Main Street UMC, Kernersville, NC

Game Changer Series – ‘Sorry’

Game Changers, Week 3

SORRY
John 21:1-19
We’re in a series called Game Changers. Each week we’re looking at a different board game that represents one of the struggles of life. And then we’re seeing how the resurrection of Jesus changes the game.
Now, a few weeks ago we talked about a game called Trouble. This is a game where we you have four pieces and you’re trying to get ‘em around the board to the finish line
Today we’re talking about a game called Sorry. Sorry is like Trouble except it’s more complicated. With both games you have four pieces and you’re trying to get ‘em around the board, and if somebody lands on you, you have to go back home. But the difference with Sorry is, instead of this little dice, you have cards. And the cards can be complicated:
 4 – Move backward four spaces
 11 – Move eleven spaces forward or switch places with an opponent
 10 – Move ten spaces forward or one space backwards
 7 – Move seven spaces forward or split move between two pieces
So, again, Sorry is a version of Trouble that’s more complicated. In fact, Sorry may be the most complicated Trouble of all. Because what do you do when you feel “Sorry” and guilt drags you down?
Maybe you hurt somebody, and that person forgave you, but you can’t forgive yourself.
Maybe you’re looking back on a failed marriage – or you’ve lost a loved one – and you’re thinking, “Did I do enough? Did I say enough? Did I try hard enough?”
Maybe you did something that nobody knows about –
o you stole something
o you lied
o you cheated
And nobody knows about it — but the guilt is eating you up inside.
Maybe you did something long ago, and everybody else has moved on, but you just can’t let it go. You can’t stop feeling SORRY.
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Sorry is like Trouble, but it’s way more complicated. Because with Sorry, there’s nobody else to blame. And sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.
Peter was feeling Sorry. Jesus called him to be his disciple, but he kept messing up! Peter got to walk on water – but then he took his eyes off Jesus and he sank.Peter was the first to confess Jesus as Messiah – but then he flew in the face of Jesus’ game plan and Jesus called him Satan. And worst of all – Peter said he would never abandon Jesus – he said, “Even if I have to die for you, I’ll never turn my back” But then after they arrested Jesus and somebody said, “Hey, weren’t you one of his disciples?” he denied Jesus and said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
And then he watched Jesus die.
And then they told him Jesus was alive, but he didn’t believe it.
And then he saw Jesus alive, but it didn’t matter – he still felt horrible. All he could think was, “How could I do that? How could I turn my back on my best friend?”
Like a lot of us, Peter was playing the game of Sorry. But then Jesus showed up and changed the game.
Open your Bible to John 21, and we’re going to see how Peter found relief from the guilt that was weighing him down. This is the last chapter in the Gospel of John, so it’s after the death and resurrection of Jesus
And we’ll start with v. 1—
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2 Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” –John 21:1-3a New Revised Standard Version
Now, why would Peter say, “I’m going fishing”? Could it be because he’d given up? Like maybe he said, “I denied Jesus 3 times, I didn’t believe it when they said he was alive, I messed up, I don’t deserve to be a disciple, so I’m going back to my old way of life?”
Verse 4:
4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They
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answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. –John 21:4-6
Do you remember the last time that happened (a huge catch of fish)? It was when Jesus first called Peter to be his disciple. Way back in the beginning — maybe right in this very spot! Before Peter messed up .. before he made a fool of himself … before he denied Jesus 3 times.
It’s almost like Jesus is saying, “Let’s go back to the beginning. Let’s start over.”
Verse 7: 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. 9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish and bread. –John 21:7-9
A charcoal fire. When is the last time Peter stood around a charcoal fire? It was in the courtyard of Caiphas the high priest when Peter stood by a charcoal fire and denied Jesus three times.
It’s almost like Jesus is saying, “Let’s go back to the beginning. Let’s start over.”
Verse 10: 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. –John 21:10-13
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The last time Peter looked at Jesus across a charcoal fire, Jesus was being taken away to die. This time when Peter looks at Jesus across a charcoal fire, Jesus offers him a meal. And it’s a meal of reconciliation: Kind of like when you’ve had a fight with your girlfriend and you make up and you go out to dinner to celebrate … Or you’ve been estranged from your family, and when you finally reconcile, you get together for thanksgiving and have dinner. This breakfast of bread and fish cooked over a charcoal fire is a meal of reconciliation.
Because look at verse15: 15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” –John 21:15a
And I can imagine Jesus gesturing with his hand and pointing out the boat, the nets, the fish, the water — all the things he originally left to follow Jesus. It’s almost like Jesus is saying, “Let’s go back to the beginning. Let’s start over.”
And notice that Jesus calls him: “Simon, son of John.” That was his pre-disciple name, his name before he ever met Jesus. It’s almost like Jesus is saying, “Let’s go back to the beginning. Let’s start over.”
Still in verse 15: “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” –John 21:15
Jesus takes Peter back to the beginning, gives him another chance to answer the call, and then reinstates him to his position of leadership.
But look what else:
16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” –John 21:16
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Once again – Jesus takes Peter back to the beginning, gives him another chance to answer the call, and then reinstates him to his position of leadership.
But look what else:
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. –John 21:17
And maybe at that moment, Peter realized what was going on. Asking the same question three times was not an act of judgment. It was an act of grace!
Three times Peter had denied Jesus. And three times Jesus said, “Let’s start over.”
Three times Peter had turned his back on his friend. And three times Jesus gave him a chance to reaffirm his love.
Three times Peter abandoned his post. And three times Jesus reinstated him.
And that day Peter left his guilt there on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. How do I know? Because Peter went back to Jerusalem, the city where Jesus died, and he took his place as the leader of the church. And on Pentecost, it was Peter who stood up in the streets and introduced Jesus to the rest of the world.
Peter was playing the game of Sorry – but Jesus showed up and changed the game.
Now, what about you? What are you Sorry about today? What secret guilt have you been carrying for years and years that you would love to get rid of?
Pastor Steve Brown tells the story of a woman who had been unfaithful to her husband, and she carried the guilt of that affair for 20 years. Finally after a lot of counseling and prayer she decided she had to tell her husband. When she finally told her husband, she found out that he already knew about it – and he had forgiven her – 20 years ago
She had carried that load of guilt for 20 years, and she didn’t even have to.
Is that you this morning?
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What are you Sorry about? What guilt are you carrying? Here’s the Good News: The same Jesus who met Peter on the beach is here today, offering you a meal of reconciliation.
If you’re playing the game of Sorry … if guilt is weighing you down … if the person you most need to forgive is yourself … then come meet Jesus in the bread and cup, and let him change the game.