“I am going fishing.” Simon Peter in John 21:3
Why was Peter fishing? I’ve heard people be critical of Peter for going fishing that night when he, John, and several other disciples went out fishing. But I think we should give grace to them. After all, Jesus had not ascended to His Father yet, the disciples hadn’t yet had the time of training that Jesus would impart to them before His ascension, and they hadn’t experienced Pentecost yet. So, what would they be doing with themselves?
Peter had an idea. He went back to what he knew. Fishing was familiar to him. It was his way of life before he started to follow Jesus. As we talked as a church on Sunday, it was a way to provide for himself and potentially earn some money. Perhaps he needed something to take care of his family as he was married, which we saw when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30-31).
There might have been a certain comfort for him as he was out on the boat that night, even if it wasn’t a successful fishing trip. Then, at dawn, someone on the shore asks if they caught anything and then tells them to try fishing on the other side. It’s a huge catch of fish! John realized first that it was Jesus and exclaimed, “It is the Lord!” Immediately, Peter put on his outer garment and jumped into the sea to get to Jesus. Peter’s fishing trip ended up netting him a meeting with Jesus! This meeting would lead to Jesus forgiving Peter and restoring to him his purpose.
By inviting each of the disciples to that breakfast on the beach, Jesus was extending to them not only forgiveness but a restoration of purpose and a restoration of fellowship with Himself. In His kind love and warmth of grace, Jesus provided food for them after a long night of a fishless fishing expedition. And He does the same for us. With Him in our lives, we are given fellowship, provision, forgiveness, and purpose. What a kind thing of Jesus to do for us when we really deserve to be left out in the cold. Thankfully, He’s not one to react in a conventional manner and as He restored Peter, He gives us the hope that He will do the same for us.
Let’s be thankful for Jesus and His kindness to us!