Three

You didn’t think I would forget about our protagonist, Peter, did you? Never!

Okay, let’s go back to the scene. Annnnnd, cue.

Peter is fishing, but he isn’t having much luck. He hasn’t caught anything and neither has a single one of his companions. As dawn breaks on a new day, they hear a voice that they don’t seem to recognize right away.

“Children, do you have any fish?” (John 21:5, ESV)

Let’s back up the truck for a second. The first thing that strikes me is that He calls them “children.” Again, I’m not sure that the intention was to make readers smile, but I can’t help myself. I picture them out on the boat after a long night of unsuccessful fishing, and all of a sudden they hear a voice saying, “hey kiddos!” Although the NIV translation of the Bible uses the word “friend,” I think the ESV’s version is more accurate.

They tell the stranger they don’t have any fish and He suggests that they cast their nets on the right side of the boat instead. When they obey, they cannot even pull the nets onto the boat because of how heavy with fish they are. As soon as this happens, John shouts, “It is the Lord!”

When Peter hears this, he puts on an outer garment (evidently he was fishing in a less than appropriate outfit for greeting the Lord), and then?

“…he threw himself into the sea.” (John 21:7)

Wait.

Threw himself? Into the sea that had almost killed him?

Oh be still my heart. I love the imagery.

While the other disciples took the boat, dragging their load of fish, Peter jumped headfirst to get to Jesus. To be honest, I can’t imagine doing it any other way. How spectacular that moment must have been! Think about the way it came together to reveal the heart of God to all of us.

1. He was fishing, just as he had been when he met Jesus.

2. Jesus called to him, and he came immediately.

3. He threw himself into the water because he had firsthand experience with a God Who knew exactly how to pull him out, should he need help.

Isn’t it the same for us? Once we have seen the power of Jesus, we are much more likely to jump. Forget the fish and the nets. Who needs a boat? He’s here, and I’m going to get to Him now. The Greek word used here for “threw” means, “to give over to one’s care uncertain about the result.”

Immediately, he gives himself over to the One who saves him. Not only from the sea, but in order to preserve his soul for eternity. Wow.

And you know what? It makes me want to throw myself into the sea over an over again. Whatever it takes to get to the shore. Not because it’s safe.

But because He is there.

Although somewhere in the back of my mind, even though I know He’s there, I wonder about something else. What if He doesn’t receive me when I get to Him?

Do you ever feel like you crossed an invisible line in the sand? That you have finally pushed so hard that He’s just flat given up on you?

Remember at this point that Peter hasn’t seen (to our knowledge) Christ since the time of his denial. I wonder if he ever felt worried about what Christ would say to him?

Scripture says that when they got on land, there was a fire burning. I have a feeling this is just the way my mind works, but I want to know who made it. I mean, they were in the boat all night, so it wasn’t them. Are we to presume it was the Lord? I think He did, and I’m going to tell you why I think it might have happened that way.

The Lord asks Peter to go get the fish from the boat so they can cook them. He obeys. They eat their breakfast and when they are finished, Jesus turns His attention to Peter.

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

One. 

“Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Two.

“Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

“Do you love me?”

Three.

“Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Why does Jesus ask Peter three times whether he loves Him? In one commentary I read, the author said it was the Lord’s way of forgiving Peter-once for each time Peter had denied Him. If that is the case, then I want to point out something that I find really interesting.

Here is the section of Scripture where Peter denies Christ:

“Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them.” (Luke 22:54-55)

Waiiittttt a minute. A fire?!?!?!

Now that sounds familiar, huh? I think it’s entirely plausible that the Lord’s usage of fire in the latter example was to remind Peter of the night he had sinned against Him. Not because He wanted him to suffer and cower to his shame, but because He wanted to restore him in an unmistakable way.  Fire is used in the Bible to represent God and purification…how beautifully appropriate.

I think Jesus likes to set a familiar table (Okay, you fish and I’ll call out to you. Then, there will be some fish and a fire. I’m going to remind you that I’m the God of healing and restoration, and then you’re going to go and get some real fish. Men. And you’re going to tell them exactly what I did for you, because you know what it feels like to dive in, chase after me, and be forgiven.) and then invite us to dine on His spectacular grace time and time again.

