“Go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee” (Mark 16:7).
After the resurrection, an angelic message assures Peter of his place among the disciples. This message was in preparation for a meeting with the Master Himself. Peter is the object of special care and love at this time, and the Lord appeared to him individually: “He was seen of Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:5). We have no account of what occurred at that meeting, but the fact is there to impress upon our hearts the love of the Lord for Peter, even after his denial.
Soon we see Peter again, in his old foremost place among the disciples. They follow him fishing, and all night catch nothing. In the morning, Jesus stands upon the shore, but they know not that it is Him. When they are told to cast the net on the right side of the ship, they “cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes” (John 21:6).
How it must have recalled a similar catch of fish which was instrumental in Peter’s conversion. As John declares, “It is the Lord,” Peter’s love is again manifested as he leaps from the boat to swim to shore. “As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread” (John 21:9). A striking thing was on the shore—a fire of coals! The only other place we find it in the Gospels is in that other well-remembered scene in the High Priest’s palace when Peter’s denial occurred. How it must have spoken to Peter! As Peter dines with his Lord, in the presence of this reminder of his sins, his heart must have been filled with a more tender love and gladness for this time of fellowship with Jesus.
After they eat, Jesus turns to Peter and asks, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?” Peter replies, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee” (John 21:15). Three times the question is repeated and answered, connecting Peter’s affirmations of love with his threefold denial.
Step by step, Peter understands his weakness and is now fit to “strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). Jesus, the faithful Shepherd, who gave His life for the sheep, could now give those sheep, so dear to Him, into the hands of Peter. When we are brought to nothing, He can use us in our nothingness. Blessed Lord! May we be sustained by His grace, as sufficient for us as for Simon Peter.
—Adapted from Peter’s “Conversion” by F.W. Grant.