“Oh Mark, I don’t know what we’ll do now. The last two days have been the absolute worst in my life. Not only is he gone, but I am so ashamed of how I behaved that last night.”
Mark nodded. “It was a frightening time for all of us. We all deserted him.”
“Did I ever tell you how we first met?” Peter asked.
“Yes, but tell it again. I love the story,” the young man encouraged him.
“It had been a difficult night. We toiled under rough seas and strong winds, with nothing to show for it. Shamefully, our crew made it back to shore in the morning without a single fish. We were near the shoreline washing our nets, and Jesus got into my boat to teach the crowds. When he finished speaking, he told me to ‘put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ What happened next still takes my breath away.” He paused, as if picturing the scene.
“I remember it like it was yesterday. I told him we had worked all night, but because he said so, I’d do it. When we brought up the nets, we caught so many fish that our nets began to break.” A twinkle appeared in the fisherman’s eye. "I knew in that moment that he cared about me. He told me to follow him and I would start fishing for men.”
Peter’s expression sobered, as if he was just remembering what had happened two days ago.
“With Jesus gone, I feel like one of those fish. They fought hard to breathe, to go back to the water where life was comfortable. I wish I could do the same. I don’t know where I belong now.”
“Do you really?” Mark asked him. “If you could take the last three years back, would you do it?”
Peter shook his head slowly. “No, of course not. Those were the best three years of my life. But now…” His voice drifted off as he looked in the distance. “What’s going on? What are the women doing?”
“Peter… John… everyone!” Mary came running up to where the disciples were gathered. She was out of breath, but clearly excited. “You won’t believe it. Come and see! He’s risen, just as He said!”
Later, Peter was back on the sea, doing what he knew best. He breathed in the sea air and braced himself against the waves. He and some of the other disciples fished all night, and again caught nothing. Peter once more felt out of place.
“Another rough night on the sea,” John commented.
Peter glanced at him, looking distraught.
“What’s wrong?” John asked him. "Everything is fine now, Jesus is alive!”
“I know, it’s just that…” Peter paused, unsure of how to continue.
“You can tell us,” James assured him.
“Well,” Peter began hesitantly, “Of course it’s wonderful that Jesus is alive, but it will never be the same again. That’s why I’m back on this boat. I’m no longer worthy of being called his disciple. I’m sure he doesn’t even want to associate with me, after denying I even knew him.” A pained look marred his features.
The other disciples tried to convince him otherwise, but Peter wouldn’t listen. As the sun peeked over the horizon, they started to head for shore. In the distance they saw a man waiting on the beach. He called out to them.
“Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. The men strained against the fish flopping in the net. As Peter stared at them, a vivid remembrance of his calling from Jesus played in his mind. That was the day that he knew Jesus cared. The great teacher cared enough about him to help him with something as simple as catching fish.
At that point, John cried out “It is the Lord!”
Peter knew he was forgiven. Jesus had showed him once again that he cared about him. He jumped into the sea and swam to the man who had changed his life forever. He no longer felt like one of the fish, flopping around, fighting for breath. He knew he was a chosen disciple of Jesus Christ, and it was time to get back to fishing for men.
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