I did it again.
God must be tired of me. Not just habitual refusing, but straight defiance and intentional denial. Looking at my options, seeing a way out and still refusing to choose Him.
I'm too far gone.
I can't be the only one that feels this way.
What does God think of you when you are an absolute failure?
Peter. One of Jesus' disciples. One of Jesus' inner three. On the night that Jesus was taken by the Roman guards, Peter flees. He ran when Jesus needed him, but not only that, as he is sitting around a campfire, (Luke 22:54-62) someone asks him, "Hey, don't you know that Jesus guy?" Peter responds with, "no". They ask him again "No, we saw you with him, you're one of them." Peter responds again with, "No, I don't know him." They say to him a third time, "We know you are one of those Jesus' guys!" Not only does Peter deny Jesus a third time, he begins to curse to prove he is not one of those religious guys. It's recorded that not only did the rooster crow, but Jesus looked right at him. Peter's reaction was what a lot of our reactions are, He ran.
John 21 recounts the story of Jesus meeting Peter where he is at, after Peter had failed him. But not just messed up, completely denying and running from Jesus. Where I think a lot of us are at. Myself included.
What does Jesus do?
Peter ran and went back to fishing, Forgetting what Jesus had called him to do. He basically said "I've failed, I'm done. I'll go back to what I was doing before."
Jesus comes to him, and yells to them from shore saying, "Have you caught any fish?"
They respond from on the boat. "No."
Jesus yells back, "Cast your net on the right side of the boat."
They do, and they are not able to haul in the amount of fish.
If that sounds familiar, it's because this isn't the first time Jesus has performed this miracle. This is the exact same miracle that Jesus does to call Peter the first time. This isn't an accident. This is Jesus calling to Peter directly. And Peter realizes it.
Peter's response is how I hope you can respond.
"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" (v.7)
When Peter finds out that it is Jesus calling to him, he RUNS to him. Full force, no hesitation.
Peter gets to the shore, and there on the shore, a charcoal fire was built. This may not seem important but it is. The only other time that a charcoal fire is mentioned is when Peter is sitting around a fire, and those people were asking him, "Do you know Jesus?" That fire was a charcoal fire, just like this one.
What Jesus is doing is recreating where the relationship was broken. To meant, and to move on.
Jesus then asks Peter one question. "Do you love me?"
Peter cries, "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."
"I know you do, come on then, lets go, there's sheep out there."
Jesus asks again, "Do you love me?"
"Yes Lord, you know that I love you"
"I know you do buddy, let's go then, there's sheep out there."
Jesus asks a third time, "Do you love me?"
Peter grieved saying, "Yes Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
"Then let's not stay here! There is a hurting world out there that needs me. And you need to be the one to tell them! I saw what you did, it was wrong, it was a mistake, but the Cross already paid for it! We have to move past it. There are sheep out there, Peter!"
The door is still open. No matter what you have done. No matter where you have gone. What you did, with whoever you did it with. The Cross was enough, the door is open and the world needs you to tell them about The Savior who can forgive anyone.
I'm writing this for myself as well. I messed up again. I went places I shouldn't have. But the door is still open for me. Jesus has his arms out wide for you.
There is a world out there that needs us to not sit in our guilt and shame, but run into the arms of a Savior who asks, already knowing the answer to, "Do you love me?" He asks so that we can answer for ourselves.
A constant reminder after we fail.
"Yes Lord, you know that I love you."
His response will always be,
"I know you do. Follow Me"
*Photo by Ramond Pow in Sirmione, Italy (2016)