Sojourn: Toward an Enduring City
5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 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. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” 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. 8 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.
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 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.”16 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.”17 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.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
The photographs are breathtakingly poignant. Captured by the expert eye of the prize-winning photographer, they evoke memories no one still has and moments of greatness long evaporated. The book is titled, What Is Left Behind. It's a collection of pictures of exactly that, the leftovers of life now for purchase at estate sales. They are hard to look at. They are frightening in the simple truth they declare. All of the things we have, all of them, will someday belong to someone who doesn't revere them; sold at a discount to no one who cares.
It's truly a humbling experience to be mesmerized by those images—humbling precisely because they call to mind our own rush to pride, our own self-created sense of worth, and value, and meaning. We cry out like Solomon, "Vanities of vanities, says the Preacher, vanities of Vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3)."
And it is just that humbling reality that Peter himself had experienced. Betrayed by his rough accent as he stood by the fire, he surely felt his self-sufficiency and bravado waft away with the smoke. Peter was the one who had declared he would never forsake his Lord. And Peter was the one who now caught the eye of Jesus as the guards jostled Him away to the cross. He had nothing left but memories no one wanted. Peter was undone by his pride.
Days upon agonizing days would pass before that welcoming and restoring breakfast on the beach. Peter would say, "Yes, Lord, You know I love You," without a hint of bravado. At last he knew the full reality that everything that was worth anything was found in knowing the love of Jesus. Peter had learned about humility that grows in self-insufficiency and flowers fully in the sufficiency of Christ.
So when Peter writes to the churches on the fringe of the Roman Empire, he calls the believers to be people marked by humility—humility owned and humility shared. Even as ridicule and violence began to overtake them, Christ's Ones were to forsake self-sufficient pride and walk humbly with the Lord.
That's Peter's message for us as well. Knowing that we have been saved, and loved, and restored by Jesus, there is no room for self-centeredness, no need for the hollow trappings of importance. Indeed, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace!"