Commitment often requires a release of comfort.
Peter found himself in that boat (literally and figuratively).
See, he had just walked 3 years with an amazing man who he believed to be the incarnated Christ, the Messiah his people had heard about and awaited for generations upon generations, saw miracles the likes of which he never believed possible, and just prior to the day everything fell apart, had been commissioned to continue the work that He started.
But then, his faith was tested. His promise felt a million miles away, and his hope looked less like a rock but rocky water, the water he had even walked upon, and so when we see Peter after the crucifixion and the resurrection, he has returned to the comfort of the boat. And this time, he wasn’t thinking about walking on the water, but simply staying afloat.
Have you been there?
When all that I believed with my whole heart would happen and had faith to receive and even in some part witnessed its appearing, fell apart, and I was left with my guilt and my shame and the knowledge that I hadn’t done well under pressure, and like Peter, I had a choice to move forward in my commission, committed to the call or return to what I knew, what was comfortable.
So, Peter witnesses the resurrection and hears again the voice of his Teacher and Leader but eventually finds himself apart from fishing men and back to simply fishing. Why? Because somewhere between the two gardens, he lost sight of the passion that recognized his purpose.
Guilt has a way of stealing our resolve. Fear has a way of dissolving our confidence.
But, Jesus knew something was yet to be done, and there was no question in His mind where He would find His disciple, so He meets him where He knows the truth must be revealed, on the shore of the sea, with a warm fire.
The scene played out similar to the few years before when Jesus found them, only this time the men weren’t catching anything and Jesus shows up re positions them and they can’t contain their catch. Then, He doesn’t question them, He invites them to a meal.
Isn’t that like God?
I’m not here to shame you. We both know that where you are isn’t where I sent you, but I want to show you something, grace, and from that place you will see that I am committed to you, first.
And He did.
“Do you love me, Peter?”
“Yes Lord, you know I do!”
“Then feed My sheep.”
That’s what happens, isn’t it? We get off track. We lose sight of truth and purpose for any number of reasons, and He doesn’t shame us or condemn us, He reminds us of relationship and beckons us to share that with others. In that very moment, Jesus was modeling for Peter what He saw in Peter. It might be bold of me to suggest that Jesus knew He disappointed Peter. He knew that the way things played out were completely contrary to the dreams and longings of His follower, and He knew that in order for Peter to move forward, He had to meet him with grace and remind him of love.
If I may, here is what I read between the lines:
“Peter, I’m sorry. I know that you got confused and frustrated and doubted Who I am, but I’m here and all the things I said to you are still true. I love you. I believe in you, and I am here to show you that by feeding you, again. Nothing has changed. And, Peter, just like I am offering this grace to you, I want you to go out and offer it to others – the ones that mocked me, the ones that crucified and hung me and even now gloat that they took care of Me once and for all – I want you to love them and share my love with them and teach them what I have taught you. I want you to know that I love you, and I called you and I haven’t failed as you feared, but I have victory you can’t even fathom, and I still choose you.”
Commitment was borne of that conversation. The one we don’t read, but the one we hear in our heart daily, “Trust me. I love you. I chose you. Come back. I believe in you and no matter where you find yourself today, tomorrow is another day where you can still walk out your purpose.”
Grace has a way of restoring what we’ve lost and love has a way of building our confidence.
Peter walked away from that fire, on fire, reminded of his purpose and empowered by the love of his Savior, and Jesus meets you and I with that same grace and love, no matter where we find ourselves, because our purpose is so much bigger than our fears and our convictions must fuel our commitment, regardless of our comfort.