It is the rising dawn of a new morning.
Peter and his friends have spent the night fishing….or not, as they have caught nothing at all. As they head back they hear someone calling out, asking if they’ve caught anything, this man tells them to try fishing on the other side..they do as he says and catch a massive amount of fish, they are hauling it in when one of them glances up and recognises the person on the shore…it is Jesus.
‘Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is 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 swam ashore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only out about three hundred feet. When they got there, they saw that a charcoal fire was burning and fish were frying over it and there was bread.’
From John 21. NLT
Peter gets out of the boat to get to Jesus as quickly as he can…he wants to make every effort to put things right with him, he’s not long betrayed Jesus and now can’t bear the reality of the gap, the ‘out of step-ness’ he feels.
He longs for the ease he had known with Jesus before he had sworn he didn’t know him…why ever had he done it? Why couldn’t he just have said ‘Yes, I know him he is my Lord!’
So, yes, he gets out of the boat as fast as possible, he pushes through the water until he stumbles gasping for breath to the beach, and gets to Jesus before the others do. We don’t know what he said, if anything, but it was not for nothing that he made sure he got to Jesus first, he knew he didn’t have long, even if it wasn’t with words and only by a look, he let Jesus know his aching heart, he made the most of those moments.
Later, Jesus takes him for a walk and asks him hard questions which surely he knows the answer to… (Strange how he wants to talk when his friends are out of sorts with him, he won’t simply leave things alone.)
But he doesn’t just make Peter feel okay again, doesn’t just forgive him, he calls him to a greater task, to take care of his followers, to feed and equip them to follow well, and who would know better than Peter the obstacles to following well?
Peter is forgiven and restored, and then he is given the freedom to serve his Jesus, not just to follow from a subdued distance, but the freedom to stand up in front of all and say ‘Come and follow this Jesus, he is incredible, you won’t believe what he will do with you and your life!’
An influencer who is shut down is no influence at all, not for good anyway. Failure, hurt, disappointment, or sin, our own or that of others, can shut us down, but it isn’t necessary to stay down, if we press into Jesus like Peter did, we can let him know our discouragement and dismay and hear him tell us our sin is forgiven, he loves us, and here is what he wants us to do.
Why do you think the end of the passage I quoted from John 21 mentions bread? It is a sneaky reminder that we can take and eat of him, he is the true bread, given for us (have a look at John chapter 6:22-71).
Provision has been made, not simply for the disciples’ breakfast, but for life, theirs and ours. True life, and as Peter would want to say to you, even if you feel rubbish, probably especially if you feel rubbish! ‘Come and follow this Jesus, he is incredible, you won’t believe what he will do with you and your life!
Are you an influencer? Then Peter, and Jesus, want you to hear this today. Provision has been made. What he orders, he pays for. He won’t let you down.
Press in, take some time and listen to his voice. Influencer…go and influence!