Reading: John 21: 1-14
In the Gospel of John, Jesus has already appeared to the disciples two times, but they have not yet been empowered. They are still in the “now what?” stage. Jesus is indeed risen, but… Fear of the authorities is maybe a little less now, but it is still real. In the midst of all this waiting around behind locked doors, Peter announces that he is going fishing. The combination of knowing Jesus is alive and being couped up for a while may explain his decision. But for Peter, part of it may be the emotions he is personally dealing with. Bold and fiery Peter swore allegiance to Jesus at all costs, even death, but had denied even knowing Jesus three times that last night.
So maybe Peter was seeking to return to something he knew, to his roots. Up until meeting Jesus he had always been a fisherman. We all find comfort in knowing what we are doing, in the familiar. Out on the water with his friends, Peter probably found a measure of peace. Doing something familiar probably took his mind off his guilt.
Sometimes we are not unlike Peter. After a tough day a big bowl of ice cream or a bag of chips sure can help a lot. For some, addictive or destructive habits can be where they turn. We run the gamut with our coping mechanisms. But our root cause and solution are the same: something has created tension or angst and we want to occupy ourselves somehow, so we reach out for what we know.
When Peter is in the boat and he comes to recognize it is Jesus on the shore, he immediately jumps into the water to get to Jesus quickly. His fishing trip didn’t really fix anything. Peter knows Jesus can. In our times of trial may we too quickly look to Jesus. May we too go to Him without hesitation. Jesus is always the solution. Always.