The Second Chance the Lord Gave Us!
We are going through Eastertide after the Lenten Season and Easter Sunday. In the Christian Calendar, “Lent” is 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. During Lent, we pray not to fall into temptation, practice self-control and spend some time meditating on how great God’s grace is. Then, we have a big celebration on Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is a big celebration day for Christians as much so as Christmas. From the day after Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday is 50 days. We call it “Eastertide.” We call the Sunday’s the first Sunday of Easter, the second Sunday of Easter, the Third Sunday of Easter, etc. It has a little different meaning than “after Easter.” “After Easter” means that “after Easter is done,” but “of Easter” means we are still “in the Easter season.” We may still say, “Christ is risen indeed!” and celebrate it. But somehow, it is not as familiar to us as if the greeting, “he has risen!” is applicable only on Easter Sunday, not any longer. I wonder why we forget the joy of Easter so fast. Today, I want to talk about “The Second Chance the Lord Gave us.” As God loves everyone, God also gives everyone a second chance. But, what matters is if we can catch it.
In today’s scripture, the disciples of Jesus forgot Easter’s joy even though they met the risen Christ. The disciples gathered in a place and shut the doors in fear after Jesus died on the cross. Jesus came to them and showed them that he had risen from the dead. They rejoiced in his resurrection. However, their joy didn’t last long. They remained without Jesus. They went back to Galilee, where they first met Jesus three years ago. To wait for the risen Jesus, they might need patience, confidence, courage, and faith in Jesus’ teaching and promise. But, it was not easy for those who had experienced failure already. Peter denied Jesus three times; Thomas, who doubted Jesus’ resurrection, and Nathanael, who was suspicious of Jesus, saying, “how does come goodness from Galilee?”
They began their journey with Jesus three years ago from Galilee. They pretended to gain powerful authority with Jesus, seeing Jesus’ miraculous work. They expected to get a prominent position next to Jesus, who would be the King of the world and Jews. They were full of confidence because of Jesus, as Peter said, “I am ready to go to prison and death with you.” But, they experienced that they couldn’t do anything without Jesus. Even though Jesus showed up to them as the risen Christ, they were still weak, lacked patience, and had low-self-esteem. Even they didn’t have the energy to encourage one another because they thought they failed.
Therefore, as soon as the oldest disciple, Peter, said, “I’m going fishing,” as if they would wait, they said, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. They were experts in fishing. However, perhaps, they couldn’t focus on fishing. Instead, they might have been regretful, shameful and worried about when they would see Jesus again.
Jesus stood on the beach as he called his disciples the first time three years ago, saying, “I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Jesus, who knew their concerns, said to them first with compassion and mercy, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” Jesus called them “children,” which means to show his compassion and mercy on them. Jesus advised, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So, they cast it, and now they could not haul it in because there were so many fish. At that moment, they notice that it was the Lord, Jesus Christ. As soon as they noticed he was Jesus, Peter ran to the Lord first.
Jesus made a charcoal fire there and invited Peter. The charcoal fire might have traumatized Peter because he denied Jesus when he was next to the charcoal fire when Jesus was arrested. We make mistakes sometime in our lives, but we may face failure or mistakes again directly to overcome them. Jesus invited Peter to the place he previously failed and asked him, “Do you love me?” Can you imagine it? How did Peter feel? Lots of regret and shame might come to his mind, but he answered, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” And he didn’t stop there and asked him again, “Simon Peter, do you love me?” Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.” And Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus again asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, which reminded him that he had denied Jesus a third time. And Peter answered, “Lord, you know everything; You know I love you.” And Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
No one can throw stones at Peter, who denied Jesus when he was arrested. No one can argue that he didn’t love Jesus. Jesus also didn’t ask him why he denied him. Instead, fed him and asked him, “Do you love me?” Peter was a person like us. Even though Peter failed, Jesus gave him a second chance to the ministry for God’s kingdom. Even though we sometimes make mistakes or fail, we are Christians. We cannot deny our faith in Jesus Christ because of our mistakes. In other words, we cannot judge others who make mistakes, saying, “a Christian wouldn’t do this!” Jesus, who knows our weakness, surely comes to us again in order to give us a second chance. As Jesus invited Peter to the charcoal fire, the place of his failure, perhaps, we may face our failures again like some trauma. However, don’t be afraid of failure because Jesus is there with you. The risen Jesus came to Galilee again to see his disciples and gave them a second chance to be “fishermen of people.”
Where is the place you feel you have failed? You may go back there and pray and wait for a second chance. The Lord will give you a second chance. If one door is closed, the other door would be open for you. I have to say, I am map blind; when I lose my way, I go back to the first place I started, and eventually, I can find my way even though it takes me a longer. If you feel that you have lost your way about what to do, even though it takes you a little longer, you may start at the beginning. Our faith is the same; if you lose the joy of Easter, you may remember when you meet Jesus first, and it will remind you how to rejoice in the Lord. I hope you recall your first love of God and revitalize your faith in the Lord. And, don’t miss the second chance the Lord gave you to serve God and serve his people. It’s never too late! Thanks be to God. Amen!