For some time now I have been wanting to post a portion of my book but wasn’t altogether sure how to go about it. Finally I set a date and trusted in the Lord to show me what would be the best way to go about it. Then yesterday the Lord laid on my heart the blog post Damaged Goods.
While writing it I began to think about Simon Peter and at the start of John chapter 21 when he made his statement “I go a fishing” he was damaged goods too. Yes he had by this time seen the risen Savior at least 2 times. He had been told the message that the angel had given to the women, to “go and tell His disciples and Peter” so he knew Jesus was still interested in him. And at both of those meetings with Jesus, Jesus had said to all of the disciples (including Simon Peter) “Peace be unto you”.
But let us face facts. While all of the disciples had ran from Jesus the night he was arrested, it was Peter who had shot his mouth off saying “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death” (Luke 22:33). This was right after Jesus had told him that he wouldn’t do these things and then Jesus told him to his face that before the rooster crowed the second time he would deny knowing Jesus three times. So in affect he had called Jesus a liar and doubted that He knew what he was talking about. Then from verses 56-61 we see it played out, how Peter denied Jesus three times and the rooster crowing.
By this time in the book of John the report may have come back about Judas committing suicide. The disciple’s plans for the future have long ago died. And it wasn’t like Jesus was appearing to them all the time. Also from what we can see from scripture Simon Peter appears to be the de facto leader of the disciples, but he has nothing to give them, no encouragement to share, and direction to direct with. It is safe to say that Peter is still reeling from the events of the past several days.
And that is okay. The storms of life may beat us into the ground. Drive all sense of hope from our minds. But what it is doing is helping us in the long run. It is getting us to get our eyes back on Jesus who is our true hope and the lifter of our heads. Going through the storm means we are still alive.
Does it leave us messed up? You bet. Don’t give up like Judas did. Suicide is an answer; BUT it is the answer to the wrong question. Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem. The thing to do is to work it out and not give up. There are options even if you don’t know how to convey your need.
Hopefully in this brief excerpt we can all learn to try and not quit. Talking about our problems is one of the best things we can do to help ourselves or if it is the other person than listening to them is one of the best things we can do to help them. With his four words Peter said a lot.
From my forth coming book SUICIDE: THE BIBLE AND TODAY
In John 21:3 Peter said “I go a fishing” to six other of the Apostles. This scene is given to us to help us deal with someone who is on the edge. While Peter was the most outspoken of the group at this moment in his life he didn’t know how to say “I need help”. He knew he didn’t need everybody but definitely some of them. And he knew that being busy will help take your mind off of things and having friends around sure helps.
So when he uttered this statement “I go a fishing” he was telling them I need companionship. He probably felt alone at the moment. With his mind still close to being ready to snap, silence could push him over. But he needed more than the back ground noise of a radio or television (I know they didn’t exist then). Someone talking to him and others interacting with him was needed. And just as important was the correct company. Not just any old body would do. Fellow Christians would help bring him back to God while hanging with lost folk would probably pull him further away.
His statement “I go a fishing” showed that he was hoping someone would show their concern for him and his well being. Peter needed to deal with important issues and to have people care about what he cared about that would stabilize him. It would also bring him a great measure of comfort to know someone was there for him. And that they would be lending him the strength to make it through. There truly is safety and strength in numbers.
With a wound that ran as deep as his did (the leader of the disciples, his bold promises, following afar off, denying Jesus) “I go a fishing” was a cry for help. He may have possibly been depressed still over these things. It must be remembered Peter was every bit as human as we are. How many times have we failed Jesus, sinned, came up short, or whatever, and the pain we feel makes us so miserable. We can easily find ourselves desperately in need of human interaction as well, and many do.
The pressure can build like a balloon that is over inflated. One of three things can happen to that balloon. It can continue to be filled and pop. Perhaps it gets left alone slowly leaking out, almost as if its life is just passing by, being wasted till one day it is dead. Or someone can come and relieve the pressure. Peter, when he said “I go a fishing” was asking the brethren to come relieve the pressure.