Moving Past Our Mistakes with Hope and Purpose: Jesus Forgives and Calls Us Forward
By Debbie McDaniel
In John 21 we read the story of when Jesus appeared to the seven disciples early one morning. It was just days after the Resurrection. They were out fishing, and hadn't caught a thing. Though they didn’t recognize Him, He called to them from the shore, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." v. 6
So they did.
And a miracle happened. They caught fish. So many in fact, that they were "unable to haul the net in because of the large number..."
Our God of miracles.
That’s when Peter recognized Him.
But here's what I love too. Jesus had gone before them, He'd already prepared a fire with fish and bread for them. He'd been there waiting. He invited them to bring some of their fish and then, to "come and have breakfast." v. 10-12
And over a fire and some food, He had a heart to heart with Peter. Three times he asked Peter if he really “loved” Him, the kind of self-sacrificing love that was willing to give all. The kind of love that involved deep faithfulness, commitment, strong character, and active expression.
Peter, who Jesus had previously called a "rock." Peter, who had claimed he would never deny Christ, yet denied him three times in the courtyard before his journey to the cross. Peter, who was impulsive or fearful at times, yet strong and bold at other times. Peter, who was probably not feeling like much a "rock" that morning as he sat with Jesus.
Defeated. Guilt-ridden. Sense of failure hanging over. Maybe still rehearsing what he'd done, and beating himself up for it. Living under the weight of the "what if's."
And here he was again by a fire, possibly a reminder of the very fire that he'd warmed himself over when he had denied Christ. Yet this time, Jesus had pulled up a seat. He sat with him, ate with him, talked with him, and got right to the heart of it all.
Three times Peter had denied him. Three times Jesus asked Peter of his love and re-commissioned him into a life of service and purpose.
He instilled hope.
He gave him a mission.
He called him to follow, serve, love, tend to, and care for believers.
He brought to him a renewed purpose and vision, in the midst of deep regret, guilt, and shame.
Slate wiped clean.
Deeper purpose and calling to press on, leaving the past behind, and walking stronger in what was still to come.
This is who our God is. The One who is Mighty in miracles, and loving, forgiving and kind. The One who waits for us and speaks to our hearts, who gives us a calling, and never allows our defeat and failures to have the final word in this life.
No matter what we've walked through, or where we find ourselves today, be assured that He is Able. He can turn around every wrong road we've taken, and get us back on course, stronger than before. He can use every failure or defeat, and turn it around for good somehow. Because that's just how He works.
Press forward friends, He has more ahead...great blessing and purpose…He makes all things new.
Intersecting Faith & Life: We are more than any mistake of our past. Christ calls us out, He wants us to move forward. He redeems and sets free. We can let go of the guilt and hurt that hovers close, and start spending our time on the "right side of the boat," where there is blessing and goodness still in store. He waits for us every morning, offering food for our spirits from His Word, and calling us to a life of love. Thank Him today for the fresh start He offers.