Whenever I read John 21, there is something about it that fills me with joy.
3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. 8 The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. 9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
This reminds me of the first time Jesus told Peter to throw his net on the other side of the boat. It was when he called him to be fishers of men. Peter surely remembered it. I wonder if Peter was going back to that time BEFORE he denied Jesus; if he needed to be in that place where he first met Jesus. My bible is precious to me. It is filled with dates and words and memories of the times I’ve met with Jesus. When I need to be encouraged, that’s where I go—back to the place I met Jesus.
I thought a lot about Peter and what might have been going through his head in light of how I struggle with my sin—when I know I’ve done something that really must have hurt God. I’ve gone the gamut from being so upset with myself and couldn’t believe I did it. I was humbled and sad and ashamed of myself for being tempted to do something I never thought I’d do. I can imagine Peter could have felt like that as well. In repentance, I’ve gone before the Lord and confessed my sin asking to be forgiven. But I went feeling shame and remorse. That’s why the fact Peter didn’t hesitate to run to Jesus, to jump out of the boat and swim to shore, fills me with joy. He didn’t hold back in shame; he immediately went to Jesus. The love Peter had for Jesus was evident. He had no doubt Jesus felt the same about him. That is a lesson for me as well. I have no need to hold back in shame but immediately run to Jesus in expectation of forgiveness. Later in this same chapter we see total restoration as Jesus gives him his assignment to continue what Jesus started. He even prepares him for how he will die. We know the rest of the story and how the disciples went willingly to spread the gospel and how they became martyr’s in the name of Jesus even knowing what might happen.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Jesus reconciled Peter. Jesus reconciled Paul. Jesus reconciled me.
Lord, I thank you for stories and an imagination where I can picture myself as the main character. I can picture myself as Peter, I can imagine how I might feel, and I can receive the same gift you gave to him—forgiveness. Thank you Lord for forgiving me when I’ve sinned, thank you for accepting me no matter what, and thank you for always being there just like you stood on the shore for the disciples to see. I love you so much! Amen