“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them. (John 21:3)
Jesus had been crucified, dead, buried, and then resurrected from the grave on that first Easter morning. He had shown Himself to several of His disciples on a number of occasions, including the one who had denied Him on the night He was betrayed. Even after encountering the resurrected Jesus and seeing the nail prints in his hands and feet and the wound from the spear that had been thrust into His side, we find Peter doing what He had done all his life: fishing.
Peter was returning to his old life, rather than moving ahead into his new life in Christ. To be fair, Peter was undoubtedly still struggling with his recent, cowardly failure, when he had denied even knowing Jesus—not once, but three times. Yes, he wept bitterly immediately after that, a clear indication of his repentance, but I’m sure Peter believed, deep down, that he had “blown it” and that Jesus had no interest in using him anymore. And so Peter returned to what he knew best—fishing. He had no inkling that he was about to be caught in the Master’s net for a time of restoration that would prepare Peter to become a great fisher of men.
What was true for Peter is true for you and me, as well; we all need times of restoration in order to return to the primary call God has placed on our lives. When we fail our Lord, we have a tendency to retreat back to what we are familiar with and avoid God’s best for our lives. We can easily convince ourselves that we will no longer be used by God for the call He has placed on us, so we “go fishing”—we go back to our old lives and tell ourselves that serving the Lord is something that is only done by “good” people. But we must remember what Peter learned: that God is not finished with us! Our loving Lord is in the business of using broken and sinful people . . . because that’s all He has to work with! Scripture promises that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus: (Philippians 1:6). Let that be an encouragement to you today and every day God gives you to live out His perfect plan and purpose for your life.
Have you “gone fishing” recently? May these words that Christ spoke to Peter on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee both comfort you and challenge you every time you stumble to get back up and continue doing what you were created to do: expand the cause of His kingdom.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15).
Christian, you will fail at times, but you will never be a failure. If you’re familiar with this passage of Scripture, you know that Jesus asked Peter the same question—“Do you love me?”—not just once, but three times, just to make sure Peter and the other disciples understood that Peter’s three denials were covered by the blood of the Lamb. And what is true for Peter is true for you and me as well! This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!