I grew up near the beach in a small fishing village in Florida. People who earn their living by fishing are some of the hardest working people I know. They are up before the sun and set out for the day’s catch regardless of the weather. But if you ask them if they would rather do something different for a living, they will look at you and say, “Never in a million years.” Fishermen love to fish.
Several of Jesus’ followers were fishermen, including Peter. When he put down his nets to follow Jesus, he also gave up his lifestyle and his profession. That is why it is interesting that in John 21 we encounter him back out on the water, fishing. Some scholars believe that after Peter’s three denials of Christ (Mark 14:66–72), he felt he had placed himself out of Jesus’ inner circle and therefore retreated to his former occupation. What Peter certainly didn’t expect was that Jesus would pursue him to talk about those courtyard denials.
The miraculous catch immediately got Peter’s attention (John 21:6–7), but it was the charcoal fire burning that would have reminded Peter of his rejection of Christ (v. 9). The only other time where the word for charcoal fire is used was at the scene of Peter’s denials (John 18:18). After their meal, Jesus turned to Peter. He asked Peter how much he truly loved Him (John 21:15a). Peter’s declaration of loving the Lord three times did not erase his three denials just days before (vv. 15b–17). However, it did create an avenue for a deeper relationship with Jesus. With each question, Jesus was giving Peter another chance. While Peter the fisherman would finally retire, Peter the follower of Jesus would never turn back again.
>> No matter how many times you have turned from the Lord, He is always standing on the shore of your life calling you back to Himself. Are you ready to truly follow Him?
“But we never can prove the delights of His love, until all on the altar we lay; for the favor He shows, and for the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey” (John H. Sammis). Today we choose trust and obedience to You.