After the horrific death of Jesus, Peter descends into the fiery pain of the destruction of everything he believed in and had given his life to. All was lost, and the reality of his utter cowardice under trial was crushing him. He had stood by silently as his closest friend was mercilessly humiliated, tortured and led to the horrendous death of crucifixion, denying three times that he even knew Him. Now, overcome with self-loathing, guilt, shame, and grief, his faith in ruins and his hope in ashes, he had gone back to his old life of fishing. It was all he knew to do.
In the last chapter of John’s gospel we witness the beautiful story of his redemption and sweet release from his personal demons in final preparation for the epic destiny God would entrust to him.
One morning while out fishing with his friends, Peter heard a call from a figure on the shore and realized that it was Jesus! Incredulous and impulsive as always, he jumped into the water and swam frantically in to his Friend. The resurrected Jesus had built a fire on the beach and was cooking a little breakfast for them. As the two stood there in a dripping wet bear hug Jesus asked him, “Peter, do you love me?” Peter answered, “Yes, you know I love you.” Jesus repeated the question three times; the same number of times Peter had denied even knowing Him a few disastrous nights before. After the third time, Peter’s feelings were hurt, but suddenly he realized what Jesus was trying to do. He was helping him to see the deep reality of his love for Jesus in spite of his denials and his inestimable value to God in spite of everything. Jesus wanted to free him from his small human perceptions of success and failure and open him to a far larger vision of who he truly was as God’s beloved son. Now he ready to change history.
A Reflection from Betty
In the midst of incalculable pain and profound despair, Peter met and was illumined by hope. Will you trust that in the experience of your own change and loss, you are being prepared for a deeper love? In your darkest times, in fearful circumstances and changes, if you will trust that you are in the Presence of a Love you have not yet fully tasted, you will find hope. The Hidden Life Awakened
My only light, that of my heart’s desire,
My every substance melted by its fire,
I recognized the Stranger, my Beloved,
My Companion through the years.
For sense and intellect were gone.
In His eternity of forgiveness,
My faith grew strong, my fears grew dim
And there was nothing, nothing, nothing.