Following Jesus’ death and Judas’ suicide, half of the disciples began to contemplate what to do with the rest of their lives. Apparently, Peter already made up his mind, deciding to go back to his former trade as a fishermen. Based upon the passage below, it didn’t take much to convince several others, spending a night on the Sea of Galilee. This short passage highlights what happens when people lose faith. In many cases, the spiritually lost return to their old ways, to their former life before Christ.
Simon Peter, and Thomas who is called Didymus (the twin), and Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, as well as [John and James] the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said, “And we are coming with you.” So they went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing, John 21:2-3.
After a failed night at sea, these six men were dejected, striking out every where they went. Desperate for redemption, these disciples take advice from a man standing on the shore. As soon as their nets caught a large school of fish, John put two and two together, recognizing the man on shore as Jesus in resurrected form. In the greatest fishing story within the Bible, the disciples hauled in 153 fish. Like grilling on your own deck, Jesus set up a charcoal fire, starting to cook these fish as they were brought to shore.
So when they got out on the beach, they saw a charcoal fire set up and fish on it cooking, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three [of them]; and although there were so many, the net was not torn, John 21:9-11.
The term charcoal fire appears only twice in the Bible. The first mention occurs just before Peter denies Jesus a third time, warming his hands over a charcoal fire during a cold night. Perhaps, Jesus choses this form of fire to remind Peter of his past transgression. During a private meeting in John 21:15-17, Jesus asks Peter if he loves the him three times, reminiscent of Peter’s public denial. Between the smell of the charcoal fire and these three questions, Jesus is sending a message to Peter. “Why did you revert to your former way of life? Look at me; I’ve risen from the dead. Are you ready to get back into the game; eager to feed my sheep, the church?” The next time you find yourself reverting back to your former way of life, remember this chapter of the Bible so that you remain connected to Jesus.
by Jay Mankus