Today I would like to share with you something God, through His Holy Spirit, has been working on my heart and in my mind through His Word in the life of Peter. First off, Peter for whatever reason liked to do things in threes. For instance, after Jesus was arrested and before He was nailed to the cross, Peter denied Christ three times. Later, the resurrected Christ restored Peter by asking Peter if he loved Him three times. But that’s not what I want to share with you today. If you want to know more on that subject, see a previous post in Daryl’s Room on Agape vs. Phileo Love.
Peter did something else in threes. There were three, what I like to refer to as boat incidents/encounters Peter had with Jesus. All three times Peter abandoned the boat to follow Jesus. Recently, I had the privilege of preaching on this at church. Even more recently, finally finished writing my song the Lord gave me on this subject entitled Peter’s Song (Abandoned Boat). Click below.
Now to the message. You can find the first boat encounter in two gospels, one in the gospel of Matthew 4:18-22 and the other in Luke 5:1-11. The more detailed account is in Luke, so turn there. Here you see Peter and his brother Andrew cleaning their nets after fishing all day and having caught nothing. Also, there are two sons of Zebedee, James and John, cleaning their nets as well having caught nothing. Jesus steps into Peter’s boat and asks him to shove off a little from shore. Jesus teaches the people, and after speaking tells Peter to cast his nets for a catch. Peter must have already heard about Jesus and knew enough of Him to know that He was different, for Peter says to Jesus how he had been out fishing all night and had caught nothing, however because Christ said so (at His word) he did so. And great was the catch that the nets broke and Peter called for his fellow fishermen, James and John to come help reel them in in the other boat. Both boats were filled, so much so that they began to sink. Peter, astonished and ashamed for not fully trusting, fell at Jesus’ feet and called Him Lord and said to Jesus to depart from him for he was a sinful man. Yes, Peter called Him Lord. Christ then asks all four men to follow Him. They then leave the massive catch they just made of fish, their boats, their lives, their families, and career, and James and John’s father Zebedee behind to follow Jesus. They, and Peter, abandoned the boat.
You will find the second boat encounter in three gospels: Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-56 and John 6:16-21. We will look at Matthew’s account this time as his is the more detailed here and is the only one that speaks of Peter. Here you will find the disciples in a boat, in the midst of the sea, being tossed about by huge waves. They see Jesus walking toward them on the water and are afraid for they believe Him to be a ghost or spirit at first glance. Jesus says to them to not be afraid for it is He. Peter says to Jesus if it is Him, bid him to meet Him on the water. Jesus says come. Peter then, forgetting mind you of the storm and crashing waves around him, abandons the boat and walks on the water toward Jesus. He doesn’t’ get far, doesn’t make it to Jesus, when his senses came back to him and he remembers the storm and waves and begins to sink. He cries out for Jesus to save him. Immediately, IMMEDIATELY, Jesus is there to catch him and pull him up. Did you catch the emphasis I put on that word immediately? Jesus didn’t run to Peter, He was immediately there. That, my friend, is an often overlooked miracle. Look at the same account in John 6:16-21. In verse 21 you will find that word immediately once again. Remember the disciples are in the middle of the sea. The moment Jesus steps into the boat the storm and waves cease, immediately, and immediately they are at shore. Another often overlooked miracle.
The third and final boat encounter is found in the gospel of John 21:1-12. Here we have seven of the disciples fishing and catching nothing. Sound a little familiar? They are about 100 yards from shore when the resurrected Jesus, for this is after Christ was crucified, is standing on the shore and calls out to them if they had caught anything. He then tells them to cast their nets, and so they did, and they caught so many fish they were not able to draw in the net. John, who Jesus called along with Peter in the first boat encounter, says to Peter it is the Lord. Peter, upon hearing this, abandons the boat, dives in and swims to shore. He couldn’t get to Jesus fast enough that he abandoned the other disciples, and the boat, to struggle with bringing the catch to shore. After this they dine and fellowship with Jesus. Jesus calls Peter to the side and restores him (again more on this restoration of Peter you can find in a previous post on Agape vs. Phileo Love in Daryl’s Room).
I will leave you with this final thought. The first boat encounter is about trust. Peter trusted Jesus enough to forsake everything to follow Him. The second encounter is about faith. It took Peter faith in Jesus to abandon the boat and walk on water to Jesus. And the third encounter is about love. Peter’s love for Jesus was so strong that he abandoned the boat again because he couldn’t get to Jesus as quickly as he wanted to unless he swam the 100 yards to shore. And Jesus, restoring Peter, asks him three times if he loved Him, in which he answers in the affirmative three times. I hope you get some encouragement from this story of Peter and from the song I wrote as well. God bless you all.
Happy New Year! Make it a great one!