In the last chapter in the Book of John, we learn about Jesus’ conversation with Peter. The other three Gospels don’t record this meeting. Personally, I really needed to hear it. Peter was very close to Jesus, yet he denied him when he was confronted by Jesus’ accusers, just as Jesus had told him he would.
Jesus had already appeared to them and told them to, “Be at peace.” This message was for all of them, but I longed to hear a more personal account between Peter and Jesus. John does not disappoint.
Seven of the disciples were together. I’m sure they were spending most of their time together after all that they had witnessed. Peter announces that he’s going fishing. The others want to go too. They were fishing at night, something that was common in their time. I would love to know what their conversation was like. These men were forever changed and would soon be the foundation of the new Christian church. What did they talk about?
Peter, James and John were fishermen, by trade when Jesus called them. Maybe they were just trying to do something that seemed normal to them. Early in the morning, Jesus was standing on the shore, (but they didn’t recognize him). He basically called out to them and asked, “Catch anything?” The told him, no. Jesus told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat. They did.
The net was so full, that they couldn’t get it into the boat. John knew immediately that it was Jesus. He says, “It is the Lord.”
Peter, in true Peter fashion, puts on his outer garment, (his tunic), jumps into the water and swims to Jesus. It was about a hundred yards, the length of a football field. The other six disciples follow in the boat, towing the fish behind them, but Peter couldn’t wait. He just couldn’t get to Jesus fast enough. What would our world look like if we all sought Jesus that passionately and desperately?
Have you ever felt a deep need for Jesus? Peter did. When they arrived, Jesus had a fire going with some fish on it and some bread. He tells them to bring some of the fish they have caught. Peter climbs back on the boat and helps them drag in the 153 large fish, that didn’t tear the net.
They all knew it was Jesus. He invites them to breakfast. Eating is a human need. Dining together is what communities do. He simply invites them to eat the bounty he has just provided.
When they are finished eating, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him more than the other disciples. Peter replies that he does. He asks him two more times and Peter’s feelings are hurt. Each time Peter replies yes, Jesus says to either feed his sheep, feed his lambs or take care of his sheep.
Why does Jesus ask him three times? The scripture doesn’t say. Perhaps it’s so that Peter will know that even though he denied Jesus three times, Jesus still loves him and trusts him to bring people to him. He then tells him that he will die in a way to glorify God. Church tradition says that Peter was crucified upside down because he didn’t feel like he was worthy to be executed the same way Jesus was. Peter will willingly die for Jesus.
Jesus tells him, “Follow me!” (Notice the exclamation point?”) Peter wants to know what’s going to happen to John. Jesus says, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” I take that to mean that everyone’s faith journey is different. God has a different plan for each one of us. John’s was different that Peter’s. Among other things, John goes on to write the Book of Revelation.
John ends this Gospel by saying that Jesus did many other miraculous things that aren’t recorded here, but if they were all written down, the whole world wouldn’t have room for the books that would be written.
And that my friends, is the Gospel of John. Thanks so much for reading along with me. I hope this study has made Lent and Easter more meaningful for you. It has for me. I would love to hear your thoughts on our last reading or on the study in general.