nighttime routine. And my seven-year-old was in the kitchen and he was packing his lunch. And so he was doing what he was doing in the cupboard and I’m in another room doing whatever I’m doing. And I’m in the other room and all of a sudden, I hear this significant crash.
Like parents, you know the sound of this. Like some kind of significant glass just broke. You’re not sure what it is yet. But you know something bad just happened. And so, I come ripping around the corner into the kitchen. And here’s my seven-year-old standing at the cupboard, his eyes are this big, he looks at me and as he has reached in the cupboard to get his snack for the next day at lunch, he accidentally knocked over a glass jar that was about the size of a gallon of maple syrup. Now, the first question you should ask me is, why do we have a gallon of maple syrup in our cupboard. That is a question I cannot answer for you. I do not know. But it smashed on the ground and not only that, he knocked over a glass jar of coconut oil and that smashed all over. The second question you should ask me is, why do you have a glass jar of coconut oil in your cupboard. That I cannot answer for you as well.
And so it hit the ground and it didn’t break into like five big pieces of glass. You know, when glass like implodes and it’s the little shards like a million pieces that shoot like 50 yards in every direction. Okay, that’s what just happened. And my seven-year-old is looking at me and I said, “Don’t move, Trey [phonetic].” And so I run and get shoes and come back and I get him and I pick him up and bring him out and set him down and clean him up. “Are you okay?” He says, “Yeah. I’m okay.” I said, “Okay. Go and play. Let me try to clean this up.” And I come back over here and I look down at it. It’s a gallon of maple syrup, people. This isn’t like a spilled cup of milk or even a little bit of orange juice. It’s a gallon of maple syrup with coconut oil, it’s like an inch thick. What do you even do? I don’t know. And so I’m trying to figure out how to do it. I’m getting glass shards in my hand. The maple syrup is in my hair. It’s in my ear. It’s in my pocket. I mean, it’s all over me. I’m trying to figure out how to scoop it up in the buckets. And I’m going back and forth between the kitchen and the garage because that’s the only way I could figure out how to dispose it.
And every time I walk by, it sounds like this, Creak, creak, creak [phonetic], you know, because I got maple syrup. I mean it’s literally everywhere around me. And one of the times as I’m coming back from the garage to the kitchen, Creak, creak, creak [phonetic]. I look and here’s my seven-year-old and five-year-old and they’re watching a movie together laughing, having the time of their life. I give them a little one of these looks, you know, Creak, creak, creak [phonetic]. And I get back over here and I get back down to the maple syrup and I get on my knee to start cleaning it up and boom, it hits me. John 21 flashes through my mind and I call for my son, “Trey, come here.” He comes running around the corner. I think, you know, he’s afraid expecting something bad. And I look at him, I said, “Hey.” I said, “You know how you made this mess?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “And I’m cleaning it up.” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “And you’re sitting watching a movie, resting” and he said, “Yeah.”
I said, “That’s what Jesus does for us.” I said, “We make a mess that we can’t clean up and when we let Him in, He cleans us up. We get to sit and rest and He takes care of the mess.” And I watched the seven-year-old, light bulb go on for the simplicity of the gospel. See, if a seven-year-old would’ve tried to clean that up, he would’ve got glass shards in his hand. He would’ve got maple syrup all over, everything. I mean, the maple syrup would have been on the remote control. It would have been on the GI Joes. It would have been on his pillow. We would’ve found it in the car. It would’ve been at his desk at school. I mean, maple syrup would have been on everything in his life because it would’ve been stuck to him and he would’ve just got on everything. Okay. You understand? That’s Peter’s problem in John 21. There’s so much shame stuck all over Peter, that if he didn’t let Jesus clean it up, everything he touched from that point on for the rest of his life would’ve got the residue of shame stuck on it. Every relationship, every activity, everywhere he went because the mess was on him, it would’ve got stuck on everything else.
The same as true with us. If we don’t let Jesus clean up the mess, everything we touch gets the residue of maple syrup, of sin and shame stuck on it. Like our marriage and our kids, our finances, our hobbies, our house, our activities, what we do, what we believe, even our church life, all of it. Why, because the mess is in our heart and we can’t clean it up. And so long is the mess is there, everything you touch gets the residue on it. And so you sit there and wonder why is my marriage a mess, why is every relationship I’m in a mess, why is my finances a mess, why is my purpose a mess, because there’s a mess in your heart and everything you touch gets the mess on it. And Jesus is saying, “Hey, come to me. Call me, all you who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest. I’ll clean it up for you.” See, what I love about Jesus is he doesn’t pretend like it didn’t happen. He didn’t walk in the kitchen and be like, “Man, that’s bad. Make sure mom don’t see it. Close the cupboards and let’s go,” you know.
