Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! According to the post-resurrection accounts in the four gospels, Jesus appeared to his disciples a number of times before His ascension to Heaven. Yet in John 21:3, Peter decided to go back to fishing; six other disciples who were with him decided to tag along. Perhaps Peter was still confused about what had transpired in the last three and a half years culminating in the crucifixion and resurrection. Perhaps Peter still felt unworthy after denying Jesus. Perhaps Peter was quite disappointed with how things ended up after having sacrificed everything to dedicate His life to Jesus. Whatever the reason, Peter felt the need to go back to what he knew, did not struggle to do and had probably done most of his life.
Do you sometimes feel like going back to your old life? Perhaps things have not gone as you expected since you became a Christian. Well, God promises us a good life but does not promise us an easy one. Though we did not do anything to earn our salvation, which is a free gift accorded to us by grace, we must work to grow as Christians. We start out drinking milk as babies and as we mature bones will be handed to us.
The Christian life requires effort on our part-not effort to earn salvation-but effort to keep growing from strength to strength. It requires letting go of some old habits, changing mindsets, doing things differently, living right, making godly decisions, putting others first and all this may seem a bit challenging and overwhelming. Every now and then your carnal self rears its ugly head; you still struggle with impatience, meanness; you worry, you are not always kind, loving, good, not as self-controlled as you would like, etc.
Then you start thinking that maybe it will be easier to just revert to where you were before. Most of us shake our heads unbelievably, slap our foreheads, roll our eyes and suck our teeth whenever we read the account of the exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land. I am referring to the instances where the Israelites would whine, grumble and long to return to Egypt anytime things got tough on the journey. We do not usually see ourselves in them but if you would look a little closer you will realize that you have had a few of these take-me-back-to-Egypt moments! One too many. Surely you do not want to return to a life of slavery-slavery to sin!!
As Peter found out quickly, without Jesus, we cannot do a whole lot. “…So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” When Jesus showed up in the morning and directed them, they caught so much “…they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” John 21:6.
Fortunately for us, we have a savior who comes after us when we decide to walk away. His love for us is so great that He does not leave us or watch aloof as we walk back onto the path of destruction. He came back for Peter, reinstated him as the head of the group and the rest, as they say is history. There really is nothing good back there, so let us set our faces like flint and “…press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14.