I love the Gospel of John. The reason the disciple John wrote this gospel was to bear witness of Jesus so that we who would read (or hear) these stories would believe Jesus is the Messiah. He mentioned at the end of the gospel that there were too many stories to write down (John 21:25), but chose these things that by believing what was written we would have life in His name (John 20:31). John is testifying what he saw and heard so that we might believe.
There is one passage in John that is becoming one of my favorites. Sometime during the initial days after Jesus’ resurrection, Peter decides to go fishing. I imagine after all the stress of the crucifixion, resurrection and the uncertainties of the future Peter goes back to what he has done in the past. The others decide to join him. Maybe they wanted a bit of normalcy in such confusing times. Then Jesus shows up. Peter jumps out of the boat. I always assumed Peter ran toward Jesus on the shore. But I noticed upon reading the passage this time around, Peter was still close to the boat. Jesus asked them to bring some of the fish they just caught. Peter climbed aboard to bring in the net with the fish.
I also recognized this was the second miraculous catch involving Peter. The first time Jesus showed the group how to fish was in Luke 5. In that passage, Peter told Jesus that he couldn’t be in Jesus’ presence because of his sinful condition. Peter recognized Jesus’ holiness and his sinfulness. After being with Jesus for about three years, Peter still knew of his sinful condition. For some reason in this second fishing trip, Peter jumped out of the boat. Was he anxious to run toward him, but because of his recent betrayal of Jesus, it kept him from going to Him? What would I have done in the circumstances?
As the story continues, Jesus goes to Peter and reinstated Peter to his place in God’s plan. Peter was called to minister to Jesus’ people. The sheep would be without a shepherd to lead them to the living water when Jesus went back to heaven. The sheep would need to be fed. They would need guidance. This conversation changed everything for Peter. Whenever we encounter Jesus, it changes everything.
Sometimes I wonder if I have truly encountered Jesus. Like Peter in the beginning, he knew about Jesus. He had heard all about him. But by this time, Peter was truly changed. I have known about Jesus all my life. I have surrendered my life to him. I have left everything (so to speak) to follow Him. I decided a few months ago to go on my first mission trip. Everyone is telling me it will be life changing. For over two years I have been sitting at the feet of Jesus in constant study and prayer. What will come of it? The story will continue I’m sure of that. And just as it was for Peter, the encounter will change everything for me!
Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him. Luke 5:10b-11