Fishing, failure and a future

April 30th, 2019

“Late in life I got into fly fishing," Will Willimon says. “The thing that impresses one about fly fishing, an aspect of the sport that stays with you no matter how long you practice it, is failure.” The Christian life is like that in many ways. You practice and practice and think you've got it just right and you still fail.

In this week's Gospel lesson, John 21:1-19, failure permeates every part of the story. The disciples had gone back to fishing, but, as Willimon points out, “Their fishing didn’t go much better than their discipleship.” Still Jesus comes to the disciples and "re-calls" Peter. He calls Peter to love him and then commissions him to feed his sheep. In spite of Peter’s past failure, Jesus puts Peter in charge of his flock. What can Jesus do with our failure if we too allow Jesus’ words, “Follow me,” to ring in our ears?

This sermon is from A Sermon for Every Sunday, a series of lectionary-based video sermons designed for use in worship, Bible study, small groups, Sunday school classes or for individual use.

For more sermon preparation help, check out Pulpit Resource, Will Willimon's weekly lectionary-based sermon resource, available online and through a print subscription.


Sermon manuscript
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