On the first day of the week, some of the women followers of Jesus went to the tomb where He had been laid. But His Body was gone! Two men appeared to them and reminded them of all that Jesus had told them, including that He would be raised to Life.
The women ran back to the disciples and told them what had happened. Most of the disciples did not believe them, “because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” (Luke 24:11) However, Peter ran to the tomb.
It was true! Jesus was not there. Peter was still a man of action. He wanted to do something … but what? He did not know where Jesus was. Luke 24:12 records that Peter “went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” Perhaps Peter was not just wondering what had happened to Jesus, but he was also wondering what had happened to him.
Have you ever reached a point where you wondered what your life had been about and where you were going now? Sometimes the various seasons of our lives seem like unrelated dots in a vast, uncharted sky. We try to connect them in a way that makes everything flow together, ever climbing upward toward heaven, learning and growing.
But in fact, for some of us, our lives seem more like we’re learning to drive a stick shift. We lurch forward one minute, level out to a smooth ride, and suddenly we’re rolling backward on a steep hill, desperately trying to regain control.
Peter must have asked himself what his life had been all about. He had been a simple fisherman, who was in a predictable life. He grew up with fishing and he pretty well figured on fishing for the rest of his life. It was what people like him did. You never had to think about whether it was the right choice. You were just born into it and you lived the life.
Peter’s brother, Andrew, told him one day he had found the Messiah. Peter checked out this Jesus person for himself. Peter listened to Jesus from a distance at first. But there was that day when he had been washing his fishing nets near his boat. His boat just happened to be close to the crowd that was surrounding Jesus.
Much to his amazement, Jesus climbed into his boat and asked Peter to put out a little further into the water. Jesus taught from his boat. Peter later may have laughed, realizing how much Jesus had his number. Jesus found a way to get Peter closer to Him without making his feel threatened.
After Jesus finished speaking, he turned his attention to Simon, as Peter was called in those days, and said, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon was not used to taking orders from anyone and he felt obliged to tell Jesus how useless it was to go back out.
Simon told him, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.”
I imagine Peter reflecting on those times of getting to know Jesus. Peter smiled to himself. “I called Him Master, even then. I wonder how I knew that.”
Peter then also remembered saying, “Because You say so, I will let down the nets.”
Peter wondered if he had said that to prove to Jesus that He was wrong and he was right. He didn’t have much faith then, but Jesus took what he had and worked with it.
When they let down the nets, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break! So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They ended up with two boats filled so full they began to sink!
Simon recognized that his safe, predictable life was in peril. This kind of Power frightened him. He remembered telling Jesus, “Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!” Peter remembered it all, as if it were yesterday. “I called Him Lord. I wonder how I recognized Him.”
Peter now reflected on why he felt sinful that day. Peter remembered the way he felt when Jesus looked him in the eyes that day. It was like being next to a pure, white light that seemed to illuminate his very soul.
Peter shuttered, as he remembered recent history and the crowing of a rooster. He remembered that same Look in Jesus’ Eyes. Peter had wanted to cry out that day too, “Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man!” But the strange thing was that Peter felt drawn to that Light too, warmed by its Glow … and he longed for it now. He wanted to see that Look one more time. As emotional as Peter was, he was not prone to tears. But now he allowed himself to weep and feel the full longing of his heart to just be with Jesus.
Peter thought he knew himself pretty well. He knew he was a little mouthy. He was working on it. He was really trying to think before he just blurted things out. He remembered that day when Jesus had asked the group who men were saying He was. They had listed a bunch of people who had died. They sort of snickered at how everyone was trying to figure out just who Jesus was.
Jesus turned to him that day. He had that same Look, the Look that seemed like the Door to Infinite Knowledge. He remembered Jesus was asking him The Question. Even though there were people all around, Peter had felt like he and Jesus were the only ones in the universe. “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say that I am?”
Perhaps it was the Way Jesus said, “I AM.”
But Peter knew at that moment that he was in the Presence of God Himself.
He answered immediately, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”
Peter remembered Jesus’ Smile and the Way it always seemed to light up His Whole Body.
Jesus had said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in Heaven!” Peter was overwhelmed again when he remembered. Jesus had blessed him! He didn’t just say he had the right answer. He said God Himself gave him the Answer!
And then Jesus told Peter who he was. He had always been Simon, but Jesus told him he was Peter, the Rock. Peter was not so sure he liked that. Didn’t rocks have to stay in one place? But then Jesus had added that upon that rock, He would build His Church. Peter didn’t understand then … and he didn’t understand now. What church? And if Jesus had in mind building, He needed to show up. Where was He?
Peter waited for an answer. Peter searched for Jesus. But He didn’t come immediately. Finally, Peter knew what to do. What do we do when we think we waited long enough for Jesus to act and nothing seems to be happening? Many of us return to what we know. We go back to what we think is safe and familiar. Peter told his buddies, “I’m going fishing.” And they said, “We’ll go with you.”
Peter discovered a Truth on that fishing trip. Once you have been with the Master, fishing for men, fish just never look that good again! Stay tuned for the exciting continuation of what Jesus taught a man named Peter!