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Are You Going Backwards?

After the resurrection, the Lord Jesus told the disciples that He would see them in Galilee (Matthew 28:10). So, after the second Sunday, when the Passover Feast was over, they began the eighty–mile walk north to the Galilee area of Israel. Imagine Peter's feelings as he anticipated this meeting with Christ. He evidently must have been struggling with his denial of Christ. The Lord knew Peter's heart. He made sure that Peter got the invitation! When the angels at the empty tomb appeared to the women after the resurrection, they singled out Peter, saying,

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you (Mark 16:7; emphasis mine).

No one likes being confronted with their sin or mistakes. Confrontation, though, can be one of the most loving things a person can do to others or have done to them. The Lord told Mary Magdalene to tell Peter that He would see him in Galilee, which I am sure would have been very unsettling to the broken-hearted disciple. We have all had times when we have had to face our failures. The enemy of our souls would have us believe that we are out for the count and not worthy, and our poor self-image to halt our spiritual growth and effectiveness.

Satan knows that when we get up from the dust of our sin, We will arise, having learned more of God's grace and our need to lean on Christ. Our thankfulness deepens, and our failures make us stronger. We become humbler and more dependent on the grace of God. How we respond to our failure makes the difference in where we go from that point. We are to fail forward and continue to walk.

When the group of disciples finally arrived at the Sea of Galilee, while they waited for Jesus to come to them, Peter went back to what he did in his younger days:

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing (John 21:3).

In my younger years, I was a commercial fisherman on the East coast of England. For a person who has lived near the sea or worked as a seafarer, there is a sense of tranquility in returning to the seaside after some time away. It can be the peacefulness of the waves washing up the beach, the beauty of the coastline, and the smell of the fish at the harbor. It was all too tempting to Peter, and all the old memories of good times must have returned to him. Isn't it interesting that we never remember the hard times when we are tempted to go back, only the good ones?

We are never fulfilled spiritually by going backward. When the children of Israel found the going tough on the way to the Promised Land, they wanted to go back to Egypt, but that was not an option (Numbers 14:1-4; Deuteronomy 17:16). When I felt the Lord speaking to me to leave my very lucrative job in commercial fishing and follow Him, I left our nets and cleaned windows for a fragile living. It was a hard time, but I could not go back. The Lord had me in training for many years before serving in full-time ministry. There were times when I thought about returning to my work as a fisherman, wondering if I had made the right choice. If I had gone back, I do not believe I would be doing the work I am doing today. It was time for me to leave my nets behind. The trouble with going back is that we often draw others with us, which is the case with Peter that day, for six others went with him. We all influence others with our lives, some more, some less, but when we influence others to join us in going backward, it is never a good thing. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus and walk this life of faith. Keith Thomas

Taken from the Bible study in the Gospel of John: 42. Jesus Reinstates Peter


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