“…The net was not torn (Jn. 21:11, ESV).”
These must be some of the most understated words in the entire Gospel accounts, because what happens here is a whole new thing. You see, the first time Jesus introduces himself to Peter, He brings in a miracle haul of fish, and the nets begin to break. Their nets are simply not strong enough to hold the “large number of fish (Lk. 5:6, ESV).”
Now, compare that for a moment to the verse I referenced above in its entirety: “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.” God is doing something new through this miracle of the risen Jesus with Peter and six of His other disciples.
Victory has come! What Jesus came to do in the flesh during his earthly ministry is now complete. And what we begin to see here is not only that the haul of fish Jesus gives them is seemingly bigger this time, but the nets in which they catch them are stronger than ever.
Are you seeing it?
One of the beauties of moments like these in the Bible is that, regardless of how many times we read God’s Word, He has something new for us each and every time we pass through the stories we think we know so well. And when we look at the story of Peter, this is no exception.
As I had the opportunity to look closer at the five scenes of Peter’s life that I preached about this last Sunday, the thing that came to my mind is this: God is always doing a new thing. His plans and His goodness are never in doubt—even when we don’t see how that might be playing itself out. The challenge comes when we find ourselves amid the struggle, unable to make sense of what God might be wanting to do in our lives.
So, with that in mind, what, then, do we do? What does a next step look like in our journeys with Jesus? And to both those questions I think we can look to Peter to at least begin to figure out the answer.
We press in. We ask questions. We trust God for the right answers. We walk with Jesus anyways. This is how we start to give over our nets to be strengthened by the only One that has the power to do so. Without our Risen Savior as part of the equation, the less ability we have to make sense of the broken reality in which we live.
He or she who has ears let them hear.
The journey we see Peter take in his discipleship by Jesus is not a quick one. In fact, for virtually the entire time Peter walks with Jesus, he does not have the slightest understanding of who Jesus really is, and what He came to do. But from the very beginning of Peter’s story in Luke 5:11 (ESV), it says he along with the disciples that were with him, “left everything and followed [Jesus].” Despite Peter’s questions (and there were many), or his disorientation between what he was experiencing each day walking with Jesus, and what Jesus ultimately came to do, Peter never stopped following Him. And even after Peter denied Jesus three times, he allowed himself to be restored by the only person that could make that so because of the power of Jesus Christ.
Thirty years or so after Peter has one of his last interactions with Jesus in the flesh, we get a glimpse of what might be one of the most exciting things about Peter’s journey, and it is some of the last recorded words of his own life in 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9 (ESV) before he was martyred for Jesus Christ:
As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Peter’s perspective is clear. Despite all the twists and turns in his life, Peter has become the “Rock” that Jesus promised him he would. As the leader of the 12, and eventual leader of the church in Jerusalem, Peter had finally discovered EXACTLY who Jesus was, is, and is to come. We see it all through the books that bear his name in 1 and 2 Peter. His mission was clear, and he would do anything he possibly could to live it out until he took his last breath upside down on a cross, in honor of the same Risen Savior that lives today. It is a triumphant story we can all identify with at one level or another.
And it is on that same journey we can walk with our Lord … IF only we will drop our nets and follow Jesus.
Revisit some of the key moments in Peter’s life for yourself.
SCENE 1 – “Peter’s Nets Begin to Break” – Luke 5:1-11
SCENE 2 – “Peter Makes a Confession” – Matthew 16:13-18; Matthew 16:21-23
SCENE 3 – “Peter’s Unworthy Feet”– John 13:6-10
SCENE 4 – “Peter’s Denial of Jesus Foretold” – John 13:36-38
SCENE 5A – “Peter’s Nets Are Repaired” – John 21:4-11
SCENE 5B – “Peter Restored” – John 21:15-17
EPILOGUE – Peter the “Rock” is Realized – 1 Peter 2:1-9
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
- What are some of the biggest things we can learn from Peter’s life?
- Where in your life do you, or have you, most identified with Peter?
- Who do you say that Jesus is?
- What are some of your biggest challenges with understanding God?
- What can you do today to go deeper, more in-depth with your relationship with God? What would help you accomplish that?
“ORIENTATION. DISORIENTATION. REORIENTATION.” SERIES IN REVIEW …