Most of us long for miracles. And Jesus’ perfect life, death on sinners’ behalf as the fulfillment of Passover, and His physical resurrection prove that He is willing and able to meet our greatest needs: complete forgiveness and a new heart to follow Him as our living King. But even in the Bible, most of the journey with Jesus is lived in the moments between miracles. In this 50-day series, we’ll consider some of those moments leading up to the next great miracle in the New Testament: the fulfillment of Pentecost and the incredible growth of the Church.
At least twice the risen Lord had come to the disciples in a locked room. (John 20:19ff and verses 26ff) Now, in John 21:4, while the disciples were about a hundred off shore having fished all night and caught nothing, He appeared on the shore. Couldn’t He have at least appeared in the boat with them?
What’s up with that?
The first time, Jesus had come to encourage a group of the disciples in His resurrection, to remind them of their mission, and to bestow the Spirit on them. The second time He came specifically to strengthen Thomas’ faith. Now He comes to restore Peter who had denied Him three times.
Finding peace in the face of our existing guilt and shame is hard, though. In fact, our need to go to the only One who can fully forgive often seems counter-intuitive to us. Guilt and shame prompt us to hide. We see this from the very beginning in Eden. But James 4:8 reminds us to “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Now Jesus stands on the shore for Peter to come to Him. And Peter leaps into the sea to swim to His risen Savior and King.
Jesus didn’t need Peter’s affirmation. Peter needed His. Coming close to Jesus didn’t show Him anything He didn’t already know, but Peter needed to be reminded of Jesus’ love and the reality of his own love for the Lord. Often, proving to ourselves how much we love the Lord comes by our own action.
There have been times in my life that I’ve sat in the boat and expected Jesus to come to me. We may need to wait for the Lord, but He is not our waiter. He may be waiting on us to leap out of the boat to come to Him – not because He’s passive, “meets us halfway”, or any other fallen human attribute. He is the perfect Lord who loves and is simply encouraging our actions of love.
They had been sitting in locked rooms and fishing boats long enough. It was time to reconnect and follow the Lord.
We’ll look at their meeting on the shore a little more tomorrow.
I hope today’s thought and others in this series will be helpful to you as you journey with Jesus in the moments between miracles.