I spent some time in John 21 yesterday. The story in this last chapter of the book goes like this, Jesus has died and risen again He had shown Himself to His disciples twice now, but Peter is still not ok. He grabs his buddies and says, "I am going fishing". That may sound like a pretty harmless statement but for this man it meant a lot more than just a quiet night on the boat. Peter was running. Peter's former fishing partners all agreed to go along, to follow him back to safer more predictable days. The got themselves out on the boat and began the age old rhythm of casting and pulling the net. They worked all night and caught nothing. Then just as morning began to break and their long night of hard fruitless hard work was coming to an end they looked up to see a man on the beach. The man said, "Children do you have any food?" (If you read in your Bible He did NOT say "fish" in Greek he said "food" or "something to put on bread"). Annoyed and not knowing who the man was they just said, "no". Then, I think with a slight smile, Jesus said to them, "Cast your nets on the right side and you will find a catch" Exasperated but with a feeling of vague familiarity they followed the stranger's instructions and the nets filled to overflowing with over 100 large fish. John got a clue first. He said, "It is the Lord!" Peter went to jump out of the boat but then looked down at himself, he was "stripped for work" he looked like a fisherman. He put on his outer garment and dove into the sea, leaving the other guys to work the boat in dragging the net to shore because it was to full to pull into the boat.
They had breakfast then together just like old times with Jesus. I am betting Peter kept his robe closed the whole time hoping Jesus would not notice. After they had eaten Jesus pulled Peter aside.
"Do you love me Peter?" Jesus said
"Yes, Jesus I really care about you" Peter said
"then tend my lambs" Jesus said
"Do you love me Peter? Jesus asked again
"Yes, Jesus I really care about you?" Peter said.
"then shepherd my sheep" Jesus replied
"Peter do you love me?" Jesus asked a third time. Peter was hurt this time by Jesus questions. Did Jesus doubt Him?
"Lord you know EVERYTHING you KNOW I love you will all my heart!" Peter stated emphatically.
"Then feed my lambs" Jesus replied.
Jesus chased him down. Peter was retreating to a life that Jesus had called him out of. This whole incident is almost a moment by moment replaying of Peter's original calling. On that day Jesus had said, "FROM NOW ON you will catch men". Peter, maybe because of his failure in denying Christ, was retreating from a calling he no longer felt or heard, but Jesus was not going to allow Peter to trade destiny for comfort. Just like the time Peter had walked on the water his eyes were on the waves and danger and removed from Jesus, but once again Jesus was here to pull him out of the waves. He comes gently to Peter. With three confessions of love He let's Peter erase the three denials he made and charges Him with a new mission. An uncomfortable one and one that leads to the ultimate sacrifice of love. Jesus was after Peter's heart. The question wasn't, "will you serve me?" it was, "do you love me?" This jealous lover Jesus chased Peter down to bring Him back to love.
I have been in this place lately. God has set before me a path that I am scared about walking. It is a path like the water that can only be walked supernaturally (the Lord corrected my language today He said it isn't SUPER natural it is God-natural). The Lord is jealous for my heart in all things and above all things. He is not willing to let me go because of my failure. He is not willing to let me go because of my fear. He is not willing to let me settle for comfort when he has a higher destiny of true love waiting for me. He knows that there in comfort, apathy, and sleep I will never be satisfied, but in love even love that leads to martyrdom I will find my greatest satisfaction. When HE is my great reward!
Jesus thank you for meeting me where I am even when it is a long way from where I'm supposed to be.