It's an intriguing and instructive scene on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in John 21.
- The unsuccessful, all-night fishing venture of Peter and his buddies represent a return to the old life, and points us to the power of leadership.
- The disciples' hauling 153 fish to shore when they see and listen to Jesus represent what should be the full-time "occupation" of every Christian (Matthew 4:19; Luke 19:13).
- The fish and bread on the fire and the invitation to come and dine represent what awaits us on the heavenly shore (see John 11:43-44 w/ John 12:1-2; Revelation 3:20; Luke 22:16, 18, 30; Revelation 19:9).
After the meal, Jesus starts a conversation with Simon Peter. Three times Jesus asks Simon the same question (vv. 15-17), Simon son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Verse 17 notes that Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time…
Why do you think Jesus asked the question 3 times? Didn't Peter answer the same way each time? Why do you think it grieved Peter the third time Jesus asked? Was he just annoyed at having to answer the same question 3 times over?
Perhaps this all has something to do with something else that happened 3 times in Peter's life. Mark 14:30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Aren't you glad that God is loving and forgiving? For every time that Peter denied knowing or having anything to do with the Lord, Jesus here gives Peter an opportunity to declare his love for Him! Praise the Lord.
Have you ever denied your Savior? Have you kept your mouth shut when an opportunity arose to speak on God's behalf (Job 36:2)? Have you prayed for open doors to preach the gospel (Colossians 4:3) then stood there and stared at the doors God opened without bothering to walk inside? I know I have.
And I'm sure glad that God doesn't just cast me aside – like He could. I'm thankful that God doesn't just get me out of the way and kill me and take me to heaven – like He could. I'm glad He's merciful and longsuffering enough to give me another chance to PROVE that I love Him by speaking up and telling others about the Savior.
Notice that Jesus expected Peter's love to be evidenced in certain ways. Namely, Feed my sheep and Follow me. I'm certain that almost all of us, if asked, would claim to love the one who suffered and bled and died to take away our sins and give us the free gift of everlasting life. But one more time, let's stop and ask ourselves if the lives we live demonstrate the love we would claim to have for Jesus Christ.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Do we witness (Mark 16:15)? Are we separated from the world unto God (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)? Do we love your brothers and sisters in Christ (John 15:12, 17)? We can sit in church and sing songs like "O, How I Love Jesus" or "My Jesus I Love Thee" all we want, but Peter got it right in John 21. Lord; thou knowest...
What evidence does God see when he looks at your life? Evidence that you love Him, or evidence that you deny Him?