Bible Stories for the Young

When You Let Jesus Down

Turn Back and Strengthen Your Brothers


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When You Let Jesus Down : Turn Back and Strengthen Your Brothers

Jesus had appeared to His followers a couple of times, and was continuing to teach them about God’s Expression on earth. But that didn’t mean His followers didn’t have some questions, and wrestlings, and pain.

Like: What should they do now? What about all the promises Jesus had made to them the night He was killed? They probably weren’t feeeeeling very special or holy or good enough to do much of anything after how much they’d let Jesus down!

Three times, Peter had denied that he even knew Jesus. But just like Jesus being put in a tomb wasn’t the end of His story… their big-time failures weren’t the end of their stories either.

One night Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two other disciples were together, and they hadn’t seen Jesus for a bit. So Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.”

To which the others said, “We’ll go with you.”

So together they went out to the Sea of Galilee to fish. (You see? After spending three and a half years with Jesus, they’re starting to learn how to love and take care of each other!)

They fished all night, but caught nothing.

Early that morning as the sun was rising in the sky, someone called out to them from the shore, “Hey friends, got any fish?”

“Nah, got nothing,” they answered.

But the stranger called back, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you’ll find some.”

Sure enough… When they tossed that net out on the other side — fish, fish, fish, fish, fish! They couldn’t even pull the net in because there were so many fish.

This sounds very familiar. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yeah! And they were thinking the same thing. John looked at Peter and said, “It’s the Lord!”

Splash!! Next thing they knew, Peter was in the water, swimming to the shore.

The other disciples followed in the boat, towing a very heavy net full of huge fish.

Once they got to the shore there was a fire with some fish already cooking… and some bread.

The man said to them, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.”

Peter jumped back into the boat and dragged that heavy net ashore.

The man said to them, “Come and have breakfast with Me.” And He shared a yummy bread and fish breakfast with them.

Again, Jesus didn’t quite look the same as He had before He died, but no one dared to ask Him if it was Him. They still knew it was Him because they recognized their Shepherd’s voice from their insides. They knew their Shepherd’s character, and they knew His style. (Seeing the Resurrected Jesus will always require this inner Seeing, walking by faith, not by sight — that Real Seeing of the Unseen with those Heaven-Eyes.)

After they’d finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, do you love Me unconditionally, more than these others?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love You.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”

(Do you remember who Jesus’ sheep are? His People, His Family. Jesus is telling Peter to take care of God’s Family.)

Again Jesus asked, “Simon, do you Love Me unconditionally, no matter what?”

Simon answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You!”

And again Jesus said, “Take care of My sheep.”

Then Jesus changed the question and asked, “Simon, do you just love Me?”

That sword of Jesus’ mouth cut through to Peter’s heart. Peter sadly answered, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I just love You.”

But Jesus still again said, “Feed My sheep. When you were younger you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go; but later when you’re old, you’ll stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” (Jesus was giving Peter a little warning about some pain coming later in his life.)

Then Jesus looked Peter straight in the eyes and said, “Follow Me!”

Peter turned and saw that John was behind them. When Peter saw him, he asked, “What about him?”

Jesus answered, “What’s that matter to you? You must follow Me.”

Peter had some serious issues, didn’t he? He’d let satan into his thoughts. He’d fallen asleep when Jesus asked him to pray. He’d denied even knowing Jesus. And now he’s comparing himself to John. Some might say he was a bit of a mess.

How could Peter help now by “feeding Jesus’ sheep”? How could he possibly help God’s people after he himself had blown it so badly?

Here’s how… Faith!

Do you remember waaaaay back when we first told you about Abraham, the father of Faith? We told you that Faith meant believing GOD, regardless of what we think or feel or see. God told Abraham that his children would become as numerous as the stars in the sky. Abraham’s Faith believed God, even when the eyes on the front of his face didn’t see children yet. Faith is believing what your eyes have never seen before. You believe it because God said it.

Well, at this point in the story, Peter is experiencing this “gap,” this difference between what things seem like versus what Jesus said. All the things Jesus had said about stuff getting better and about the part these men would play in the coming Kingdom of God, wasn’t feeling so true right now to Peter.

But, do you remember what Jesus said to Peter that last Passover night? Jesus told him, “You’re gonna blow it. You’re gonna fail and let Me down, but I’ve prayed that your Faith won’t fail. And when you turn back, strengthen your brothers. Help make them strong.”

Did you notice Jesus didn’t say, “I’ve prayed that you won’t fail.” He said, “I’ve prayed that your FAITH won’t fail.” Those are two different things.

Of course we don’t EVER want to fail Jesus. But did you know that the most important thing isn’t whether or not we make a mistake, but it’s about what we do AFTER we make a mistake?

Peter had to choose to believe in the Power of Jesus and not in himself. It’s not perfect behavior that changes us or that changes the world around us. It’s faith — Believing in Jesus as the Son of God and as our DELIVERER… the One Able to get us from where we are right now to another place all together. And Jesus is a Mighty Deliverer.

In the following stories, I want you to watch who Peter becomes. You’re going to see a totally different Peter than this one here on the beach.

Peter doesn’t just plop down and start feeling sorry for himself. In a matter of just a couple of weeks — not months, not years but WEEKS — this seemingly failure of a guy is going to Feed and Strengthen Jesus’ Sheep in a Powerful way.

These guys didn’t have everything all figured out, but in a matter of weeks, these 12 failures are gonna start turning the whole world upside down.

You’ll see… first these 12 failures… and then us…