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His Grace, His Payment

   What I do you know not now; but you shall know hereafter, Yahshua the Messiah.
  “Then took they Him, and led Him, and brought Him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, ‘Of a truth this fellow also was with Him: for he is a Galilean.’ And Peter said, ‘Man, I know not what you say.’ And immediately, while he yet spoke, the cock crew. And the Master turned, and looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Master, how He had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows, you shall deny Me thrice’. And Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Matt. 22:54-62).

A Memorable Fish Fry
   Fast forward now, several days later and to John’s narrative in chapter 21.
  Perhaps then, when memory of the Master’s death and of the eleven sequestered together behind locked doors for fear, having dimmed with the passing of time, Peter with six others felt it safe to venture out and to take up their previous trade.
  Little might they, having once trusted that it had been He Which should have redeemed Israel (Luke 24:21), have thought He should appear before them this third time (John 21:14) to initiate the purpose of settling a score with Peter.
  Now, at dawn, having toiled all night fishing and drawing into their nets nothing of a catch, they heard the voice of One on the shore bidding them to cast their nets on the right side of the ship and, lo, the seine nearly rent for the catch (John 21:6).
  A miracle? Oh, yes, the like of which could only be assigned to That One on the shore Who just now, was preparing bread and fish with which to satisfy their appetite. Elated? Yes, but one among them, having proved the sea (John 21:7), whether it should conceal his shame, cowered from this most inopportune of meetings. For Peter had never been reconciled to This One Whose acquaintance he had denied before witnesses, a thrice-denial that had controverted his pledge to This One, that though all men should be offended of Him, never he (Matt. 26:33). Oh, no, not he! Why, he’d first die with Him before he’d deny Him (Matt. 26:35).
  Nevertheless, the point of reckoning, until this moment deferred – or perhaps, even forgotten – shame would give place to His invitation, “Come and dine” (John 21:12). And maybe, He Who had, in the more than three years of their friendship, never blushed to disturb the comfortable, might make an exception now among His friends whom He had just served. No, Peter, musing with himself it should be better to remain close to his six companions, for surely This One would not take this occasion to opportune “squaring things.”
  But, alas! Chit-chat had run its course and, now, in a time accepted, Peter was about to behold the day of his redemption; the day of his salvation; the day of his deliverance (2 Cor. 6:2).
  From among this fishing party, the Master had just singled him out with whom He might commiserate over some unfinished business.

From Fisherman to Fisher of Men
   Perhaps before them all, with only the intent to show “what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” (Eph. 3:18) of the fulness of Grace, He asked Peter, “Do you love Me more than these?” Not once; not twice; but thrice, He queried.
  “Yea, Master, You know that I love You,” were the other’s replies to the first two interrogatives. But not until the third time, did the gravity of the moment register with this disciple who had always presented among the others, first among equals!
  This one, The Other had prayed for … reserving him to a few more days, when he should again be sequestered together with about 119 others in an upper room for ten days, waiting for That Promise Which said He, should come when he and the others would be endued with Power from On High and then would Peter know what He had done, at dawn, one morning at the Sea of Tiberias – how that He had looked upon one who had once wept bitterly when faced with his breach of promise, and therewith provided three opportunities to square (cancel) three denials with three affirmations.

   And what is it that we might appreciate from this narrative of reconciliation? Just this: His Grace is His Payment of a debt He did not owe for a people who owe a debt they cannot pay!

-Elder John W. Reece

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