Summary: First person narrative from Peter’s perspective
I don?t think I could ever look down at fish on a fire without remembering one of the most special days of my life. This particular day was the third time the Lord had revealed himself to some of us disciples since his death on the cross.
On this particular day there were seven of us together. It was a very confusing time for all of us. First Jesus was dead. Knowing the last thing I did before His death was to deny even knowing Him, not once but three times, this was one of the lowest points of my life. Then came the excitement of that Sunday morning when we found that He was no longer dead but had risen and lived again.
Everyone was excited. Jesus appeared to ten of us in a locked room. Thomas wasn?t there. Thomas wouldn?t believe anything we told him. Then Jesus came back again a week later. This time Thomas too saw Jesus and believed.
It was all so exciting, at least for everyone around me. I was quite concerned. I walked around in a bit of a stupor. I couldn?t help remembering Jesus? haunting words on the night of His arrest, "Before the cock crows you will betray me three times." He knew what I was going to do. He knew it better than I did. He knew what I was going to do before I ever thought about it and it was something I thought I would never do. Yet I did deny Him. It was one of the stupidest things I have ever done. And, like any human, I have participated in my fair share of stupidity. In spite of all of that, however, Jesus still wanted me there to share the Passover meal with Him and all of the disciples. The love and understanding the Lord has is absolutely amazing.
When we gathered together late that night, I didn?t have any idea what to do, so I decided to do what I knew best. I said, "I am going fishing." I guess to the others it sounded like a good idea. There?s nothing like a little fishing to relieve your mind of what?s bothering you. Or, at least that is what I thought.
We put the boat out, lowered the nets, and brought them back up - EMPTY! I guess it was a bit of a metaphor for what my life was feeling like. For so long I felt like I had the world by the tail. I was part of a successful fishing business. Then Jesus came along and I decided to cast my lot with Him for a while. It was really great too, I became one of His most trusted disciples. I saw Him perform so many miracles. He healed so many people. He even had me walk on the water. Me, a fisherman from Galilee, walking on the water. Who would have ever guessed it? I certainly wouldn?t have. Then, came that awful week. Jesus was arrested, I betrayed Him, and the Romans killed Him. It was bad, really bad. Truly it was the worst time of my entire life.
Now, after all of that, I didn?t really know if Jesus would have anything to do with me any more. I just wanted to get away from all the hoopla. I wanted to get back to my roots. I wanted to get back to what I knew best, fishing. Now I couldn?t even manage to do that right. Over and over again, we put down the nets and would bring them back empty. I think it was like all the fish in the sea had just disappeared. Or, I had just forgotten how to catch them.
I don?t know why when we were so used to being together, but I was kind of surprised when the others wanted to come with me. I expected to be alone. I guess I thought that after I betrayed the Lord they would want to distance themselves from me. I guess the idea of going fishing was more appealing than I was threatening.
After a long hard night, we had nothing, I mean nothing, not even the tiniest fish to show for it. As daybreak came there was a man cooking something on the beach. We couldn?t see who he was, he was too far away. He hollered out to us to cast our nets on the other side of the boat. When we did, boy did we catch fish. There were a total of 153 and the nets weren?t broken at all. All of this seemed really familiar. It was kind of like a dejavu experience. When John said, it is the Lord, I remembered why. I remembered the time right after I first met Jesus. He used my boat to teach from. We had had another night of fishing with nothing to show for it. When he got through teaching he had me take to boat out to deeper water and lower my nets. I thought they would come back empty again, but they were so full we had to have the help of another boat to bring them all back. That was when I decided to go with Jesus. If he could do that I knew he could do great things.