Is anything holding us back? Let’s find out how we put the mistakes of the past behind us and get moving forward. Let’s discuss how Jesus helped his disciples move forward after his resurrection.
Jesus’ disciples failed him during his trial and crucifixion. They returned to their fishing trade and failed again. This world is run by incredibly intelligent and fabulously educated people who are failing miserably. We are no different than Jesus’ first disciples. With Jesus’ guidance, they made an enormous catch. He invited them put their fish with his bread for breakfast. This is one of life’s great lessons, that we must learn over and over. Whatever we accomplish, whatever talents we may have, it all comes from God and we need him every hour. Jesus then recommissioned Peter. He denied Jesus 3 times. Jesus reconfirmed his commission 3 times. We all fail many times and need Jesus’ reconfirmation time and again.
After Jesus’ resurrection the disciples went fishing without success. A common net was a flax circle about 6 yards or meters across with small lead weights around the outside. It was thrown to open up as it hit the water. The weights dropped and the net encircled the fish. Men then jumped into the water to retrieve the net, often fishing naked. The fish were then sorted into clean and unclean and counted so that each received a fair share and to pay their taxes. Day laborers usually helped with the duties. Fishermen probably knew the local Aramaic language, Hebrew and also Greek, the language of trade. Jesus arrived and advised the experts. Would we let Jesus advise our businesses? (Reference: Elizabeth McNamer. “Cast Your Nets: Fishing at the Time of Jesus” www.AmericanCatholic.org. n.p., July 2004. Web. 14 January 2013.)
Would the resurrected Jesus bless us like he did his disciples? They had all acted like cowards, felt guilty and ashamed, and so went home. Jesus provided fish and invited them to breakfast. It was time to move on from their grief and fear. They were no different than any of us. We love Jesus, but sometimes are afraid. With three confirmations of his love Peter symbolically undid his three denials. Each time Jesus reminded him of the next step. There was a job still to be done. Like Peter we are forgiven and invited to move on to the job ahead. No need for guilt, shame and fear. The resurrected Jesus invites us to breakfast, then feed his sheep.
Is agapé divine love and philia a mere human love? No. The Greek word agapé can also mean a wrong kind of love. Men loved darkness (John 3:19). They loved the praise of men more than God (John 12:43). Someone loved this world more than Paul (2 Timothy 4:10). If Peter loved Jesus then he was expected to show it through an act of brotherly love, “feed my sheep.” (John 21:1-19). There is no greater love [agapén] than to die for our brothers/friends [philon] (John 15:13). Jesus also showed that he expects his followers to show love to him in acts of brotherly love towards the needy, like foreigners, homeless, sick and prisoners (Matthew 25:31-46).
Does God give second chances, recovery from our mistakes? Jesus reinstated Peter after he messed up. After three years of apprenticeship in Jesus’ personal training program, Peter blew it completely at the last minute. How many of us have completely ruined something in life? Perhaps it was our children that we hurt deeply in a family injustice, or a spouse because of a betrayal or a friend because of a confidence we failed to keep. Like Peter, we too have denied Jesus Christ. Forgiveness does not mean that we trust completely the one who has hurt us deeply, but it does mean that we give them a second chance if they are willing. If we want it, God is willing.
There is work to be done. Let’s take time in prayer to discuss with God our many failures in life and ask for forgiveness. Then let’s move on. There are sheep to be fed. One person cannot do it alone. We are all needed.