I cannot begin to imagine how hard it must have been for my father to take me fishing as a boy. I think I will understand it better as I take our grandsons fishing … I am sure that I had very little patience, and that I expected to catch a huge fish on every cast. I’m sure that I ate more snacks … skipped more stones … looked into more bushes … caught more frogs … and many other things than I did actually focused on the fish. I have found that not much has changed between the times my Heavenly Father has taken me fishing. I tend to ask for something in prayer, and expect that magically it is going to appear. I expect God to make sure I catch a fish on every cast … of course; I’m not talking about literally fish now.
Peter had committed to serving Jesus Christ whole-heartedly. I don’t believe that Peter thought that denying Christ three times was a part of God’s plan. Don’t forget, those denials were no surprise to Jesus. He had told Peter very pointedly that he was going to do exactly what he did. Remember earlier when Jesus told Peter that Satan wanted to ruin his life, but that He had prayed for Peter? Peter’s denials were not a surprise to God. In the grand scheme of the plan for Peter’s life, I believe those denials would play an important role.
When Peter announced, “… I go a fishing …” (John 21:3), I believe that he was going back to the place he was before he met Jesus, and before the denials. I believe that Peter may have felt that Jesus would never want to use a flawed vessel for His service, and he reverted back to what he knew best. Imagine his disappointment when he finished fishing on that morning and had caught nothing! Now, the thing he thought would be good to return to was not even working out!
Jesus gently met Peter where he was (literally and spiritually) when He asked if Peter loved Him. Peter’s replies to the questions were so heartfelt, and honest. Twice Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with the deepest of love that would cause him to sacrifice his life for Christ. Twice Peter honestly answered, “I love You like a brother.” The third time Jesus asked the question, He asked Peter if he loved Him like a brother. What strikes my heart is that Jesus, after each of Peter’s answers, told him to feed His sheep.
You see, Jesus knew that if Peter would just continue fishing for men, he would be successful. Don’t quit too quickly on the plans God has for you in your life. If the Lord is in it, success will come; here or in Heaven!