Imagine yourself to be the Apostle Peter. You have cried, prayed, fasted, fished, all night, and caught nothing. And then suddenly a voice cries out from the shore and tells you to cast your net again, just one more time. The fish come from nowhere and are practically jumping into the net. You look back to the man who called out from the shore and realize it is Jesus! You realize it is going to take some time to haul in this catch and you just can’t wait. So you put on your robe and jump out of the boat to get to shore to embrace Him. In the midst of the excitement, you forget your sorrow and that denied Him ~ three times.
Because…. just a few short days ago, you were in the upper room with everyone and like the rest, swore your allegience to always follow this man you believed to be the Son of God. Then just when you thought you would never do what you did…
So when he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and [e]sat down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me, Teacher, and, Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye also should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, A [f]servant is not greater than his lord; neither [g]one that is sent greater than he that sent him.
If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them.
Jesus washed each of the disciple’s feet individually. He then said to them, “do this to one another.” I believe he was saying, “Don’t compare yourself to one another, but serve one another as I have served you.” Peter, John and the other disciples lived, loved and worked with Jesus, yet each one had their individual assignments in the Kingdom of God.
He went on to talk to them prior to going to the garden of Gethsemane.
29-30 His disciples said, “Finally! You’re giving it to us straight, in plain talk—no more figures of speech. Now we know that you know everything—it all comes together in you. You won’t have to put up with our questions anymore. We’re convinced you came from God.”
31-33 Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16 MSG
Now, the fact remained. They would all abandoned Jesus in the garden. No need to compare anymore. Shame, guilt, grief and hopeless they were all in the same boat.
Let’s read more about Peter’s denial.
It was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself. John 18:18 ASV
Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore unto him, Art thou also one of his disciples? He denied, and said, I am not. One of the [n]servants of the high priest, being a kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Peter therefore denied again: and straightway the cock crew. John 18:-25-27
Now defeated and sorrowful, Peter decides his only option is to return to his profession, fishing for fish, rather than men. Peter is a natural born leader and others naturally followed him. You would think Peter would learn to listen and keep his eyes on Jesus, rather than worrying about what Jesus has told him and the others to do… follow Him.
Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows,[c] have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards[d] from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
Jesus asks Peter the same question twice, “Do you love me?”
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep”.
“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others[f] will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”
Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God.
Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
John 21 NLT
I’ve often wondered if I had been the one to realize it was Jesus on the shore, would I have turned to Peter and said, “It’s the Lord!” After all wasn’t it Peter who had denied Jesus three times? Wasn’t it Peter who had stood by the coals warming his hands that had just cut off the ear of a soldier in the garden of Gethsemane and cursed and said I don’t know the man of Jesus?
Then suddenly Peter sees Jesus, he sees the fire, the fish, and humbly covers himself and jumps out of the boat to meet the very one he had just denied. What an opportunity God gives us all to be free to come to Him without remorse, without regret, and certainly without comparison! Jesus wipes away the tears of denial and replaces them with vision and hope for the future.
But, alas it doesn’t take long for the demon of comparison to test Peter’s faith….
John 21:20-21 Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”
Peter then asks about John’s fate, (nicknamed the one whom Jesus loved) who was within earshot of Jesus and Peter conversing:
When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 23Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. However, Jesus did not say that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I return, what is that to you?”… John 21:21-22
The sin of comparison will get us the same question from Jesus that Peter was asked, “What is that to you?”
Jesus didn’t wait for Peter’s answer before giving him the command Peter had heard from Jesus the first time they had met, many times over the course of their time together, as He cautioned them about the sin of comparison. “What is that to you? Follow Me” John 21:20
Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee. He saw two brothers. They were Simon (his other name was Peter) and Andrew, his brother. They were putting a net into the sea for they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Follow Me. I will make you fish for men!” At once they left their nets and followed Him. Matthew 4:18-22
It is all about our obedience to Follow Him.
We can’t do this if we are comparing ourselves to others.
from ashes to beauty