John 21: 9-17
“The fish is almost done! You’ve been working hard! Take a break!” I hollered to the men as they came near the shore. “Bring a few more fish up here!”
Peter headed back to the boat and helped the others pull the net of fish onto shore. They started sorting the fish immediately. “One hundred fifty three keepers,” said Peter with a big grin on his weathered face. “And I thought we were going home empty!”
It was good to be together again. We ate the fish I’d cooked and the loaf of bread I had purchased on the way. It was a little odd that no one asked about how I came to be here.
When we had finished I called to Peter, “Peter, I want to talk to you. Alone.” He followed me to some rocks next to the lake. The water splashed near our feet as we sat on a large flat rock, just high enough to keep us dry. We just sat in the quiet of the morning, the sun warming our backs.
I pushed Peter’s shoulder with mine and asked, “Peter, do you love me as your God?”
He looked startled; it’s not a common question. “You’re my best friend. I respect you. I want to learn from you,” said Peter.
“Take care of my people,” I said, hoping he would understand. We sat in silence a few minutes and then I asked again, “Peter, do you love me as your God?”
“I have no friend closer than you,” Peter responded. “You’re like an older brother to me.”
“I want you to take care of the people,” I said. “They are going to need your help.” The water lapped the edge of the rocks and the sun rose higher into the blue sky. I looked at Peter; he was just the sort of man that was needed, honest and strong. “Peter, do you love me as a close friend?” I asked. I saw sadness in his eyes, like he thought he had failed me.
“You are my friend. My closest friend,” Peter said his eyes filling with water.
“I want you to take care of my people, Peter,” I said one last time. I hoped he understood.