Peter lost his best friend. Has that happened to you? It's not a good feeling. In fact it's downright depressing. Peter saw his best friend, Jesus, mocked and spit upon, beaten and crucified. Peter remembered the days Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry, cast out demons and restored life to Lazarus and Jairus' daughter. He remembered being on the mountain with Jesus when Moses and Elijah showed up, but he didn't remember what Jesus said about the coming days when He would suffer and die and rise to life again. Peter believed his best Friend would live forever, yet His body lay in a tomb.
Do you know what he did? He and his buddies did what they spent a lifetime doing before they ever met Jesus. They went fishing, and they fished all night. Back then they didn't fish with rods and reels and fish finders. They fished with nets. Exhausted from working the nets all night, they didn't catch any fish.
A voice came from shore early in the morning. "Friends, have you caught any fish?"
"No," they answered.
"Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you'll find some." Can you imagine what they thought? Yet, when they cast their net to the right, they caught so many fish, they couldn't pull the net into the boat.
John said to Peter, "It is the Lord." Peter jumped into the water and swam to shore to meet Jesus. His friends followed in the boat, towing the net of fish. They found their Friend on the beach cooking a breakfast of fish and bread over burning coals. Just as He told them before He suffered, He rose from the grave.
"Bring some of the fish you caught," Jesus smiled.
Peter climbed back into the boat. He and his friends counted 153 big fish, but amazingly the net did not break.
Did you catch it? Peter and his friends went back to the life they knew before Jesus, but He was right there with them. He promised them when He walked with them that He would always be with them. Even after Peter denied Him! Jesus forgave him. It is the same for you and me. Once we experience God's amazing love, we cannot escape it. He is always with us whether in good times or bad. Like the best Friend Jesus was for Peter, He is that for you and me. We never have to go through sorrow or suffering, disappointments or pain without our Best Friend. He will never leave us alone. He will always be with us. He promised, and He keeps His promises.
Thank you, Jesus, for always being with us. Be our joy and strength today and forever so that others might be inspired to love you too. Amen.