Sometimes our words and actions cause us to feel what Peter felt after he let Jesus down. We should not be surprised when this happens. If we recognize the level of our depravity, we will know that no matter how much self-confidence we possess, there are times we will say or do things that will make us feel like Peter. Earlier Peter pledged his loyalty to Jesus but his self-confidence did not come to rescue when tested. The gravity of his betrayal of Jesus made him want to go away, to go away from what he was called to do – a fisher of men.
I am quite certain that he felt defeated and I am sure this devastated him. He, Peter, had let the Christ down at a moment of weakness and did not admit to his association with Christ.
“You are not also one of His disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said, “I am not!”
It is easy for us to sit in judgement of Peter. Yet there may be many times when we too may have disowned Jesus during our own times of testing and weakness. Yet, during those times, Jesus shows up and does for us what he did for Peter. He reconnects with us because he knows just how defeated we feel, just like he reconnected with Peter.
Here’s how this played out. Peter denies Jesus after promising not to. When he realizes what he has done he feels so defeated and discouraged that he distances himself. He goes fishing with the hope of escaping these feelings. To add to his woes, his fishing expedition did not go well too. Jesus is on the shore waiting for Peter and the others. He has breakfast prepared but more than that he was wanting to reconnect with Peter to rescue him from his misery of being a defeated person to a person who is restored, to being not just a fisherman but a fisher of men.
Jesus enters into conversation with him about loyalty. Jesus asks Peter if he loves (agape) him. Peters responds twice affirming his love but with the word (phileo). Agape love is the highest form of love and is unconditional – sacrificial. Peter’s phileo love was a brotherly, friendship type of love. Although Peter did not affirm agape love, he later demonstrates this. After he is restored, he leaves the comforts of his Galilean home and the fishing boat; and returns to Jerusalem to speak of the risen Jesus.
Whether we are in ministry or not, there are times when we feel like we have let the Lord down. We choose to isolate ourselves from others in order to cope with our feelings of sadness, depression, guilt etc. We sometimes abandon the calling that God has placed on our lives. Rest assured that Christ is waiting to reconnect with you. If you open your heart and your mind, you will find him in the most unexpected places, on the shore perhaps, with breakfast, waiting for you…..