Rev. Jonathan Latham

Rev. Jonathan Latham

John 21:1-19

Simon was a fisherman who made his living by netting fish in the Sea of Galilea. One day, after a fruitless night of work, Jesus told him to go into the deep water and again cast his net. Though hesitant, he followed the Lord’s instructions, and to his amazement, Simon netted a massive catch of fish. As soon as he got to the shore, Simon fell to his knees and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” However, instead of leaving, Jesus called Simon to be a fisher of men. From this point, Simon left his chosen profession and followed the Lord.

Jesus had renamed Simon. He said, “You are Simon, the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, ‘A Stone.’).” John 1:42

So, Simon is now called Cephas in Aramaic, which is translated Petros in Greek, and Peter in English. Whatever the translation, Peter was looked upon by others as a leader who would stand firm for Jesus — “firm as a rock.” Yes, it was this Rock who stepped bravely into the stormy sea to walk to Jesus. That courageous Rock who sliced off a soldier’s ear to protect Jesus. The dedicated Rock who proclaimed his steadfast faithfulness to Jesus. Yet, it was this same Rock that crumbled while warming his hands at the Devil’s campfire and three times denying he ever knew Jesus — his Lord who would soon die on the cross.

After the resurrection, Jesus did not forget his Apostles. He came to them and commissioned them to go and tell others the good news of His resurrection and the salvation He offers to all who will believe. Yet, did Jesus mean to include Peter? Indeed, that cowardly betrayal must be too evil for forgiveness. Bearing his guilt, Peter felt it was time to go fishing again.

Back to his old job on the Galilean Sea, Peter and some of the other Apostles worked all night but caught nothing. In the early morning, the Lord called and asked, “Children, have you any food.” Receiving their negative reply, He then told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat. Miraculously, the net filled with fish. Seeing this, Peter jumped into the water and swam to the beach. The same shore where Jesus had first called him to be a fisher of men three years before. So many thoughts must have overwhelmed the big fisherman. How unfaithful and worthless he must have felt. What could he do? Peter was nothing but a big hypocrite!

Nevertheless, Jesus did not rebuke him or condemn him. Instead, He fed him breakfast and then lovingly repaired this broken Rock. Many Christians feel they are too damaged to be forgiven by Jesus. However, Peter shows us that Jesus is willing and able to fix anyone who responds to Him in faith.

By the way, going fishing is great fun and even better when Jesus is with you.

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