21:1 After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
It's been over 3 years since Peter was fishing. The last time he went fishing he fished all night and caught nothing. In the morning Jesus came to the beach and used his boat as a platform to speak to the crowds while Peter and the others were cleaning their nets. When Jesus was done speaking He told Peter and the others to head out again and fish some more. Peter had at first resisted, explaining that they had fished all night and caught nothing and that they were done. It was quitting time. However there was something about Jesus and His words that made Peter reconsider. "But because You say so we will do it."
They went out and put out their nets and caught so many fish their nets began to break under the strain and they had to call another boat to come out and help them bring the fish in. Both boats were so full they almost sank. When Peter took in what was happening he ran to Jesus on the beach, fell at His feet, grabbed Him around the legs and with his head bowed said "Go away from me for I am a sinful man."
Guilt and shame. Before Peter ever became a disciple of Jesus guilt and shame nearly prevented him.
Now after having betrayed Him with cursing Peter can't see himself ever being of use to Jesus again so he heads back fishing. He heads back to the familiar. He heads back to his old life, the life he knew before he met Him.
There is a verse in the Old Testament that says a dog will return to it's own vomit. The Bible is full of stories of people going in circles. Perhaps you can think of someone you know who got free from a situation only to return to it. Perhaps you are that person. It's what we do when guilt and shame convince us we can't go forward. Instead we return to the familiar no matter how dark or dysfunctional it may have been.
It comes down to belief vs unbelief. Jesus tells us we are free to move forward. Guilt says we are chained to our past. Jesus says all is forgiven, grace is offered and He breathes new life into us. Shame says none of that applies to us. Others may be forgiven but our junk is too dark and too heavy and we turn from hope and go back fishing or back to the bar or back to another abusive relationship or back to whatever dead end road we were on before He came to us the first time.
Where are you? Have you "gone back fishing"? Are you considering "going back fishing"? Are you struggling between guilt and grace? Hope and shame? Light and darkness.
You must decide who you believe. The One who died for you or the one who wants you dead.
Tomorrow we'll see what happens next...