I love the story of Peter casting himself into the Sea of Tiberius.
It’s not only such a clear indicator of Peter’s personality, but his eagerness is something I want to feel for my Savior. The account is recorded in John 21. After the Resurrection, when Christ no longer tarried with His disciples, Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, and John went fishing. They fished all night long and caught nothing.
When the morning came, they saw a man on the shore, who told them to cast down their nets. When they did “they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”
“Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.”
There are many reasons I love what Peter did. I love his devotion and want to emulate his love for the Lord. I love the progress this story shows, from a man sinking in the waves to now hurling himself into the sea to reach Christ. As I study this story, I reflect on my own response to Christ’s call to discipleship. There are a couple of different lessons I learn.
Do I Recognize the Lord’s Presence?
Even though they had experienced a similar miracle at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, the disciples on the boat didn’t initially recognize Jesus. Perhaps they were still trying to wrap their mortal minds around His Resurrection or couldn’t quite believe He would still appear to them. Whatever the reason, they didn’t realize the Lord was in their midst.
Sometimes, I feel that way. The Lord is there, working in my life, but I just don’t have the eyes to see. I’m not, as Elder Neil L. Andersen said, attentively catching hold of the thought of Jesus Christ in my mind. We should strive to discern Him and recognize Him in our lives. Do we actively seek His companionship, taking note of His divine influence, even when it is subtle?
Eagerly Seeking the Lord
We will all fall short of the glory of God. In this mortal world, there will be times when it may feel difficult to remain close to the Savior. Peter teaches us that the moment we sense Him, we can be “all in.” We can symbolically throw ourselves into the sea to reach Him.
I want so many things. If I’m honest with myself, I often want things that are likely small or even silly in God’s grand design. I have to stop and ask if Christ is my greatest desire. Do I long to know Him, to be close to Him? When I’m given the chance, I want to be the sort of person that doesn’t hesitate to go to Christ.
Bold Faith & Trust
Earlier in Christ’s ministry, Peter had another opportunity to leave a boat. While he did so in faith, he faltered and sank. Though the circumstances were slightly different at the Sea of Tiberias, I appreciate the juxtaposition between these two events in Peter’s life. On a boat once more, Peter did not hesitate to leave safety behind and make his way to Christ, no matter what sea stood in the way. He didn’t even have the power to walk on the water, relying on his faith to make it to shore.
We can have bold faith and trust in Christ. Whatever stands between us, if we will dedicate ourselves to reaching the Savior, we can have confidence that He is waiting for us with an abundance of love and a further call to duty.
What do you learn from this story?