Have you ever thought about who you are most like in the Bible? Some may think they are like Solomon because of their wisdom, or David because of their good looks. Others, because of your past, may relate to Rahab or Gideon. Maybe you think of yourself like Martha because you are a hard worker, or her sister, Mary, because you love to spend time at the feet of Jesus. Well, one of the people that I most identify with is Peter.
The truth is, Peter’s whole life was one big object lesson. Peter did some really great things. But Peter also did a whole lot of really dumb things. If he wasn’t saying something stupid, he was doing something stupid. I believe he had his foot in his mouth more than on the ground. Can you relate? I know I can. That’s why I love the last chapter of John’s gospel that contains a breakfast conversation between Jesus and Peter.
In my opinion, John 21 is one of the most spectacular and amazing chapters in all the Word of God. In it, we find God’s grace, forgiveness, and restoration on full display. John shows us that you can’t fall far enough that the hand of God can’t lift you up and place you on the solid rock. At the end of John 20, John clearly finished the book. In the last few verses, he closes with the fact that Jesus had done many more miracles that are not recorded in the Bible, but the examples given were so that we would believe. It is though after he pens chapter 20, John realizes that the church is getting ready to be birthed (next chapter), and the keynote speaker has just denied Christ three times, so he needs a “p.s.” to show that His grace will pick us back up when we fall. That is where Peter was the last we had heard from him. How could someone so close to Jesus fall so far, so fast?
Peter and his brother were the first disciples Jesus picked. He was part of the inner circle, along with James and John. He lived with Jesus for three and a half years. Peter heard His sermons, seen His miracles, and watched people’s lives transformed. Again, how could someone so close to Jesus fall so far, so fast?
Peter’s life is full of contradictions. In one place, Jesus speaks of Peter receiving a revelation from the Lord (Matthew 16:17), yet in another passage, Christ says to Peter, “get thee behind me Satan.” (Matthew 16:23). In John 18, we see Peter moved with both tremendous faith and tremendous fear in just a few verses. In the garden with Christ, when the soldiers come to arrest Jesus, without thinking, Peter reaches for a sword and cuts off a Roman soldier’s ear (vs. 10). He could have easily been killed on the spot for that act. Yet, a short while later, when a little girl asked him about Jesus, Peter denied knowing Him (vs. 17). Unbelievable! The question is worth repeating, how could someone so close to Jesus fall so far, so fast?
The truth is we all have been guilty of unbelievable yet undeniable failures while serving the Lord. Sometimes people’s faults are in plain view of everyone around them to see, but sometimes no one knows but God. But make no mistake, God knows. Isn’t it amazing that when someone else does something, we call it sin, but when we or someone we love does the same thing, we call it a mistake?
So here in John 21, we find Jesus is on the shore and calls out to the disciples, “How’s the fishing?” When they said they had not caught anything, He told them to cast out on the right side, which they did; and they filled their nets. I believe this was an object lesson for all the disciples, but especially for Peter. First, Jesus showed that God has their backs, He will supply all their needs in this life, if they would simply trust them. Secondly, God wanted them to be great fishers of men (Mark 1:16–18). Finally, this was a reminder to Peter, because Jesus had already done this same thing before with Peter right after they first met (Luke 5:1-8).
When Peter knew it was the Lord, he ran to him (in this case, swam). Jesus had fixed them a good breakfast, consisting of fish and bread, and invited them to come and dine. He welcomed Peter to His table. Jesus accepted Peter and treated him as if he had never left. After breakfast, Jesus asked Peter, basically, the same question three times. There is a lot to unpack with the questions, but I believe one of the main reasons was, specifically, for Peter. You see, Peter had denied the Lord three times. Many times, even after our forgiveness, we live in the guilt of what we have done. But now Peter had come back to Jesus and eaten at His table. He had declared his love for the Savior. Everyone else had fish and chips that morning, but Peter had a huge plate of grace at the table of the Lord! Now I know why breakfast is the best meal of the day.
What does the name Peter, Moses, Abraham, Jonah, David, Paul, Chris, and your name also, have in common? When we have fallen, regardless of how far, or how fast, Jesus always has a table spread, and is calling for us to come and dine. I am thankful that He is the God of the second chance, and third, and …
Scriptures related to this article
Psalms 40:1-2 I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.
Psalms 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
John 21:1-17 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.”
6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish. 9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.”
11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.
This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”