On the evening of the first Resurrection Sunday, Jesus had appeared to Peter and the other disciples. He had entered the locked room and offered them His peace. (John 20:19)
It was understandable that Peter and the other disciples were still in the same rented room in Jerusalem a week later because the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were observed by Jews as an eight-day event. So, for the second time, while the disciples were still in Jerusalem, Jesus appeared to the disciples. And again, His offer was, “Peace!” (John 20:26)
Yep, Peter knew that the Living Lord had walked out of the cold, dark tomb. But, shortly after that second appearance, Peter does something that I wouldn’t expect. Peter announced, “I’m goin’ fishing!” (John 21:3)
Why? Why didn’t he immediately go out and preach like he did at Pentecost?
Let me offer a couple of possibilities.
Maybe Peter was being obedient. Indeed, Jesus had announced that He would meet His disciples at Galilee. (Matthew 28:7) Maybe Peter was seeking Jesus as he returned home to the region of the Sea of Galilee. Maybe, while waiting for Jesus, he decided to drown a worm... to cast his nets... to go fishin’ ... maybe.
Then again, maybe Peter wasn’t seeking, but rather he was running. Maybe, like Jonah, he was going ... going ... gone!
Peter was a hypocrite and a failure. He had proved it the morning that Jesus stood trial by wimping-out and rejecting the Lord. He was ashamed. Instead of sharing the Good News of the Resurrected Redeemer, Peter reverted to his old way of life. He had been a fisherman before Jesus and now he was going back to his old ways. Maybe he was running away.
Okay, we’ll never know Peter’s motivation. But we do know this: Jesus knew where to find Peter.
After the two appearances in Jerusalem, the third time that Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples was on the banks of Galilee. While Peter was working hard but catching nothing, Jesus showed up with direction for a miraculous catch ... 153 whoppers! (John 21:1-14)
Then, after breakfast by the Sea, Jesus took Peter aside privately. Just as Peter had denied Jesus three times, so three times Jesus made His redemption and restoration clear. And three times, Jesus reminded Peter that he had been called to a greater mission. (John 21:15-17) “Grace! Grace! God’s Grace! Grace that is greater than all my sin!”
Here’s my point: I’m a hypocrite and a failure, just like Peter. Jesus knows it! And He loves me still. And like the Lord did with Peter, He seeks me with His amazing redemption, restoration, and promise of peace.