Summary: Why would Jesus have breakfast with Peter on the seashore? And why would He ask Peter 3 times if he loved Him?
OPEN: About 25 years ago I went my parents up to have a vacation in Canada at a place called Rice Lake.
It was a great place. Beautiful lake, rustic cabin, and there was the fishing.
(I showed a picture of myself baiting my hook with a very unexcited look on my face)
This is me fishing.
Do I look excited?
Nope, I don’t, do I?
That’s because I’ve never really enjoyed fishing.
You remember the part in the story of the disciples out fishing where they’ve been out on the lake all night long?
If anybody’s not gonna catch a fish… it’s me.
Frankly, it’s a lot more fun to fish if you’re actually catching fish.
(Picture of a much happier me holding a fairly good size fish)
As you can see, I’m having a lot more fun now.
In fact, every time I threw my line in the water… I caught a fish.
(Picture of myself standing at the helm of an old sailing ship with a look of command on my face)
In fact, I caught so many fish that I gave some thought to buying my own fishing boat.
But that’s a whole different story.
The story we’re looking at this morning talks about another fishing story…
But the story actually began a few days before this.
A few days before, Jesus has had a Passover meal with His disciples and we’re told that “when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same. (Mark 14:26-31)
Well, we all know the rest of that story.
Jesus was arrested.
Peter denied Jesus 3 times before the cock had crowed twice.
AND all the disciples scatter like sheep.
It’s not their finest moment!
Three days later Peter hears the tomb is empty, and he hears about the angels and that Jesus has risen from the dead… and he runs to see if it’s true. And it is!!!
The tomb IS empty!
But then we're told that that Peter "went away, wondering to himself what had happened." (Luke 24:12)
There’s a song by a famous singer named Don Francisco wrote a song called “He’s Alive” that tells the rest of the story this way:
“…something strange had happened there, but just what, I did not know.
John believed a miracle, but I just turned to go.
Circumstance and speculation couldn't lift me very high.
'Cause I'd seen them crucify Him and then I saw Him die.
Back inside the house again the guilt and anguish came.
Everything I'd promised Him just added to my shame.
When at last it came to choices - I denied I knew His name.
And even if He was alive… it wouldn't be the same.”
There are many scholars who believe that that’s exactly how Peter responded to the resurrection.
He was despondent and filled with anguish.
It wasn’t that He wasn’t excited to see Jesus risen from the dead.
It’s just that he KNEW he’d betrayed Christ.
He knew he’d failed.
He knew that he’d made a promise and did exactly what he said he wouldn’t do.
And when at last it came to choices - he denied he knew His name.
And even if Jesus were alive… it wouldn't be the same.
So, what’s he gonna do about it?
Well, he’s going fishing.
And he’s not going fishing for a couple of hours… or a couple of days… or a couple of weeks. He’s going back to what he knows.
He’s failed at being a follower of Christ, BUT he knows how to fish.
And it’s at this turning point in his life that Jesus comes to pay him a visit.
It’s been a miserable night.
They’ve been out all night and they’ve caught nothing.
And then this stranger appears on the shore and asks how they’re doing.
"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.
Now Jesus has done this exact thing once before.
Back when Jesus first met Peter and James and John he said to Simon Peter, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch."