Recharge is a Bible study just for you, to nurture your own relationship with God. Grab a coffee, sit, breathe and read.
GRANDE LATTE – Luke 24:13-35
FLAT WHITE – Luke 24:13-35
ESPRESSO – Luke 24:31 “Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him.”
Recently we celebrated Pentecost, but at our monthly pace I’m not quite ready to rush beyond the resurrection yet.
There is so much packed into those 50 days between the last supper and the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
Last month we walked together with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, witnessing the realisation that their new-found travelling companion is none other than the resurrected Jesus.
They were just one of the friends and followers he appeared to before his ascension into heaven.
Over the next few Recharges, we will explore a few more resurrection revelations, taking time to appreciate all Jesus did before departing earth and sending the Spirit.
This month we will reflect on the moment Simon Peter meets Jesus once more.
Simon Peter’s personality speaks loudly throughout the Gospel accounts.
He is not a man of half measures and throws himself into following Jesus with gusto.
When he gets it right, he does so spectacularly. He was the one to recognise Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 16:13-20), he even joins Jesus for some water-top strolls (Matthew 14:28-31).
However, when he gets it wrong, he is equally dramatic. He cuts off someone’s ear in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:10) and his eagerness to keep Jesus alive leads Jesus to call him Satan and a stumbling block (Matthew 16:21-23).
Despite his hectic career as a disciple, his passion must have caught Jesus, who called him to be the one on whom he would build his Church (Matthew 16:13-16).
At this point Peter has not been on top form. That’s putting it lightly. After Jesus was arrested, Peter denied even knowing him three times.
Despite being his closest friend and most fervent disciple, when it comes to the crunch time, Peter couldn’t hack it.
The guilt and loss he must have felt after Jesus’ execution is palpable.
Just before our point in the story, Jesus has appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden, to a group of disciples in the upper room, and to Thomas.
Peter has run to the tomb and seen the empty grave clothes, but there is no mention of him yet meeting the risen Jesus.
We have no idea how he is feeling about this. Maybe he thinks he has blown it.
He could be wondering if Jesus simply can’t forgive him for his betrayal.
Maybe he’s just too embarrassed to want to see Jesus, weighed down by his guilt.
“Peter is not a man of half measures”
We arrive at the point that Peter is tramping along the beach and setting up his boat. He has decided he is going fishing.
Again, there is no insight into why Peter makes this decision. Necessity could have driven him back to the boat, as he sought income after three years of adventure following Jesus around the countryside. We know he has a mother-in-law (Luke 4:38-40), which implies he has a wife.
Family duties may have drawn him in. Maybe he wants to get back to his comfort zone, doing something he knows he is good at.
Maybe he’s just sick of hearing Thomas and Nathaniel telling him all about seeing Jesus again (John 20:26-28). Either way, they catch nothing (John 21:3).
We have all known that creeping fear of seeing someone whose relationship you’ve damaged.
Our children and young people too will know the anxiety of it. The fear of missing out is also a real fear for them, just as it was for Peter.
The conflicted emotions he might be feeling are human and timeless.
Taking off to do something constructive and distracting doesn’t seem like a terrible idea, but burying our problems out of pride or fear never helps in the long term.
What relationships come to mind? Pray into them.
Pray for your children and young people, and their complicated relationships.
Here of course, Jesus reels Peter in with the same fun and humour as he does the 153 fish they catch.
From the shoreline he tells them to throw their nets over the other side.
When a stranger had asked them to do this years earlier, Simon Peter had protested (Luke 5:5).
This time he doesn’t need to. As John recognises Jesus, Peter responds with his characteristic passion.
Whatever worries he might have had are long gone, and he can’t wait for the boat to pull in to shore. He jumps out and swims to his rabbi.
His eagerness and lack of decorum remind us of the Father in the story of the prodigal son as he hitches his robes and runs to meet his lost boy (Luke 15:20).
Prodigal is not a word you hear often. I had always thought it meant ‘lost’ as that’s what stood out to me in the story, but it’s about reckless spending and wasteful extravagance.
It is not his leaving that we record, but that he lost everything. So too had Peter, but now Jesus has returned to him.
Peter is prodigal at his core, jumping from the boat and spending the last of his energy and soaking his clothes in his keenness to be with him.
But I imagine this is what Jesus loved about him.
Would you have jumped out of the boat?
What does it mean for you to be prodigal? Can we be prodigal in a good way?
As the boat is hauled in, Peter, the other disciples and Jesus cook some of the fish and share breakfast together: Peter’s first breakfast after the last supper.
There is a hint that the disciples felt tense, not daring to even ask that Jesus is really here.
Given Mary mistook him for the gardener (John 20:15) and the disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognise him until he broke bread (Luke 24:31), it’s not unreasonable for them to also be a little unsure.
It is as the embers of their cooking fire burn down, fish bones are sucked clean of their flesh and they settle their full stomachs that Jesus begins to speak to Peter. He has three questions, or one repeated question: do you love me?
The three is of course important, a perfect mirror to Peter’s triple denial. With each question Jesus undoes the shame of sin and betrayal, reinstating Peter to his former position.
It is then that Jesus commissions him once more, just as he had at the start of Peter’s ministry: follow me. This is all he ever asks of Peter, and all he asks of us.
Is there some guilt or shame that you are holding onto? Take time to offer that to Jesus, knowing he loves to forgive.
What does it mean for you to listen to Jesus’ command to follow me?
Mistakes, sin, disappointment and guilt are real. Jesus will meet us in them to offer forgiveness.
Lord Jesus, I give thanks that by your death and resurrection,
I can receive new life and freedom from my sin.
I pray your forgiveness where I need it.
Help me to offer the same forgiveness to others.
I lift up those I know who need to know your love today.