Peter met Jesus by the Sea of Galilee while fishing. He and His extended family were fishermen. It was while fishing that Peter and His brother Andrew were told by Jesus to forsake the fishing industry and follow Him. Jesus explained that He had a plan for Peter and Andrew to fish for people. The result Peter and Andrew left their livelihood and followed Jesus. They became disciples.
Matthew 4:18-20 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
For the next three years, Peter lived life with Jesus learned from Him. However, three years into His experience he lost his focus (Mark 14:66-72). The overzealous Peter became a weak spineless man. On the night of Jesus’ crucifixion Peter was confronted by a high school girl. She claimed he was a follower of Jesus. Peter became frightened and denied Christ. In fact Peter went so far as to say, (Mark 14:71) “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” Peter rejected Jesus.
You and I may not ever deny Christ in our life through such extreme words, because we will never be confronted with such an difficult situation regarding our faith. We live in a somewhat religiously tolerant country. However, many of us can react like Peter by denying Jesus in our daily living. Rather than allow Him to be Lord of our lives, we make ourselves Lord.
The Bible tells us that after Peter denied Christ, he went back to his familiar old ways. Peter once again went fishing (John 21). When we deny Christ in our life it is common for all of us to go back to our old habits just like Peter. It’s not that the habits themselves are wrong, but we make them wrong when we use them to ignore Christ.
Many times we might stop for a moment and wonder “how is Jesus responding to my rejection of Him? What does Jesus think about my sin?”. I think one of the reasons we are not always quick to come back to Christ once we have fallen off the wagon is because we are afraid of how Jesus will respond. Deep down we are ashamed that we failed the Lord. We don’t feel worthy of His love, and we can’t forgive ourselves, let alone ask Jesus to forgive us.
What I love about Christ is that, I believe God’s promise is clear to those who have trusted in Him. “He will never leave you. (Heb 13:5)” No matter how many times you reject Him, He loves you and wants you to experience life with Him. In fact, Jesus knows every sin you would commit in your life before you have even commited it. In knowing all of your sin, He still chooses to love you.
One thought that might encourage to run back to Jesus is to see how Jesus took time to respond to Peter after Peter rejected Him. In John 21, it tells us Jesus showed back up on the shores of the sea to once again meet Peter. The Bible says (John 21:4) “Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.”
In this encounter Jesus and Peter teach us to two great life lessons for renewing our passion:
Once Peter recognized Jesus the Bible tells us that He went running to Jesus. In that moment together, Jesus asked Peter an important question. (John 21:15) “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’”. Jesus was calling Peter to renew His love for Him. Jesus did not show up and rebuke Peter, but reminded Peter of a time when He gave his life to Christ.
When Jesus asked do you love me more than these? Jesus was speaking about the fish. In a sense Christ was reflecting all the way back to the time when Peter left his fishing job to follow after Jesus. Perhaps the reason so many of us lose our passion for Christ is that we forget to reflect on the day our journey with Christ began. It is the day He took our life. Renewing your passion for Christ is all about remembering the day you chose Jesus. Forget what has kept you from Him (Fish/Sin) and look forward to what you have with Him. Do you remember how your Christian life began? Reflect on that day.
Do you know the Christian life will work itself out if you wake up each day and answer the same question that Jesus asked Peter? Do you love me more than what you consider most important in your life? For Peter it was fish. What is your first love? If you can answer “I love Jesus more than the fish of my life, your passion for Jesus will renew each and every day.”
Peter teaches us two great ways to renew our passion for Christ: 1) Remember the day you first trusted in Christ 2) Love Christ more than fish.
Hopefully you know how the rest of the story goes for Peter. He preaches the very first sermon in Acts 2 and thousands come to know Christ. To think a man who was once a coward before a little girl, became a warrior for Jesus. Have you lost your way? Have you lost your passion? Jesus still loves you. He is waiting on the shores of your life asking you to remember the day you gave it all to him. He is asking you to renew yourself every day and love him more than fish. It’s time to let go of your “fishing” over small things and to start “fishing” for greater things in Christ.