Christianity 201

August 3, 2021

Peter Returns to the Family Business

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

Today we introduce you to a new source for devotional material: Noah’s Writer’s Block. The man we know today as the Apostle Peter didn’t just deny Jesus that fateful day, but effectively denied his calling to share the good news of the Kingdom that Jesus preached; going back to his old job as a fisherman.

Click the header which follows to read this at Noah’s blog.

“Got Any Fish?”

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.”

So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.

The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.

John 21:3-11

All Christians have a “B.C. – Before Christ” phase, their lives before they were saved. Some do not change dramatically, but others leave lifestyles and decisions behind that they never want to relive.

Simon Peter’s “Before Christ” phase was fishing. Like most boys in his culture, he studied the Scriptures as a child, but at some point it was determined he was not going to be a disciple of a Rabbi, so he learned his family trade. It wasn’t necessarily a shame, because only the best got to follow Rabbis.

When Jesus found him, He called Simon to follow Him and become a fisher of men. He later changed Simon’s name to Peter and told him he would go on to lead the church. Peter was on track for things much greater than fishing. Then Jesus was arrested and executed. From Peter’s perspective, the worst part was when he denied knowing Jesus.
With Jesus seemingly gone, Peter decided to go back to the life he was used to: fishing. He assumed he couldn’t lead anyone, especially after claiming not to know the man he would have been trying to preach about. This time, it was a great shame to leave the life of a disciple for a simple trade.

The worst part is Peter could have tried to teach and share the good news, to be a fisher of men. He would not have gotten far without the giftings God would later grant him, but to return to fishing was the opposite of progress. It wasn’t a sinful lifestyle, but it was still disobedient.

Peter’s story may be painfully familiar to you. After a mistake, we can easily spiral back to the lives we thought we had left behind. Even if they are not sinful, they are not what God wants for us. God instructed us to put those things behind us and receive much better things, lives with eternal value.

That day, Peter didn’t even catch any fish. He must have felt like a failure at this job as well as the job Jesus called him to. Those of us who have found ourselves trapped in sin and greatly disappointed with ourselves have some idea of what it was like for him.

Jesus could have waited for Peter to get home and then appeared in his house, as He had with the other disciples. But instead, He came to Peter in the middle of his crisis and asked, “Got any fish?” as if to say, “So, you’re a fisherman again. How’s that working out for you?”

Jesus knew perfectly well that Peter didn’t have any fish; it almost seems like Jesus was rubbing it in. He could have let Peter row back to shore and then judged him for not only denying Him but then turning away from his mission. But instead, He did a quick miracle and filled Peter’s nets with fish. He gave Peter success in this trade he had given up following Jesus. But He did it to demonstrate that, honestly, Peter could be a failure at anything he tried without Jesus’ help.

When Peter eventually realized it was Jesus on the shore, he jumped off the boat to get to Him as quickly as possible. This was reminiscent of the time Peter had gotten out of a boat and walked on the water to Jesus. He’d stumbled with shaky faith then, too, but Jesus had helped him.

This time, as Peter threw himself at Jesus’ feet to apologize for what he’d done, Jesus just responded, “Go get those fish you caught.” Peter turned right around and got back on the boat to get the net of fish. He was getting back to following Jesus’ commands; Jesus was getting back to bringing blessings out of anything Peter put his hands to.

Peter’s mistakes are unfortunately easy to relate to, but Jesus spoke to him the same way He speaks to us, and Peter’s responses should be our model for faith, repentance, and obedience. Even when you stumble, God doesn’t abandon you, so you need not abandon His calling for your life.


This is part of a series that Noah is writing called “Rhetorical Questions.” Here are links to a few more:

Going to the home page will take you to more in the series.

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