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Three Little Words May 20, 2010

Posted by Michelle Knoll in Devotionals.
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“I’m going fishing.”

Three words, that would apparently not mean all that much.  I mean, if I said those words, or if my husband said those words, no one would think much of it.  (On second thought, if my husband said those words, it might mean something because he doesn’t fish!  *grins*)

But these words said by a certain someone have significant meaning.  So much so, they were recorded for all time.

In the Bible.

By John, the disciple.

Peter said these words. 

What exactly did he mean by that comment?  I could be wrong, but I think they shed light on what was going on inside Peter.

He was struggling.  Deeply struggling, with who he was, with what had taken place during the last couple of weeks of his life, and with his position with the Lord.

“I’m going fishing.”

It was NIGHT TIME, for Heaven’s sake!  Peter wanted to go fishing at night, knowing full well a storm could come up, and there he would be on the water, by himself.  I’ve been fishing at night, without lights.  It’s a whole different ballgame.  It can be kinda scary, too.

But from Peter’s comment you almost get a sense of, “If I can’t do this disciple thing, then I’ll just go back to something I know I can do.”

Have you ever felt defeated?  Ever wanted to give up?  Has guilt over disappointing God ever tormented you to the point that you’ve considered leaving the faith?

“I’m going fishing.”

It had been more than a week since Jesus had risen from the dead.  Jesus had appeared to the disciples twice, and yet… Peter is not mentioned.  Now, I’m sure he was there, but there’s no mention of any interaction between Jesus and Peter specifically.  Had there been?  We don’t know.  Was Peter avoiding Jesus, because of all that had taken place between them?

Let’s review.  Peter had been pointed out at the Passover meal they had shared together (“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” — Luke 22:31-32)

Then, Peter made a bold claim to “fight to the death,” and Jesus had gently rebuked him for such a statement.  (But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” — Luke 22:33-34).  I’m sure that made Peter feel uncomfortable in front of the others. 

Then, he had been reprimanded by the Lord, right there in the garden, in front of the guards and the other disciples (Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” — John 18:18).  I’m sure that embarrassed him, though the Lord had good reason for saying it. 

Finally, Peter did deny the Lord three times, just like Jesus said he would.

Three strikes… you’re out.

“I’m going fishing.”

They didn’t catch anything.   They had been out ALL night long, with nothing to show for it.  Now, these weren’t casual weekend fishermen; they were professionals.  They did this for a living before they followed Jesus.  I can imagine the conversation between the others and Peter went something like this:

“Peter, the fish aren’t out tonight.  Let’s go home.”

“Nope.  Gonna catch something.”

“Peter… they aren’t here.”

“The fish will come.  We can do this.”

“Come on, Pete.  The fish are smarter than we are. They’ve gone to bed.  We should do the same thing.”

“NO!  I’m going to do this!”

“PETER!!  This is crazy!!  You can try again tomorrow!”

“NO!!!  I’m a fisherman!! It’s the one thing I know I can do!  If you don’t like it, there’s the shore! Go home!!”

(sigh) “Okay… we’ll keep trying…”

I feel for Peter, you know?  I think of the torment he must have been battling.  He had been pointed out — satan was wanting to sift him like wheat — and he probably was thinking, What does THAT mean??  He had made a bold claim to fight for Jesus, and Jesus had told him that he would do the exact opposite, to the point of denial.  He had tried to fight for Jesus in the garden, and Jesus had rebuked him openly.   

So at this point, sitting in his home, all he could think of was returning to his old way of life.  Out of his feelings of defeat, he probably didn’t remember the other comment Jesus had made to him at dinner:  “…but when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Why would Jesus say Peter would turn back, if He didn’t know that Peter was going to turn away?

“I’m going fishing.”

Three little words, but such a powerful statement. 

But Jesus knew.  He knew the thoughts that had been attacking his disciple, the battle that raged in Peter’s soul.  He knew Peter felt like giving up.

And that morning, He was waiting.  Waiting on the shore, building a fire, fixing breakfast.  Waiting… for Peter.

Friend, Jesus knows.  He knows right where you are, and He knows the battle that rages in your soul.  He knows how hard it’s getting.  He knows.

And He’s waiting.

Want some breakfast?

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