Do you think you have sinned one time too many?

He says it isn’t so, love.

Do you remember the way the water felt when you couldn’t breathe and you were all arms reaching and breath gasping? And do you remember when I pulled you out?

He didn’t come to save us from the water. He came to baptize us with His mercy. 

And our job is to throw ourselves into the water in obedience.

He asks me over and over if I love Him, and as my lips say “yes,” He calls me to be a fisher of men. To feed His sheep. To remember the night He restored me and called me His own, despite my sin and my regrets. It’s almost too much to bear. Who, Lord? Who am I to deserve another fire?

Here is what I would love for you to consider alongside me today. Has any part of your sin kept you from the cross? Has there been an opportunity for Satan to whisper to you and tell you that you’ve gone one step too far and that you can’t possibly be restored?

This isn’t the way the Lord sees you, friend.

His desire is for you to dive deep into the water. Leave your nets as many times as He asks you to and run where He calls you. In that place, you will be healed. And when you have been, I daresay you will have a story that is begging to be told.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus…” (Acts 4:13)

Be bold, sisters.

Jump.

Immediately.

One.

Two.

Three.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Coby

    Uhm, WOW.  I need to go read this again.  #1, for some reason I had always assumed that Peter threw himself into the water because, when he saw Jesus, he felt condemned (I’m thinking that’s my own issue I need to work through regarding Christ’s forgiveness, ahem!).  But I get it!  He threw himself in the water to GET to Jesus!  #2, the fire thing and the “do you love Me” three times… Blows my mind.  The ability of Christ’s redemption to reach to the farthest, deepest places in our hearts and to restore what we’ve blown!  My goodness, do I love Peter’s example.  He’s a DO-er, he goes for it, he blows it, he goes for it again, with abandon!

    Jumping!

  • http://ashleywb.blogspot.com AshleyB

    “Has any part of your sin kept you from the cross? Has there been an opportunity for Satan to whisper to you and tell you that you’ve gone one step too far and that you can’t possibly be restored?”  This resonated deeply with me tonight.  As I read your words, it struck me that all the Enemy has done his job if he can merely neutralize one of God’s children.  He doesn’t have to entice us to grievous sin so long as we are paralyzed by fear or doubt or a sense of unworthiness.  Thankfully, as you said well, God’s Truth is that His Grace  and His Covenant are bigger than Peter’s — and our — unfaithfulness. 

    Such a Good Word!

  • Karina268

    Angie, I am on the vege of tears.. So many times I am Peter.  Whether it’s my sin or some disobedience to God, I feel so distant from Him.  I know that He is always with me and waiting with His arms wide open, ready and willing to restore me.  I feel like  at some point He will get tired of having to receive me again.  My emotions just don’t always line up with His truth and past faithfulness.  I long to be so fully surrendered to Christ, that it doesn’t matter what I’ve done, I eagerly, expectantly and confidently run to Him.
    Thank you for sharing such wisdom and revelation.  I will continue to read this passage with fresh vision and perspective.

  • Cindy Leaphart

    Thank you!

  • Lisa

    Wow!  Just…wow!  Thank you!

  • AmyW

    Wow. I have jumped in with two feet and wondered why in the world I felt as if this is what God wanted me to do. But Satan has used that to whisper to me that I am incapable and need to bail. I see now that is not what God put me here for. I have not kept my eyes on Him. I am talking of my marriage in case you ask. Been married for 2 years and to a man who is struggling with addiction and depression. It has not been easy. But he loves the Lord and I am fighting beside him through this. 

  • http://www.pitchperfectpicture.blogspot.com Ckrupke7

    AMEN Angie! I never thought of the fire and the situation in which Peter finds himself forgiven by Christ. I knew the three times for each of the three denials, but the fire…well put! I pray I can continually dive in head first, knowing I’m secure in who Christ is each and every time.

