I don’t know about you, but I love it when I see people in Scripture behaving like…well, like people. Like I would do. I love seeing how they were humans just like me. They mess up, they say the wrong thing–sometimes the stupid thing–and sometimes…sometimes they even just revert to default behavior when they don’t know what else to do. We can see a great example of this with Peter and the others after Christ’s resurrection, before His ascension:

Some time later, Jesus once again revealed himself to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, in the following manner. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were gathered together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going out to fish.” The others replied, “We will go with you.” They set off and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Shortly after daybreak, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus called out, “Children, have you caught anything?” When they answered, “No,” he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” They did so, and they were unable to haul the net on board because of the great number of fish.

~ John 21:1-6

Let’s imagine for a minute that we’re there with the disciples. They’d gone through Holy Week with Christ. They’d seen him crucified. They’d gone to the empty tomb. Christ Himself had appeared to them in a locked room, not once but twice. And John tells us that Jesus performed other signs for the disciples that weren’t recorded. In short:

They knew. They knew their Lord had defeated death. They knew He’d been raised to life again. They knew it.

But…then what?

Haven’t we all been there? We had that shock, that jolt, that lightning bolt epiphany. It’s real! He’s alive! He really is Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God! We are filled with joy unspeakable. Amazement unfathomable. Peace unknowable.

And then…what? Life is going on, ticking by, but what are we supposed to do? Jesus didn’t give us instructions, most likely. He hadn’t given them any at this point. We know that for at least a week, quite likely more, they were just hiding out in that upper room where He’d appeared to them twice. They must have been getting antsy. They must have begun to ask, “Now what? What are we supposed to do? Do we go out…? But we might get arrested, then what good would we be? Do we just sit here? Wait for Christ to visit us again, and press Him for some instructions this time? WHAT DO WE DO?”

I can just imagine Peter–bold, daring Peter–slapping his hands to his legs and standing up. He’d had enough of sitting around, and if he didn’t know what to do…well then, he’d just do what he’d always done. “I’m going fishing.”

Fishing. A normal, everyday activity. More, the one he’d been raised for, trained in, the thing he’d made a living at all his life, until three years ago. Fishing. The thing he knew best. But not only that. Fishing–the thing he’d been doing when Jesus first called him.

I don’t think that had ever struck me before. In a way, Peter is just returning to his default setting, right? Going back to the thing he knows best. Reverting to old behavior. He’s pressing the reset button, unplugging the machine, returning to factory settings.

But it’s not only that. He’s also returning to the place, to the activity, where Jesus had met him before. He’s doing the thing that had first made him aware of Jesus’ holiness, to where Jesus had said, “From now on, you’ll be a fisher of men.”

Sometimes we just need that reminder. We need to go back to where it all started and remember. We need the comfort of those old nets in our hands, our boat under our feet. We need fresh air and water lapping the hull and our best friends, our brothers beside us. Sometimes, we just need to go back to the place where our faith began.

Why? Well, we see that in this story too. Because Jesus meets Peter there again–in fact, we see a replay of their first meeting. The lack of a catch, the instructions to cast again on the other side, the net-testing haul.

But this time, they didn’t have to ask who this Man was. They knew. I imagine Peter squinting toward the shore, but unable to see the figure he’d heard so clearly. I imagine John–the youngest–elbowing him in the side, his own eyesight just fine. “It’s the Lord!” he proclaims. And that’s all Peter needs. He takes his cloak, jumps in the water, and swims to shore. There’s no stopping him, no waiting for that heavy-laden boat to be rowed back. He knows his Savior is there, right there, and nothing will keep him away.

I hope that’s how we all are when we revert to the comfort of our default position. I hope we see it, not as something just to fill our time or give us something to do or make us some money. I hope we see the comfort of the familiar as the gateway to the Divine. That we see it as putting ourselves in the place where we met Jesus, so we can encounter Him again.

And I pray that when we hear His voice, we listen, just like Peter did. I pray that the moment someone says, “It’s the Lord!” our hearts quicken within us, and we JUMP. Jump for the fastest way to meet Him wherever He is.

I pray that our default position becomes “meet the Lord.” Whatever that might look like for you.

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