“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.” John 21:7
Can you imagine what it must have felt like for Jesus’ disciples that very first Good Friday, and that Saturday that followed? We, as believers, grieve the cross on Friday, but we know that Sunday is on its way. They didn’t know that, and you can imagine their despair. They had given up everything to follow Jesus – home, family, career, everything…and now what? What were they to do now that all their hopes were dashed? What else could they do but return to what they had left? Many of the disciples had been fishermen by trade, so to fishing they returned. (John 21) I can almost feel their defeat as they stepped back onto that boat. How could they be back to this, and without the Lord, the one they had just seen crucified? Try as they may, they couldn’t catch a thing all night long. Talk about adding insult to injury. They must have hit an all time low by the time Jesus showed up on the shore.
It always amazed me when I read this part of the story. As Jesus calls out to them from the shore to throw their nets on the other side of the boat, Scripture tells us that they didn’t recognize Him. All I can think is, “How could they not?!” They had spent the last three years by His side, and now they don’t even know that it is Him speaking to them. Why didn’t they recognize Him?
Because they weren’t looking for Him.
We could learn a lot from these men right here. How intent are you and I in our pursuit and search for the heart of God? Clearly, we can miss Him when He comes if we’re not looking. I don’t want to miss my sweet Savior’s voice calling out to me. Do you?
Well, the story just keeps getting better from there. Despite their failed attempts to catch even one fish all night long, they take Jesus’ advice, and they catch so many fish that their boat nearly sinks from the weight. Then, John, the beloved disciple, utters these few short but powerful words: “It is the Lord!” One glimpse of the resurrected Christ changed everything! That was all it took for Peter. If this really was the Christ, there was no stopping him now. He grabs his cloak, puts it on, and then jumps in the water. I find this odd, because typically when I’m about to jump in the water, I will remove my outer garments. Yet, Peter does the very opposite that we would expect. Why? Well, some might say that Peter thought that if this really was Jesus, he might just get another chance to walk on water. Regardless of that speculation, one thing is clear. He wasn’t going back to the boat. One glimpse of the resurrected Christ changed EVERYTHING for Peter. He would never go back to his old life. His new life in Christ propelled him forward. He was never going to be the same.
Do we possess such resolve in our own faith? Sure, we haven’t witnessed in the flesh the resurrected Christ Jesus, but we have His written Word. They did not. We have His promises and the truth within our reach. We have seen the results of the resurrected Christ. And because of that, could we say with all sincerity and conviction, “I’m never going back”? Does the best of your past pale in comparison to what is ahead for you in Christ Jesus? It certainly should. We are His children, and we possess a great inheritance in Jesus. We are heirs to eternal life. There is no greater reward. Sisters, press on. Don’t stop now. Never turn back. You can’t even imagine what God has prepared in advance for those who love Him!