The water turned to wine was ingested by the guests, and raved as the best.
The fish multiplied were consumed by the multitude, multiple times.
The water walked on by eternal divinity was tread by temporal mortality, if only for an instant.
The 153 big fish swarmed to the net after a night of shy retreat baited only by the word of the risen.
The water still moved with the wrestle of men, boat, net and fish after the sound waves of the voice of heaven had infused its existence. A pool visited by an angel sprang to the memory of the weary fisherman. Abashed yet driven by hope he dressed his disgrace and plunged himself into the troubled sea.
Coals with fish and bread prepared by the Great Fisher of Souls awaited the hungry fishermen. He asked them to bring the fish that they had just caught. What had been difficult for all of them to pull into the boat was dragged to shore by one man paying penance and seeking to please.
After they had eaten breakfast and were filled to the gills in this third appearance after being raised from the dead Jesus speaks to one Peter. He begins with, “Simon son of Jonah.” Who there would not have known the allusion to the story of the man who spent three days in the belly of a fish for running from the Lord? And now each of them had bellies full of fish that had come from a miracle of the Lord. The theme of three is painfully repeated in the ears of the man who can still hear the third crow of the cock as he denied in triplicate his association with the Master.
“Do you love me more than these?” The question hung in the air. To avoid the jeering of strangers he had indeed shown his love for others over the Lord. His garments still damp from being drenched in the water touched by the miraculous grace and power of God he spoke what he hoped to be the truth.
“Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
The reply he heard satisfied the need for work which he had tried to supplement with fishing. “Feed my lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Three times denied. Three times redeemed.
Jesus and Peter went on to discuss some other things. Their conversation ended with how the two had begun over three years ago. The words were not wasted on this man who had plunged himself in grace and emerged dripping with purpose and peace. They are the words that are spoken to us from a Lord who does indeed know all things yet loves us. He said and continues to say, “Follow Me.”
*Excerpts from the New King James version of John 21.
*Art (“Peter’s Denial” by Ben Hammond, 14″ bronze) taken from this website: Terranova Gallery