Stephanie examines a meeting between Peter the disciple, and the risen Jesus. She reminds that Peter wasn’t one to hesitate but was quick to take the plunge.
Peter The Disciple And The Risen Jesus
You may remember awhile back when I shared with you some of the reasons I relate to Peter, one of the Lord’s disciples. Peter the disciple was impulsive. It seemed his heart was in the right place; he wanted to do the right thing. He wanted to honour the Lord and was quick to speak up and pledge his undying allegiance to his Master. Why, he even jumped out of a boat on a stormy night to walk to the Lord upon the waves. However, he began to sink when he looked around and realized just what he was doing. He pledged to follow the Lord even if it meant giving his life. The night Jesus was arrested, His determination only lasted until Peter was asked if he was one of Jesus’ disciples. Would these be Peter’s last impulsive acts? No.
Let’s read John 21: 4-7.
“Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, do you have any fish?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net on 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 of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.”
This and all Scripture passages in this series are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.
Peter The Disciple Was Heartbroken
Like Mary Magdalene, I would imagine Peter was also heartbroken. Had he been wrong when he declared in John 6:68-69, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God”?
I wonder just what thoughts were racing around in his mind. And the guilt . . . it must have been almost more than he could bear. From his perspective, the last thing he had done was deny knowing the Lord, not once but three times. (Next time we will talk about the conversation he had with Jesus.)
But for now, let’s think about what Peter and the others were doing. They had gone back to what they knew four years earlier, before Jesus of Nazareth had invaded their reality. They were fishermen . . . and they headed out to fish. Out of necessity? Confusion? Discouragement? Maybe it was a little—or a lot—of all three.
And now, to top it all off, they had spent the night fishing only to come up empty-handed. These experienced fishermen hadn’t caught a thing. They were tired and frustrated. And then the man on the shore tells them to throw their net into the water—and they do. It isn’t until their net ends bursting with their catch that anyone seems to realize that it is Jesus on the shore.
But when one of the other disciples with him pointed it out, Peter again finds himself in the water heading off to see Jesus. And in this case, actually, he “threw himself into the sea.”
He didn’t hum and ha. He didn’t ask himself, “What if the Lord can’t forgive me? After all, I denied knowing him when He needed me most. What if he punishes me? What if He no longer loves me?”
Nope, he was the same impetuous, impulsive Peter as he’d always been.
Drawing Closer To The Lord
True confession time. I gave my life to the Lord when I was very young. And over the years, I have drawn closer and closer to Him. However, there have been far too many times my declarations have been far grander than my actions. I am so very thankful that God is patient. And remember the Old English translation I mentioned? Long-suffering? Sadly, I have caused the Lord to suffer far more than I would ever care to admit.
But thankfully, when I’ve realized just how far I’ve strayed, He has always drawn me back and I have gone running into His waiting arms.
As the Creator of the Universe, the One and Only True God, He deserves my reverence and my worship.
My Abba Father
As my Abba Father—or my Papa, as a friend of mine refers to Him, He deserves my obedience. But, as with loving earthly fathers, He also has great love for me and desires to protect me and meet my every need. While there are varying opinions on whether we should raise our hands in worship, I very much love the perspective I heard from yet another friend. She saw it as a child reaching up to his or her parent, expressing total dependence and trust.
And as my Best Friend, He is the one I want to spend time with.
There were two options for Peter: stop being so impulsive and thus, stop letting down the Master OR, the better option, keep trusting, allow the Lord to truly transform him and begin to see a correlation between his words and his actions.
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Images courtesy of:
The Miraculous Catch Of 153 Fish – James Tissot
Peter Denies Jesus – Gerard Van Honthorst