Peter coiled the ropes into a sloppy pile on the deck.
The man on the shore called to them again, but Peter couldn’t hear over the lapping water and sliding ropes
“What did he say?” Peter asked.
John answered, “He said, cast on the right side to find some fish.”
The rest of them stopped fiddling with nets and oars, ropes and sails. They looked from one to another, too tired to think and too cautious to hope.
Without words, John and Peter eased themselves and the net to the other side. The boat dipped low with all their weight on one side.
In one orchestrated motion they flung the net. Once again it hit the water like a smattering of rain, then went silent. They waited.
Then in unison, they pulled.
It was stuck. But moving. Suddenly two feet of rope scraped through Peter’s hands, leaving a bloody burn before he got a grip. He and John braced themselves against the drag of the net. Andrew and James dropped their gear and they all ran to help.
All seven of them maneuvered all angles of the ropes and brought it close. The boat lurched to that side, and the dark surface shattered by the splashing of tails and fins.
Then John spoke what Peter hoped, “It is the Lord!”
Peter thrust his rope toward James, grabbed his cloak from the mast, wriggled it over his head, and dove in.
Peter had been here before. Straining at the ropes of a catch he couldn’t bring in. It was the message that book-ended his ministry with Jesus. A net so full of what he had been working for, that he could not contain it.
Though it had taken years of failure and misunderstanding for Peter to finally get it, Jesus’s message had always been the same: I will generously give you what you cannot earn and do not deserve: Salvation by grace through faith.
The first time Peter saw the message illustrated, he was frightened by Jesus’s power. “Go away from me! I am a sinful man,” he said. But three years of walking with Jesus changed his response. Instead of begging Jesus to leave, Peter’s only thought was to rush to Him. Even if it meant a morning swim.
Peter needed what only Jesus could give. And so do you and I.
We can’t earn forgiveness. We’ve undeniably done Him wrong. We can’t “make it up to him.”
We must receive what he offers in abundance: uncontainable grace.