Despite all his big talk about having Jesus’ back, when it came down to it, Peter was a big chicken. In the emotional aftermath of his denial of Christ, Peter tells all his buddies, “I’m going fishing,” and heads back to the family trade. What happens next could be described as God-ordained déjà vu or just a spiritual do-over. As Peter fishes, Jesus calls to him and asks if he’s caught anything? Peter, not realizing that the risen Jesus was speaking to him, replies, “Nothing.” Jesus says to him, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When the boat is practically sinking from the weight of the fish, Peter is suddenly reminded of how Jesus first called him into ministry (Luke 5). Realizing that only Christ could call him in such a way, he puts his clothes on and jumps in the water! Peter is restored to ministry and called again to do the work of Christ.
Jesus’ words to Peter in John chapter 21 have encouraged me unlike any other. Through this story of restoration, Jesus has shown me that I am not damaged goods. That I, despite my devastating failures and permanent scars, can still be used for His purposes. It’s been in those times of healing and restoration that I have been made most aware of Christ’s love for me. Understanding His great love for me makes me want to take ridiculous leaps toward Him and for Him, just as Peter did.