  • Rebecca Tyler

    This is so beautiful!  Right now, I am trying so hard to do as you wrote, “to give over to one’s care uncertain about the result.”  It’s a scary place.  Thank you for the encouragement.

  • Gretchen F

    I’ve read your blog since February of 2008 and it’s encouraged me many times, but this post resonated with me more than anything else you’ve ever posted. I so needed to read this today…thank you.

    Also, it’s been a while since we’ve seen any pictures of Charlotte (or your other girls, for that matter). Hint hint. :)

    Thank you for sharing your life and being such a blessing to others!

    A sister in Christ,
    Gretchen

  • http://holycamp09.wordpress.com/ Deborah Boutwell

    Always a great post, very insightful.  I love Peter too.  Can’t wait for your book on him.

  • Lissa Litka

    Beautiful

  • Sharon O

    I Love this story. Oh that we have the faith of Peter to jump in without fear and get to Jesus as quick as we can.

  • Holly Thompson

    I so enjoyed reading this today…thanks, Angie!  What a beautiful way to illustrate this story.  It is so amazing to re-read it from the Bible after I have read your thoughts about it– it just comes alive!

  • Mjdswaters

    Thank you, I needed to read this. I lost my Uncle very suddenly this weekend, we had dinner, laughed cut up took pictures his granddaughter learned how to say grandpa and 3 hrs later he died in my dad’s kitchen of a massive heart attack. I know God had a reason and I’m struggling with his reasoning right now. Your writing always helps me.

    Debbie

  • Krissi

    What a beautifully written post! I love that you made a Scripture I know so well become alive again! Thank you!

  • Jill

    Every time I hear this story of Peter, I picture like the scene in Forrest Gump where he jumps off his shrimping boat to get to Luitenant Dan.  Love it!  Thank you so much for your insights. 

  • http://twitter.com/crrevis1990 Chelsea R

    This sounds so much like me right now in dealing with an ED I have had for 8 years now. I feel like I have gone too far and I can never be restored with him.

  • Kaye

    Absolutely beautiful.  Your writing never ceases to amaze me.:)
    Blessings today and every day,
    Kaye
    Matthew 21:22

  • Sheilannpat

    Oh to be like Peter, too just jump in knowing that He is there.  You paint such a great picture of Peter’s love for Jesus.  Remember all those ‘What If’s', I would guess Peter had spent much time going over the night he betrayed our Lord thinking ‘If only…’  ‘If I could do it all over again”; and the second he realizes it is the Lord who is there, that was it, that was his moment to fall into the arms of Jesus and ‘redeem’ his shame.  Lord thank you, give me boldness.  In God’s love, sheila

  • Karen

    I’m going to read this to the girls in Lynchburg Jail on Chriostmas Day when I visit them. It’s lovley… Thanks for writing-

  • Shirley Solis

    Hi Angie,

    God led me to your site and as I read more about your story and your family, I recalled meeting you (although I’m still not sure :  { , so you’ll have to confirm if you remember). I think we met at a homeschool conference in Nashville. I was a vendor there and we had a nice conversation. You told me your husband sang for Selah and you said he was the “bald” one, lol. I was not very acquainted, although after meeting you I became a fan.

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your baby. But I am equally joyful to hear your testimony is encouraging many around the world.

    I pray the Lord is lifting you up daily! God bless you and your family.

    Lovingly,

    Shirley Solis
    Lifetime Books and Gifts
    http://www.shoplbg.com

  • http://differentparent.com/ Wick

     Really good stuff.  I still get stuck on 21:5 where Jesus calls them “children”.  NRSV says the same, and the root word is “paidion”, the same used in Luke where it says “Let the little children come to me…”  Again, good stuff. :)

  • Anonymous

    Wow! The connections to this scene and the life of Peter were incredibly insightful. Your article really blessed me today! Thank you for writing  this.
    scottfairchild.net 

  • Alyson

    Such awesome insight you have Angie! Again I thoroughly enjoyed reading this about Peter. Wonderful! Thank you.

  • Lindsey Solomon

    I came back to this again after reading it when you first posted it. This is so rich and so helpful for my situation right now. I’m jumping in, right now. immediately.