Several years ago, I helped put the story below together for Under Over Fellowship’s Good Friday service. We did a four part reading of the story of Easter from Peter’s perspective. I would like to share it with you. I posted a portion of the story Thursday (see Maundy Thursday), Friday (Good Friday), yesterday (The Dark Before the Dawn), and today, Easter Sunday.
PART FOUR OF FOUR
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
This is an account of Easter, the day Jesus was raised from the dead.
When the women returned from the tomb and spoke of what they saw, I jumped. I was running. I had to know and to see that Christ had risen from the dead. If He was, maybe, just maybe, I could be renewed. Maybe Jesus would forgive me. I had to be the first to get to the tomb, to see, to touch, to realize, to be healed.
The women delivered Jesus’ message to us, the disciples. We were to go to Galilee and wait form him there. So we went.
Jesus wasn’t there to meet us when we arrived. We had to wait, and wait. I got so tired of waiting that I wondered if Jesus would ever come back to find me. At that moment, it didn’t seem like He would. So I told the others, “I’m going out to fish.” I had to return to what I knew and trusted. My failures loomed over me. My denial of Jesus plagued me. I just couldn’t shake the thought of what I did.
I still nursed my terrible shame. So I returned to the familiar, to forget the past, and to seek out a living doing what I was comfortable with. The first night back on the water, I caught nothing.
I had failed as a disciple. Now I was failing at fishing. How could I go on living like this? How could I carry on?
Suddenly a voice called out from the shore. I looked up, startled. The voice called out, “Friends, have you caught any fish? Throw your net on the other side and you will find some.”
I did what he said. I picked up the nets and tossed them on the other side, and what a catch! So much that the net was too heavy to haul in.
That is when I heard John proclaim, “It’s the Lord!”
That’s all I needed to hear. I jumped in the water and swam to the shore as fast as I could. But when I got there I couldn’t even speak. I was unable to talk, to even approach the one I ran away from, the one I denied. The one I crucified.
I needed Jesus to graciously reach out to me. I knew I couldn’t take being rebuked. I did not know what I needed at the time, but now I know I needed so much for Jesus to rehabilitate me, to forgive me, to make me new again.
When we finished eating, Jesus said to me, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” I said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
I answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to me, “Simon son of John, do you love me?
I was hurt because Jesus asked me for the third time, “Do you love me?” I replied, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, 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 to where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which I would glorify God. Then He said to me, “Follow me!”
On that day, Jesus assured me that I could still be used by God. Even after all I had done, I still had the freedom to love God and serve Him. There was no condemnation in my failures. There was grace and forgiveness because of Easter. There was grace and forgiveness because of the Gospel. There was grace and forgiveness because of the cross. There was grace and forgiveness because of Jesus! God still had a calling on my life. Jesus still wanted me to fulfill my calling to catch men and not just fish. It was Jesus’ death and resurrection that provided the power for my failure to be forgotten and forgiven. I could move forward in power! And so can you.
Let me ask you right now, have you had an encounter with the risen Savior? You know there were times that my failures would come to mind. The devil would just defeat me and load me up with guilt. I would take that straight to Jesus and he would soothingly say, “Peter, it’s in the past. You are already forgiven.”
Maybe there are some things in your life, in your heart, and in your mind that keep coming up too. Jesus tells you too, “It’s in the past.” Easter represents a new beginning; a fresh start! Learn from me….you see how it changed my life. Maybe you are in a Saturday kind of place, between a hard time and a promise you only half-believe. I was there once too.
But no matter how bleak and dark Saturday gets, Sunday is coming.
When Jesus rose from the grave, I received a fresh start and you can too. If you do not know the Lord Jesus and if you have never been delivered, I pray that you put your faith and trust in Him right now and you too can be saved. If you are saved but have taken your eyes off of Him, this moment can be a new beginning and fresh start. It’s not too late to surrender your life, no matter what you have done or what guilt you feel. Jesus loves you! How do I know? Because I was there!
I beg of you friends, learn from me! It was Jesus’ death and resurrection that provided the power to allow my failure to be forgotten and forgiven. That Easter Sunday, Jesus took special care to rehabilitate me and to assure me that I was forgiven. And He wants to do the same for you.
What are you sleeping on? Are you denying Jesus with the way you are living your life? Have you taken your eyes off of Jesus, even for a moment? Learn from me! Take the power Jesus gave me and is offering you to become a Rock in your faith; to become the man or woman he intends you to be. And move towards one day hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen.
Let us celebrate our Risen Savior.