So this morning, as the guys sat down at the table, I poured myself a nice, big cup of coffee. I added my usual add-in’s – three Splenda packets and an ounce or so of oat milk – and stir. Getting together in the morning is the best beginning to any day. I’m so glad that we began this.
We have labeled this “table time”, and it is set aside to read and discuss a passage of Scripture. On each weekday, my guys and I head over to sit down at the dining room table in our ‘assigned’ seats. My husband at the head of the table usually looking at his phone checking to see who won what game where. M to the right of my husband. He is usually looking at my smart phone searching for the Scripture we will be reading that morning. His younger brother is on my husband’s left eating a bowl of cocoa puffs. Our youngest is on his left, irritated that I am brushing his hair and braiding it (this boy don’t understand that he don’t have to braid it himself – sheesh!). I usually begin this session of “table time” standing. I’m pretty sure you can guess why. Momma’s aren’t the sit-down kind, are we? Haha.
For the last couple of months, we have been employing the use of the “Children’s Bible”. It is written as the easy-to-read version. It really has helped in conveying the main idea of each passage in an easier verbiage and concept to my late elementary aged guys. Our readings have been in the Gospel of John, which if you don’t know is the fourth book of the New Testament of the Bible. It is written with kind of a more emotional side of the Gospel. Like you have the proper, in-public story about someone that is just a stranger their-self relaying who Jesus is. And then you have this guy, John, that hung out with Him and slept on his couch, and he is telling you about Jesus and all of the thought-provoking and radical things that He did.
We go around from youngest to oldest normally, and we each read aloud a few verses of the passage of the Scripture for the day. After that, my husband teaches it. I’m the person that adds to the teaching when called upon, but really, he is the lead of these conversations. I really appreciate that he is the lead most mornings, because I am not the morning-person I would love to be. Coffee is helper here. And the guys really have enjoyed it as evidenced by their their questions, active participation and comprehension of the Scripture.
The scene is set. Some of the followers of the now, resurrected Jesus, were out on the boat, fishing. Peter and John among them. Each of guys have been fishing the late night/ early morning, toiling through with possibly a furrowed brow, the look of determination and thoughtfulness on his face. I could imagine that theirs are still spinning from what all took place. Maybe they are afraid of being caught by the Romans guards. or the Jewish Synagogue leaders. Maybe they have just come out of hiding to get food for their families and friends that need it due to shortages. Maybe some of them are pondering what next steps are they going to take now that they have so much knowledge they have gained walking with Jesus so closely. What are people going to do when they tell someone that they were one of the few that got to be in Jesus’ inner circle? Are they going to listen to them and pass on that life-giving information? Are they going to turn you in to the authorities for spreading a “rumor” that is causing upset of some in the Jewish community?
I’m not sure what is going on in their minds, but I do know that it says that they fished that night but caught nothing. And when some dude on the shore called out, and asked them, “have you caught any fish?“, they answer with what I imagine to be a disheartened answer of ‘no’. The guy on the shore said to throw their nets out the other side of their boat, the right side. So they did it, and they caught so many fish that they could not pull the net back into the boat. John looked up and saw that it was Jesus. When Peter heard the word, ‘Jesus”, he grabbed his outer garments, and made a mad dash to see Our Lord.
My husband posited a question to the boys, “Why do you think Peter jumped off of the boat and went straight to Jesus, rather than pick up the fish onto the boat and wait until the boat came ashore to unload?” That was a great question, and the responses from the boys were incredible. One said, “maybe wanted to say sorry for denying him.” Another said, “maybe he thought he could walk on water again like before now that Jesus was there.” I was thinking along the same lines as the one. I thought that maybe because Peter hadn’t see Jesus yet and he wanted to seek forgiveness for turning his back on Jesus even though he just swore allegiance saying he would die for Jesus. The John recorded that Jesus visited the disciples – as a group – three times. Maybe Peter wasn’t with them the first two times. Remember, Peter took off after the rooster crowed.
We were having some really good ideas from the boys. My husband stated that when Jesus told them to cast out their net and told them where specifically, he was bringing the relationship between Peter and Him to full circle here. When Peter first met Jesus, he had come in from fishing where he hadn’t caught anything, and Jesus told him to cast out the net once more and where. At that, Peter caught a load of fish, and once on the shore was told that Jesus would make him a ‘fisher of men’. Well, now, he runs to him with outstretched arms, letting go of all the worry and stress to the One who has perfect peace.
And I can take that idea a bit farther. I see it as an allusion to when we mess up, He meets us where we are. He gets our attention in a way that is unique and personal. Jesus caught Peter’s attention with a metaphorical “wink”. Kind of like a look that relayed the message of “it’s all good. I love you. I forgive you. Come on over to the campfire and be fed. You can bring your fish, too, if you want.” My husband told us that for the day, “remember that no matter how much you think you messed up or let Jesus down, He is right there. Turn around and follow Jesus”. He said, “While you are still able, turn to Jesus, and He will guide us down the right path.”
Jesus has so much patience for us. He is willing to go to any length for us. He showed that to us by dying for us. He paid the price we are not even able to pay much less willing. All Peter wanted to do here was reconcile with Jesus. He wanted to get to him as fast as he could and vehemently apologize for the three metaphorical stabs in the back. And that is where we need to remember where we are in our relationship with Him. He is still our Great Advocate. He is still our Redeemer. He doesn’t change. And just because we make a mistake does not mean that He rejects us. The ones that don’t end up in His presence ultimately was because they rejected his invitations.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..