Easter is a favorite time for many Christians and for obvious reasons. It reminds us of the glorious fact that Christ wins. Sin, death, Satan, and hell do their worst, yet Christ magnificently overcomes them all. We are on the winning side! The Christ whom we serve is risen and present and working out His purposes in our day. Easter occurs in spring, which reminds us of new beginnings regardless of how cold or harsh or miserable was the winter past. Likewise for those people who have had their lives ravaged by sin, we are reminded that there is nothing so despicable that we can do or experience that Christ’s resurrection power cannot transform into something holy and good. Clearly there are many reasons for Easter to be peoples’ favorite season!
But how did the first Christians respond to the first Easter? Scripture tells us: “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We are going with you also.’ They went put and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing” (John 21:3).
Biblical scholars have pondered why Peter went fishing. Jesus never rebukes him for doing so, so some assume he committed no sin in his nighttime efforts. This may well be true. But neither had Jesus told him to return to his fishing boat. In fact, Jesus had clearly instructed Peter and his brother to leave their fishing business and to become fishers of people (Mark 1:17-18). Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, He had appeared to Peter and told him and his companions that just as the Father had sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus was sending them (John 20:21). It was clear that Jesus had higher aspirations for Peter’s life than merely resuming his fishing business. We also know that the moment Peter saw his Lord on the shore, he enthusiastically leapt out of the boat and joined Jesus (John 21:7). Clearly Peter understood that there was far greater value in being where Jesus was than in being in a boat apart from Him. While Jesus never rebukes Peter for fishing, He does issue him a fresh command, to feed His sheep (John 21:15-17). From that point onward, we never hear of Peter fishing again.
So why did Peter go fishing? Perhaps he needed some money! Following Jesus all that time had not exactly bloated Peter’s retirement fund! He may have had bills to pay! Maybe he was hungry! With so little disposable money, perhaps Peter thought it most economical to merely catch his own. He certainly may have had reasonable motives. What is interesting is that, after his subsequent encounter with Jesus, Peter never feels the compulsion to raise money or collect food that way again (at least that Scripture tells us). Perhaps because once he met with his Lord, he realized he only needed to focus on his assignment and God would provide everything he needed to fulfill it, including his food.
Perhaps Peter had deeper concerns. Maybe after his miserable failure of denying his Lord, he had begun to question whether he could be an apostle. Maybe he returned to the one thing he thought he could do well—fish. He went at night, when the best fishing occurred. He had his best friends helping him. He was on the sea he knew like the back of his hand. Yet he caught nothing. Scripture doesn’t tell us, but that may have been a long, frustrating, soul-searching night for Peter. Now he couldn’t even fish successfully! But, as dawn arrived, Peter saw things in a different light. There was Jesus, with sufficient food for Peter and his weary co-laborers. And there was a fresh commission to serve Him. Peter was reminded of his call and that his failure had not released him from that assignment.
For the remainder of Peter’s life, he served his Lord with all of his heart. In the process, God used the former fisher of fish and his companions to turn the world upside down.
Despite all that Christ had accomplished at Easter, Peter had almost returned to the ordinary living he had done before he met Jesus. How could he possibly live the same way after all Christ had done?
Have you known Christians who enjoy the Easter season but then continue living their lives in the same ordinary manner they always have? While we may celebrate Easter, our daily living does not reflect Easter’s influence in any way. We claim Easter is important but an atheist could do what we do without any difficulty. Does Easter really make a difference in your life? If so, how? How is the power that God used to raise Christ from the dead, evident in your life? How is God using your life to impact our post-Easter world?
In these days, we must allow Christ to use our lives in ways we may never have known before. We can’t keep on fishing as if Easter never happened. Take time this season to ask the Lord how He wants Easter to impact the way you are presently living.