This image of Peter diving out of the boat always makes me smile. The evangelist describes Peter’s preparations so discreetly, you might miss what he’s saying: “Peter was in first-century underwear when the Lord arrived, so this was not an opportune time for a surprise visit”. But Peter took his chances. He’d rather arrive in the Lord’s presence in embarrassing disarray than not at all. Peter follows with his heart and not with his head. Earlier, this led him to surrender to fear and deny his friend. But it also gives him the kind of passion that Jesus finds very endearing. If Peter is impetuous, he’s also quick to repent and eager for another chance. In this sense he’s like King David, who also won a lasting place in God’s plan. Leaders with passion make mistakes. But perfection is rarely the quality God looks for in a future hero.
The Scripture (John 21: 7-9) Jesus appears to seven disciples
When Simon Peter realised it was the Master, he tucked in his garment, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.
It is told that when Jesus returned to heaven, the Archangel Michael barred his way. The archangel said, “How can you return to heaven? Your work is not yet completed. There are many who do not know about you or who have not heard about your saving acts”. Jesus said, “I have left my friends to complete what I have begun”. The Archangel was amazed. “Do you mean those puny, often straying humans?” “Yes,” said Jesus, “I trust them and I know that through following me they will bring my gospel to the world”.
Find Jesus unexpectedly!
We find him at the moment of greatest aloneness.
Find Jesus joyfully!
We find him in the midst of a family celebration.
Find Jesus gratefully!
We find him when calm comes in the midst of crisis.
Find Jesus in the faith community!
We find him as we work with others for justice and freedom. Amen.
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