Easter Monday Reflection

A miraculous catch of fish brought them to their senses. The beloved disciple exclaimed to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’, and then, typically, wonderfully, Peter tucked his shirt in so that it wouldn’t flap around, jumped in, and swam like mad for the shore, with the boat following along.

       In an instant, a failed fishing trip was transformed by the risen Jesus into the most amazing success.

       As the miracle occurred the disciples recognised their master and they must have also begun to recognise the fact that any fishing they were to do in the future would only be a success if they did it in the name and strength of Jesus. Of course, by doing this miracle, Jesus wasn’t calling them to the normal sort of fishing that they were used to. No. He was calling them into his mission of fishing for people; bringing people into the Kingdom of God; bringing people to know him. Quite simply, their lives couldn’t just carry on as if the previous three years hadn’t happened. They couldn’t just go back to their fishing business on Galilee. No, they were to go into all the world and be fishermen for the Kingdom.

       Before they could do that, though, there was some business to be done, especially for Peter. As they sat around the campfire and enjoyed the fish that Jesus cooked for breakfast, I think Peter’s thoughts may well have been elsewhere. The sense of smell can trigger very powerful memories. You’ve probably had the experience where a waft of some scent or other transports you straight back to a past memory. As Peter caught wafts of charcoal smoke from Jesus’ campfire, it’s very probable that his memory of another campfire was triggered: the campfire in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house, where Peter warmed himself and denied knowing Jesus three times.

       So as the shore-side breakfast party continued, Peter was full of regret and guilt; ashamed that he had denied the risen Lord who was yet again serving him and the others.

       But now imagine the scene. Breakfast is over, and Jesus takes Peter aside for a quiet stroll along the beach. And a wonderful conversation happens:

‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’

‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’

‘Then, feed my lambs.’

‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me?’

‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’

‘Then, take care of my sheep.’

‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’

‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’

‘Then, feed my sheep.’

       At the High Priest’s house, three awful denials from Peter. But now, on the beach, Jesus prompts three affirmations of love from Peter, and Jesus restores him to Kingdom service three times. Three denials. Three statements of restoration from Jesus. Peter is fully restored, and now ready to serve the Kingdom. It’s one of the most vivid and tender scenes in all of Scripture.

      So what is this account all about? Well, three things. Firstly, a wonderful resurrection appearance of Jesus. Secondly, restoration to loving relationship with Jesus. And thirdly, a commission from Jesus to go into all the world to fish for the Kingdom of God.

       As we stand on the shore of the rest of our lives, the message is the same for us. In the presence and power of the risen Jesus, we are to affirm our love for him, just as Peter did. And then, forgiven, as we hear his call, we are to be resolved to go wherever he leads us to bring people into the Kingdom.

The Revd Matthew Firth

Northern Diocesan Church Planter


God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.

C. S. Lewis

Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you. Fight the good fight of faith, and God will give you spiritual mercies.

George Whitefield

It is also our apostolic mission to enable all our people to develop into effective ambassadors of Christ in the Church and in the world.

Bishop John Fenwick

Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

Billy Graham