After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.”
He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea.
But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off. When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
Simon Peter gives me such hope for myself. He seems to say and do all the right things one moment, then sticks his foot in his mouth the very next moment. He is fiercely faithful and ardent in his following of Jesus, yet he is the one that denies Jesus three times. The Bible is filled with stories of his foibles and eventually his great leadership of becoming the “rock” upon which the church is built.
This moment to me is where it all happens. Fresh off the humiliation of hearing the rooster crow a third time, sitting in a fishing boat as a place of refuge, while trying to figure out what is next in his life other than grief, Simon and the others have caught nothing. As they are preparing to come in with no catch to speak of, a stranger calls to them to put their nets on the other side of the boat. They must have thought him crazy, but they did it.
As soon as the nets tighten, Simon Peter recognizes the familiarity of the scene, the voice of the stranger and the power of the moment. He dives in and swims with all his might to the one he’d recently denied. This Easter season it is worth nothing when we exhibit characteristics of Mary at the tomb, Thomas in the locked house, and Simon Peter swimming with all out might. These heroes of the faith remind us of our own humanity as we seek to love and serve, even when we are heartbroken or doubtful.
This Monday devotion is brought to you by Campbell University’s Center for Church & Community.