Have you ever made a mistake? I am not talking about a small minor mistake, but a doozy of a mistake. The kind of mistake that you couldn’t believe you would make. You aren’t sure what happened but all you know is, you messed up.
I think Peter understood what it was like to be a failure. Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. He was supposed to be one of the ones who understood the ways of Jesus. We have multiple accounts of Peter making mistakes. There was that time when Peter went out on the water to meet Jesus. There was the time when Peter couldn’t stay awake when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. But perhaps the most humiliating failure, was when Peter denied being Jesus’ disciple or even knowing Jesus three times.
Our passage this Sunday as we continue in our series on the questions of Jesus is John 21:1-17…
21 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he showed himself in this way. 2 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. 3 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.
4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6 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. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he had taken it off, and jumped into the sea. 8 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.
9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 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. 12 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. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
This text has two storylines intertwined, fish and sheep. Is Jesus talking in riddles, what do we make of these stories?
Why does Jesus ask Peter the same question, three times? What is the significance of asking the same question three times? Is there any significance that several other disciples were present during these questions? What do you make of Peter’s emotions at the end of Jesus’ question, the third time?
Do we let our past mistakes get in the way of drawing closer to Jesus?
Let’s talk about it on Sunday.
~ Pastor Dustin