In reading the Gospel of John, something hit me with the story of Jesus restoring Peter. We see in Acts that Peter is a changed person and not the man we see in the gospels. So what happened to Peter between the resurrection and man we see in Acts?
I always thought Peter was changed due to the resurrection of Jesus and seeing Jesus alive again. I see the transformation happened with the restoration.
Breakfast with Jesus
Peter and others went fishing as they had before meeting Jesus and when he called them to follow him 3 years earlier. They went back to what they knew best to provide a livelihood for themselves and family. Remember, Peter was married so he needs to take care of his family too (we don’t know if he had kids).
So they are fishing and see a man on the shore asking them if they are finding any fish.
Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. John 21:5-6
With this miraculous catch of fish, John realizes it is Jesus on the shore and tells Peter. “It is the Lord”.
Here is where we see the old Peter. The impetuous Peter. The unrestored Peter. The Peter not yet transformed.
Peter jumps into the water and swims toward the shore leaving the others to pull in the fish! He abandoned them to finish the work so he could run off.
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. John 21:7-8
The old Peter shines bright here.
Jesus’ restoration of Peter to himself removes Peter’s previous denials of Jesus.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17
Peter is forever changed.
Jesus changes us too. We are transformed when we answer Jesus’ call.
I am forever thankful that God restores and redeems us and still uses our unique personalities for His work. Peter will always be Peter as we see in John 21:20-22:
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” John 21:20-22
A glimpse that Peter will always be Peter but Peter is now a restored and transformed Peter.