When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him,[c] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! ~ John 13: 31-38
Peter’s First Denial
Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. ~ John 18: 15-18
Peter’s Second and Third Denials
As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.”One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. ~ John 18: 25-27
I have walked with the Lord and seen the mighty works for which He has done. However, much like Peter, I refused to deny the Lord, only to have that denial blow up in my face several times. But this passage really opened my eyes, and God allowed me to see His victorious promise for my future.
When I was 17, I accepted the Lord’s calling on my life for ministry. I will never forget that day. I very presence of God felt like it was on me. However, being a young Christian, I was not prepared for the attacks from the enemy that were to come. I withdrew from church after a break up with the girl I had been dating. I soon found myself right back in the company of old friends and old habits.
After much journeying, searching for the peace I once had as a 17 year old, I found myself back in church and searching for my purpose and hopefully a redemption of my calling. I became the youth intern at a church in Denton, where the Lord was really working on me. I soon found myself following a call out to California. After a little over a year out there, I was back in Texas suffering from serve depression. Simply because I felt I had let the Lord down in what He had called me to do. I managed to push through, serving as a youth director in a growing church, only to find myself in the midst of a very painful divorce. That lead to me falling back once again in to the company of my old ways… destruction!
Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “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.” Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. ~ John 21: 1-25
Did you notice that Jesus comes and finds Peter (Simon Peter) in his old lifestyle. Gives him some sound advice on how to catch fish. Then restores him, even better than he was before he denied him. What a beautiful testimony of God’s unfailing mercy and grace. Much is the same in my life, I have denied Him, and run from Him to my old lifestyle, yet God’s call and love for me never stopped.
Several years later, and many painful tales (we’ll save all those for another time) I am broken before the Lord. My business has crashed, my finances are a joke, but instead of running from the Lord, I ran to Him… and oh my dear friends, what beauty lies there! I have found the piece, strength, power, grace, mercy and love I have always imagined having. The Lord, much like He did with Peter, has redeemed me and has redeemed my calling to ministry. Now, don’t get me wrong… I am scared to death! But I have seen what He has done in my life and the miracles He has preformed just to get me to this point and this time. He has emptied me and has given me a vision, a little glimpse of what is to come.
Have you run from the Lord? Have you denied Him? It’s not to late, pick up your cross and follow Him! And together, we can be fishers of men!
For more on my Testimony, see My Walk with Jesus Vol. 22