Luke 12:35‑49; John 21:1‑14  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
UK 5:1-11 OH 21:1-14The soul has its history as well as the body. The soul takes its journeys at times as well as the body. This we know and have experienced. Peter's spirit took a wondrous journey in Luke 5 He is there at first, in the place of nature‒an easy, kind-hearted man as ever lived, earnest to love and to serve; and being such an one, he readily lent his boat to the wondrous Stranger who was there addressing the multitude on the shore of the sea of Gennesaret. And when the wants of this Stranger were over, at His bidding Peter put his boat further into the lake, and let down his net for a draft.
But this was nature still. He had not left the place of nature yet‒his own place, the place where his natural friendliness and easiness of temper had put him all his life hitherto. "Master," said he to Jesus, "we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy, word I will let down the net."
But now the journey of his soul begins-a wondrous, distant journey, but performed as in a whirlwind. The chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof, in their way, were standing and waiting for him. The draft of fishes which came at the word of the Stranger surprised the soul of Peter, and at once bore him into the presence of God. The Stranger was transfigured before his soul as in the twinkling of an eye. He was the Lord of the fullness of the sea, who could command the draft, and Peter stood in the presence of God. The living God, the God of glory, was in the place, and Peter had not known it till now, and the sight overwhelms him. He learns himself there, and he is confounded. " Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord." It is no more " Master" but " Lord." It is no more the fisherman Peter, who had been toiling all the night at his nets, but the sinner Peter. It is a new world to him, the brightness of which is too powerful. He is in God's presence, and it is too much for him. He learns himself where only we can duly learn ourselves, in the presence of the glory of God. We have all sinned, and come short of that glory, and that is discovered by our souls when that glory is reached for the first time.
This was a journey indeed! Peter was taken from the native land of his easy, kindly, but revolted nature (revolted, because it could not stand before God), to the dwelling-place of the glory of God; and he apprehends that place in the brightness of it, and is amazed.
But he must go still further into this new world. He must still travel; and the word, the further word of the Lord, the word of Him whose divine honor and rights had here been discovered to him, must lead him on. " Fear not," says Jesus to him; and when he obeys, and follows where those words lead him, his journey is ended. He may dwell forever in the place he has now reached. He has left the native land of nature for the presence of God, and found it the home of a poor, convicted, conscience-stricken sinner.
Many a journey, I am sure, the soul of Peter took in after days. He had to pass through the rebukes of the Lord; and they ever give the soul a chapter in its history, or take it some stage of that living way which the word of God has cast up before us, and along which the Spirit of God bears us. But I am thinking only of one other journey which this loved and earnest man had to perform under the hand of the Lord. I mean that which he takes in John 21:1-141After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself. 2There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. 4But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. 5Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 6And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. 8And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 9As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. (John 21:1‑14).
Here we find him again at his fishing. Sweet, natural scene! It is given to us in all the artlessness of truth. He and some companions are again on the sea of Galilee, and again a Stranger addresses him. In like simplicity and friendship which gave him character at the first, he does as this Stranger bids him; and he is, in like grace, rewarded by another heavy draft of fishes. This was a token, It was symptomatic of who this Stranger was. The finger may not be sensitive enough to feel the pulse, or the eye keen enough to discover the mark. Peter fails in this faculty, and John sees for him. " It is the Lord," says he to him. The eye had seen for the body, and then the foot begins its service. Peter's second journey begins, as we tracked him first in Luke 5, with the speed of a single, devoted and loving heart. He is in the water at once to reach the Lord. He now knew Him as he had not when he began his first journey. He had already said to him, "Fear not." He now knew Him, and is not amazed. His presence is not that of a glory that was overwhelming, but of a glory that had already given his conscience a home; and though that conscience had every reason at that moment to be a coward, it is bold as a lion. The fisherman Peter, when introduced at first to the presence of God, had become, in his experience, the sinner Peter; but now the fisherman Peter becomes, in his experience, the loved, saved, accepted Peter. He will tread softly, surely he will, for he worships in the presence of God; but he treads confidently, for he is accepted in that presence, and courts it with all speed and all certainty. Right it was at first that in that presence he should be convicted and discover his sin; right it is now that in that presence he should be a worshipper, a consciously accepted worshipper, for that glory had already spoken comfortably to him.
What two drafts of fishes these were! What two journeys for the soul to take! How Peter's spirit was called to penetrate the new world where the glory and the grace of Christ so shine; and in the display of the grace that is there, I discover the same character after as before the resurrection. A blessed discovery for the soul. In other days, as in Mark 4, the Lord has to rebuke the disciples for their little faith, fearing as they had done when the storm rose on the lake. But ere He rebuked their unbelief He allayed their tremblings. He said, "Peace, be still " to the waves ere He said to the disciples, " How is it that ye have no faith?" And so now with Peter. He sits with Peter, He dines with Peter. The full, free fellowship of his heart with his loved One is made sure to Peter's spirit ere his Lord addresses Himself to his conscience, and brings his ways to remembrance. The Jesus who had once calmed the sea ere He rebuked the disciples, now gives Peter an unbroken net full of fishes, and dines with him, ere He says to him, "Lovest thou me?" Oh, the secrets of that land which Peter had entered!