“After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, ‘I’m going fishing.’ The rest of them replied, ‘We’re going with you.’ They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him. Jesus spoke to them: ‘Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?’ They answered, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.’ They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’t strong enough to pull it in. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It’s the Master!’ When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.” John 21:1-9 (MSG)
Were you ever on a team that you wanted to quit? If you took music lessons, played baseball, or went to school, you probably wanted to quit at some point while you were growing up. Some activities you might have quit, but other things, like school, weren’t an option. You still had to go back the next day. Even though it wasn’t always fun, learning to persevere and not give up taught you a valuable life lesson.
Peter had enough. It was over, and he was done. He couldn’t wrap his mind around the events of the last few weeks. Peter had denied Jesus when Jesus was facing the greatest persecution of his life. Days later, Peter probably still had that sinking feeling in his stomach. He thought Jesus was going to set up his kingdom on earth, but instead he was sentenced to death. In the midst of it all, Peter probably was reminded that it was over, and he was through with his ministry. So, when bad became worse, Peter was ready to throw in the towel. Instead of moving forward, he reverted back to his old way of life. Peter was a fisherman by trade; it was the thing that was familiar. So, as Peter went to the sea and got in a boat to fish, the other disciples with him in Galilee decided to go fishing too. Peter’s decision not only impacted himself; he influenced those around him. Then it happened. They were unsuccessful at the very thing that had been their livelihood for years. They didn’t catch any fish. Can you imagine the emotions that were stirring in that boat? I wonder if Peter was recounting what he viewed as failure on top of failure. Then, Jesus walked into the picture and challenged the men in the boat. Throw the net off of the right side of the boat. They had probably done it all night. How would one more time change anything? Yet, when the boat began to strain under the weight of the fish, Peter realized that Jesus had come to him even after he wanted to call it quits. Sometimes in life, our backs are against the wall. We run out of options; our failure becomes so large in our minds. In the midst of those moments, it can be easy to want to give up. Instead of fighting for the struggling marriage, it seems that it would be easier to end it. Instead of pursuing the dream God placed in your heart, it seems that it would be easier to simply forget about it. The interesting thing about Peter walking back to the boat and fishing is that it is so like you and me. When God doesn’t come through for us in the way that we thought he would, we think that it must be over. But even in those moments, I dare say that Jesus is standing on the shore of our lives, asking us, ” what are you doing?” Then, he reaches out and challenges you to follow him one more time. God was not willing to let Peter throw in the towel, because Jesus saw what Peter could not. Jesus saw Peter leading thousands of people to Jesus, healing the sick, and discipling people in their faith. Peter’s God-given destiny was so great that Jesus did not want him to forfeit the blessing of God on his life. And Jesus sees in your life that which you cannot see. So, before you throw in the towel, reach out to Jesus. He is watching and waiting for you to come home.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.