Mark 16:5-7 “And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”
Jesus had warned him that this day would come.
A day that would be so devastating that he might lose faith. A day in which he would be touched to the very core of his being. All that he had believed. All that he had given himself to in these last three years hung in the balance.
Jesus warned Peter:
Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
Bold Peter. Impetuous Peter. His response revealed that he understood not the gravity of what Christ was trying to tell him.
Luke 22:33 “And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”
Saying he was ready and genuinely being prepared were two vastly different scenarios. Jesus knew what his close follower was going to face. He knew that he was going to get through it. Yet, the tipping point for Peter was, what was he going to choose when he had failed so miserably?
We have all failed our Savior at one time or another. What we do after we fail matters significantly. In Peter’s case, he needs reassurance.
Knowing that all Jesus had said was now unfolding before them, the disciples had a rough go at handling what to do next. The women that had been to the grave told of an angel and delivered the message.
The very fact that the angel said, “But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”
Peter did not feel much like a disciple of Christ after his failure. Knowing that his trial was designed and delivered by Satan, should tell us that the oppression he was undergoing was intense.
We have all heard that voice that accuses us when we fall.
“How can you call yourself a child of God?”
“How could God love you after what you’ve done?”
All true. All are condemning and convicting. Peter’s spirit was under attack and on life support. The angel’s declaration, ‘and Peter,’ meant that he was feeling like he had lost and was unworthy of being called a disciple of Jesus. To the place we find him going back to his old profession – fishing.
Jesus knew the power Peter had to lead. So did the enemy. As Peter took off to go back into the world, others followed.
John 21:2-3 “There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.”
Altogether, there were seven of them in the boat that day.
Jesus shows up and calls out to them.
John 21:4-5 “But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.”
He reveals Himself to them in the miracle of the catch they subsequently struggled to retrieve. John recognized that it was Jesus and told Peter.
I cannot imagine the extreme desire in the heart of Peter that day to get to Jesus. He left the boat in such a hurry to swim ashore and meet Him. The mercy, grace, and forgiveness displayed by the Savior to Peter is a tender example to all.
John 21:15 “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”
Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?”
Three times Peter responded in the affirmative.
John 21:17 “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
Jesus proves to Peter that there is still work to do. He has not failed so badly as to have disqualified him as a disciple. Jesus subtly reminds us all that His work on the cross forgave ALL sins, past, present, and future.
For some, our sin has removed us from a particular position. Take heart, dear reader, as long as you have breath in your body, God can still use you. You may not be what you were once. But God, in His love and mercy, allows us to continue to serve Him with our life.