In church today, the pastor preached from the Gospel of John.
His reference was to the breakfast of Jesus and some disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. (John 1) The account focuses on a conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter.
Before Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter denied Jesus — not just once, but three times. This breakfast beside the sea is likely the first time Peter and Jesus have met since Peter’s denial.
John is obviously telling this story to present Peter as an example to follow. You see, by the time John wrote his gospel, Peter was dead — martyred for following Jesus.
What a perfect example; boisterous Peter boasted he would die rather than desert Jesus. Then, in a moment of weakness, denied Him. Beside the sea, Peter’s resolve is so rekindled by Jesus’ love, he will give his life for Him.
I am confident John hoped the example of Peter would inspire the loyalty of the believers of the day. However, I doubt he had any idea his words would still be inspiring believers 2,000 years later.
Yet, I am certain many other people in the congregation this morning could relate to Peter. One time, we gave our heart to Jesus. At the time, we likely intended, maybe even said out loud, “I’ll go where He wants me to go, I’ll do what He wants me to do.” Then, when the Christian life got challenging, we did not “go” and did not “do.”
Beside the Sea of Galilee, Peter and Jesus talked. That talk gave Peter a new direction. It wasn’t that he did not believe before, after all he said, “Jesus, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
Peter was disappointed, disillusioned by the crucifixion. He doubtless thought, “This is not the way it is supposed to happen.”
Maybe you are a believer whose plans have gone awry. You have given your heart to Jesus, and heretofore He has always come through with marvelous blessings.
On the strength of those previous blessings, you made plans for the future; but they are not working out.
You are disappointed. You don’t want to admit it, but you are disappointed with God.
Like Peter, who went back to fishing, you are thinking about returning to your old way of life. Before you do, have a heart to heart talk with Jesus. Perhaps, like Peter, He will point you in a new direction.
Wade Paris holds a doctorate and is a retired Baptist minister. He is the author of the syndicated column, “The Shepherd Calls.”