No. He cleans it up. He was bound, they put a crown of thorns on his head. They put a scarlet robe over him to represent our shame and then they beat him. They beat him over and over. Then they whipped Him. They whipped Him over and over and they spit on Him and they mocked Him and they called Him names and they shamed Him. In other words, all of our mess got on Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21, it says, “God made Him Jesus who knew no sin, who had no mess to be sin for us to literally take our mess upon Himself,” so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God, that we might become clean. See, on the cross, the wrath of God was satisfied. It was poured out on Jesus so the love of God could be poured out on you. The cross couldn’t destroy His love. The grave couldn’t contain it. They simply displayed it. And Jesus was condemned so you don’t have to be. He became messy so you could be clean.
And He did it for me. I’ve been really emotional this Easter. It’s been kind of weird for me. It’s just like — just thinking about it, it’s made me super — He did it for me. He did it for you. And it’s in your moments of greatest failure where his love is most clearly seen. It’s in Peter’s moment of great failure where the love of God is most clearly seen. It’s in your moment when you knock over that jar of maple syrup. When you’ve left your spouse, you’ve made that terrible decision. You’ve done this thing. You’ve got this darkness in your heart. It’s in that moment when the love of God is most clearly seen in our lives. See, I tell you the story of Peter because the truth is, is that Peter’s story in John 21, it’s our story. We’re Peter. We fail. We have a mess in our life and we do our best to hide it. Peter tried to hide it with fishing. How do you try to hide it? Job and activity, fancy car, a nice house, high-profile job, kids involved in every activity. You can think of the way you look, religion. I don’t know.
We try really hard to hide. And only like Peter, we never catch any fish. We never find what we’re looking for. And the resurrected Jesus comes walking down the shore of your life and He calls out to you today and He says, “Hey, friend.” He doesn’t say sinner, loser. He doesn’t say failure, fraud. He don’t define you by all the labels the word has given you. He don’t even call you by the names you call yourself in your own mind. He says, “Hey, friend, let’s restore your identity.” And He says, “Have you caught any fish?” In other words, have you found what you’re looking for, and we say no. He says, “Throw your net over the right side of the boat.” And He overwhelms us with kindness. He draws us into his presence. He empowers us with purpose and He redeems the life that God created for us to live.
Jesus did the unexpected for Peter that day and He wants to do the unexpected for you. And all you need to do is take your eyes up out of the boat, out of the place you’ve been hiding and look to Him, the resurrected Jesus and He will put His love on display. So will you close your eyes with me. And let me just ask you, what do you sense from God right now in this moment? What’s stirring in your heart? Here would be my sense. My sense would be that a lot of us, we’ve been playing hide and seek. We’ve been hiding, doing our best to cover up our mess, the mess of substance, the mess of a lack of peace, the mess of broken relationships, the mess of shame and sin and failures that have defined us for years. We’re hiding.
And I believe today, Jesus has come to you and he’s found you in your little hiding spot. He says, “Hey, where are you?” He says, “I found you.” And He wants to draw you out of that hiding spot, out of the darkness into His light that He may clean you up to get rid of that mess that’s in our hearts, the failure that’s in our lives, the emptiness, the brokenness. You can have the greatest high-profile job in the world, but if you’re honest, when you’re alone by yourself at the end of the day, you know there’s a mess in your heart. That’s the very thing Jesus wants to clean up.
And so it’s as simple as this. It’s as simple as calling out to the Lord Jesus saying, “Jesus, I choose to believe in you. I submit and surrender my heart and my life to you. I invite you in. Will you come and clean the mess? Will you set me free from my bondage? Will you heal my brokenness? I want you to be my savior and my Lord.” And Jesus will walk into your life. He will clean up that mess and He will set you free. And you can start a relationship with the unexpected God who puts His love on display. He is not the God of religion. He is not the God you’ve heard throughout your life. He’s the God of the Bible, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the God who comes through us on the other side of the cross and the tomb to validate it’s finished, to say, “Friend, come. Come.” So will you respond to the Lord Jesus today and let him bring you from death to life, from a mess to being clean.
And so as the worship team sings this song for a moment, I would just ask that you just stay seated, not shuffle around. Listen to this, watch the screens. Let it wash over your heart and listen to what Jesus wants to say, and then I’ll come back and close it.