When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment…and plunged into the sea. —John 21:7
Jump! Are you willing to take that final step off the platform and into the pool? Are you desiring to springboard into the deeper waters of faith and obedience?
Peter in this case could not wait for the slow boat to arrive at shore. Instead, taking his shirt, with full abandon of the boat, fish and all that he had returned to after his denial, Peter launches heart-strong toward Christ. What is it that you are waiting for? What is it that you have returned to because you have felt the sting of your own denial? What is it that you feel unworthy to do?
Jesus has followed-up on His beloved disciples. They have gone back to fishing and returned to the life they knew before His calling. Little did they know that there was something greater awaiting them in the future. Peter, never the one to remain sedentary, jumps into the water to rush ahead to meet Christ. What can we learn as leaders from this quick incident?
Leaders are going to make mistakes.
Peter is a perfect example of a leader who longs to please Jesus, serve His cause and still fail. Leaders are human…even spiritual ones. Peter is however re-instated by Jesus as a leader for the church and God used Him in great ways regardless of his past mistakes. Don’t let the fear of failing keep you from moving ahead. Your past can be a springboard the Lord uses to launch you into a completely new direction!
Leaders take initiative.
Regardless of the outcome, leaders must step-up and step-out. Many times throughout his life, Peter put his foot in his mouth; but everyone knew exactly where Peter stood (on his tongue…a bad joke, I know!) Peter, ever the leader, jumps off the boat and swims to shore to meet the Lord. It’s important that leaders take the steps toward reconciliation and relational mending. Jesus modeled this ultimately by His coming to bring us back to God. And it is Jesus who first initiates a renewed relationship with Peter after the resurrection (Mark 16:7).
In this case, Peter shows his desire to be close to the Lord and have that sweet fellowship renewed. Leaders have to place a high regard and importance on relationships and always be moving toward unity and love. Even after their breakfast, Peter is not questioned on his ability but his love for the Lord. Leaders must place love for the Lord and people as their highest callings and take initiatives to cultivate those kind of relationships.
Leaders take risks.
Safety is not the role for the leader. He must be wiling to dive into the great unknown. Peter’s dive into the water here is symbolic of a baptism. He is abandoning this way of life for good. Peter has left it before but returned to it once more after his denial and then the Lord’s subsequent death. This jumping into the water paints the picture of leaving the past behind and moving ever closer to the Lord.
Jesus and Peter have a discussion after the breakfast about Peter’s love and new commissioning into service. Jesus asks Peter first: do you love me more than these? These things to which you have returned? These people that never denied? These things in which you take comfort? Peter, are you really willing to love me more than anything? Are you really willing to risk it all? Peter humbly says yes. He understands the risk being placed on him. Jesus was willing to risk on Peter once again. He will take the risk on you, also.
Shortly after reaching shore, Peter is commissioned by Christ to lead and teach people. Christ was now truly making Peter a “fisher of men” and Peter was adopting that role. Having abandoned the Lord three times, Peter is now admonished three times to fulfill leadership within the church. And Peter does. He leads and lives out his calling. Where is God calling you to lead? What are you going to have to leave behind? What role of leadership do you need to respond to?
Final thought: When you see the Lord, don’t hesitate or wait…jump! Be obedient to His calling and your life will make a splash!