Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord”, he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat … (verses 7-8)
This little scene has always struck me as curious. Peter, stripped down for fishing, puts on his outer garment and jumps into the drink. He’d be weighted down, struggling through the waters, before emerging sopping wet, desperately needing a change of clothes. It seems he couldn’t bear to greet Jesus unless he was appropriately attired.
Equally curious, though, is his eagerness to greet Jesus at all. Curious, that is, apart from the permeating grace of our Lord. For Peter had thoroughly denied his Master, not once but three times, right in the midst of Jesus’ greatest need on the night of his arrest. The Gospels tell us of Peter’s agonizing remorse after the fact, filled with guilty angst that would have left him shame-faced and hanging back from any future close encounter with Jesus.
But something has happened to set all of that aside. We know some of it. On that first day of the week, Jesus had stood among them and declared, “Peace be with you.” Clearly this was more than a casual greeting. Peace actually settled on those disciples, permeating their souls. Peter was there. He received it. The Lord’s peace embraced him.
But there was another moment earlier, too. Luke tells us that before the Upper Room encounter, Peter had already met with the Lord privately, face to face (Luke 24:34). The veil is drawn over that meeting. We don’t know anything more than that it happened. But it seems clear Peter received restorative grace.
So much so that he was eager, not reluctant, to encounter Jesus again and again. So, he plunged into the lake, leaving behind both fish and companions, struggling to shore to be face to face once more.
Oh, there was need for further restoration, later applied by Jesus in a three-fold commissioning around the breakfast fire. But grace had already made Peter eager. So he plunged right in.
Lord Jesus, thank you for this riveting image of Peter, full clothed, going completely overboard to see you face to face. Thank you for the grace that is evidenced by his passion. Thank you that such grace extends to me. Let me never back away from being fully present with you. Whenever guilt and remorse threaten to interrupt our connection, push me, over the brink, into face to face encounter, acknowledging wrongdoing, receiving forgiveness, and stepping fully into restoration.
Thank you for restorative grace.
Reflect: Is anything interrupting your own face to face encounter with Jesus this day? If so, with confidence, bring it to the Lord – confess, repent, be restored. Plunge into renewed relationship again.