November 30, 2022
In Christ's love, we are free from shame and guilt. We are given a new purpose to live a life of abandon to our God, free from fear and anchored in His love and the hope of His promises.
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.
1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 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. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards 1 21:8 Greek two hundred cubits; a cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters off.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, 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 a second time, “Simon, son of John, 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 John, 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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers 2 21:23 Or brothers and sisters that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Jesus appears to His disciples for the third time after His resurrection, but in a peculiar way. While the disciples are out fishing—without success—Jesus shows up on the shore, unrecognizable to them. He offers them fishing advice that in turn yields more fish than they can haul in! Although he was once fearful of the wind and water (Matthew 14:30), the moment Peter realizes who Jesus is, he immediately flings himself into the water to swim toward Jesus.
Remember: Peter had previously denied Jesus! It would have been easy for Peter to let shame and fear rule. He could have turned away from Jesus in humiliation. But Peter so deeply believed Jesus, trusted His character, and knew the depth of His love for him that he threw himself into the water and swam like a lab toward his Master, unable to wait another second!
One of the first things Jesus does after resurrecting and appearing to the disciples is to break bread (John 21:12-14). He served, ate, and enjoyed their presence. Things could have looked differently: a rushed meal, a hurried lesson before ascending? But that's not the way of Jesus. He is and always has been in the business of relationships and intimacy. He's ALWAYS drawing near to us, desiring to rejoice over us and delight in us.
As a believer, there's not a moment God doesn't delight in you, as you are HIS. What might life look like if we believed and rested in this truth?
Jesus doesn't leave Peter's sin unaddressed; rather, He redeems it. In John 21:15-19, Jesus asks, "[D]o you love me?" and calls Peter to feed His sheep. He gives Peter a new identity, one that includes hardship—well, martyrdom actually (John 21:18-19). Christ's call on our lives to go and make disciples is a call to self-denial, possible rejection, and hardship. But He provides everything we need for the journey as He is with us and gives us hope—one day we'll be with him.
Jesus isn't asking for legalistic obedience or religion; He wants your heart—a heart so abandoned to Him that its instinctive response is to pour out and love others.
1. How would you respond to seeing Jesus if you were in Peter's shoes? What does that tell you about your view of God's character and heart toward you?
2. Where do you let shame, fear, or guilt rule your life?
3. What are ways in which you find assurance, hope, identity, and security? Is it in earthly desires or good morality/religion, or is it rightfully placed "in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6)?
4. What parts of your life would look different if you truly, deeply believed God loves you? How would your responses, decisions, interactions, joy, and contentment change?
5. How does God's love for you empower you to live a life of surrender?