Summary: There are times when people for one reason or another may drift back to where they were before when they were awakened spiritually.
This past Sunday, I saw a movie called “Awakenings”. It was based on a true story of the work of Dr. Sayer. Dr. Sayer had been working with some patients who were survivors of encephalitis which a disease that spread to epidemic proportions from 1915-1926. After 1930, there were not any more cases reported. Encephalitis was a disease that was never isolated to its root cause. It involved swelling of the brain and left its patients in a trance like state. They existed, but they were not sociable. It was like they were living but socially dead. Dr. Sayer experimented and tried to see if any of these patients would respond. It was if others in the medical field had given up any hope of ever reaching these patients. Dr. Sayer was an exception to this rule. He kept working with these patients until one day he discovered the medication and the dose of that medication that would bring them back. It was successful. The results of his discovery were miraculous. It was as if he had brought the living dead back to life. However, later, the effects of the medication eventually wore off and the patients started drifting back to a trance like state.
There was a time in the life of the disicple Peter, when he was asleep spiritually. After he met Jesus, he was awakened spiritually. However, before Jesus was arrested and taken into custody just before he was crucified, Jesus had warned Peter that he would deny knowing Him. Jesus told Peter that before the cock crowed he would deny Him three times (Matthew 26:31-35). After Peter denied Jesus those three times, he seemed to feel as if he could no longer be the disciple that he had once been. As a result, he was drifting back to becoming a fisherman until Jesus reminded him that he had been called to be a fisher of men.
There are times when people for one reason or another may drift back to where they were before when they were awakened spiritually. The spiritual disease of this type sometimes, if not always has to do with the loss of hope. Hope begins to dissolve because of guilt or resignation due to loss of dreams and/or enthusiasm. In Peter’s case, guilt was the underlying factor. Peter was returning to his occupation as a fisherman. It seems that he was abandoning the type disciple that he had once been. Part of his abandonment was, it seems, due to his guilt of having denied that he knew Jesus three times. The other part of it was, it seems, due to his loss of purpose and meaning as a disciple of Jesus.
Imagine for a moment that you were Peter. Wouldn’t you have felt the same way that he did? Wouldn’t you have felt like you had lost your purpose? Wouldn’t you have abandoned hope as he seemed to be doing? Remember the words of Jesus in John 15:5, “Apart from me you can do nothing?” Peter obviously did not feel as though he was connected with Jesus any more. And for just a brief time, he even began to feel like a failure as a fisherman due to his lack of success. It was as if Peter had truly given up on Jesus. But, then something wonderful, something soul-shocking was soon to happen to Peter.
HELP IS ON THE WAY
Peter was soon going to have a revelation. Jesus had not given up on him. Why? Jesus knew Peter’s heart and character. Jesus saw in Peter what he could not see in himself. Jesus saw Peter’s gift. Yes, Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times. Yes, Peter followed Jesus after they had arrested Jesus from a distance. And when the rooster crowed a third time he found out how Satan had indeed sifted him like sand. Peter felt as though Jesus could never have any use for him again. But, Jesus was not finished with Peter. After all, wasn’t it Peter that Jesus called the rock on whom he would build his church (Matthew 16:18)? Jesus knew even then what was going to happen. Jesus knew that Peter would later deny Him three times. But, Jesus also knew that Peter was the man for the job of launching the building of the church.
So what was Peter’s revelation you ask? Peter’s revelation was that Jesus reinstated and restored Peter. Jesus had never disowned Peter as His disciple. It was Peter himself who had given up on whatever plans God had for him. Jesus had called Peter to be a fisher of men (Luke 5:2-11, Matthew 4:19) and not a fishermen. Peter had forgotten about that until he was awakened to the revelation that it was Jesus on the shore coaching some fishing instructions that proved to be successful. Earlier, in Luke 5:8, Jesus had given Peter some fishing lessons that proved to be successful after a fishing expedition that was a failure. That was when Peter told Jesus to depart because Peter was an evil man. One of the other disciples recognized the fact that this person on the shore was Jesus (John 21:7). When Peter heard what he said he put his outer garment back on dove out of the boat and swam back to Jesus (John 21:7). In fact, the way that the text reads, Peter left the boat so fast that the others had to get the boat back to shore without his help.