Wait Peter, I'm coming too! Those were my thoughts as I read John 21:3 (NLV) Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." The others said, "We will go with you." They went out and got into a boat. That night they caught no fish. Now, I must confess, Neither do I fish nor do I know the first thing about fishing! However, in that moment, I strongly considered it. You see, Peter was not going fishing for entertainment; he was going because he was fed up and had about enough! Have you ever been there? I certainly could relate!
What time is the boat leaving?
Should I buy a net or do you have an extra one?
Have you ever felt like it would just be easier to return to the familiar? That is what Peter was experiencing. Before he became a disciple, he was a fisherman. Being a disciple was becoming to much for he and the others to handle. Fishing, on the other hand, was second-nature to Peter. He was returning to what he knew! Have you ever felt like this Christian journey was just too much? What is it that you thought about going back to? I hear you...now you are thinking about going fishing as well! Before we give it all up, find some nets, and board the boat, let's anchor ourselves for a minute and go a little deeper.
By the time we see Peter in this text, he and the disciples have been on an emotional roller coaster! They had given up their lives to follow Jesus, walked with Him approximately three years, seen Him be crucified and resurrected, and now they were all hiding out together for safety. I believe Peter must have thought to himself, enough is enough, I'm out of here! Why am I stressing and fearing for my life when I could be doing something that I understand...fishing.
The interesting thing is that the others decided to go as well. Prior to Jesus, they were not all fishermen. What made them decide to follow Peter? How often do we follow people into the unknown due to our own frustrations?
You have been serving in your church, praying for people, helping the homeless, volunteering, directing the choir, and ushering, but it all just seems useless. You wonder if anyone recognizes your efforts. Perhaps, you have been passed over at church or work and someone else got the leadership position you wanted. You hang your head and consider just walking away from it all.
Meanwhile, back on the boat, we find our fishing friends sitting in an empty boat...not a single fish to show for. What was wrong? Had Peter forgotten how to catch fish? I don't think so. I believe Jesus wanted to teach us that once we have an experience with Him, we can never go back to business as usual. The things that were once easy, things that came natural, or things we were skilled at doing will no longer work if we walk away from Him.
By the morning, Jesus was on the shore instructing them to throw the nets on the other side of the boat. They caught so many fish they could hardly get them into the boat. Once they returned to the shore with Jesus, He asked Peter the same simple question three times. "Do you love me?" Peter answered three times, "yes, Lord, you know I love you." I bet Jesus is whispering that same question to your heart right now, "do you love me?" What will your response be? He instructs each of us, that love Him, to follow Him and feed His lambs/sheep (lead and help His children). Although we feel like quitting, we should press on and follow Him as He leads because we love Him. After all, He loves us to much to just let us walk away and go fishing. Let Him heal your soul!
Your Sister In Christ,
Prayer: Heavenly Father, We thank you for being patient with us. When we want to give it all up and walk, thank you for lovingly pursuing us. Please give each reader renewed hope to press on. In Jesus' Name, Amen.