In John 21:9 it says, “then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread.” Now many of you are probably thinking, “ok, so what is the big deal?” I am glad you asked that question. If you remember, it was surrounding a fire of coals that the student leader of the 12 disciples denounced Jesus. The bible declares in the gospel of John that the men where around a fire of coals when a servant girl asked if Peter was with Jesus. He denied her such that he emphatically cursed her out. Jesus forewarned Peter that the enemy wanted to sift him out as wheat (Luke 22:31), yet when he was restored to strengthen his brothers.
Here we have Jesus using the very scenario whereby Peter denounced him (a fire of coals) restoring Peter to prominence. Jesus took the very situation that brought Peter shame and used it as a spring board to him strengthening his brothers. Many of us have gone through shameful moments, situations, quagmires, or predicaments and that may as well be the very thing(s) Jesus use to bring us to a place of prominence. However, in the process of restoring Peter we still find a problem in the story. The next few verses shows the limitations to the English language. Jesus takes Peter aside and ask him the question, “Peter, lovest thou me more than these?” And Peter answers, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee” Now from the naked eye you might say, “what’s the issue?” However a closer look at the text and we see that the word for love used by these two men are drastically different. Jesus uses the word agapao and Peter uses phileo. Jesus ask “do you have the greatest form of love for me?” and Peter replies, “Yes Lord I am fond of you” This transpires twice before Jesus comes down to the level of Peter and says, “Peter are you fond (phileo) me” and Peter quips, “Lord you know all things.”
The significance of the passage is that Jesus surrounding the fire of coals sought to restore Peter and had to come down to the level of Peter. Peter was not able to rise to the level of where Jesus was, but Jesus met him at the point of where he was. However, it was Peter in his first epistle (1 Peter 1:22) that writes about loving the brethren sincerely (philadelphia) and having a deep love (agape) for one another. Peter who couldn’t reach the level at first and needed for Jesus to come down to his level, was restored and then able feed Jesus’ sheep (John 21:17). So I write this to say, where ever you are in life, whatever your circumstance might be…realize that God will meet you at the point of where you are in order to bring you up to where He wants you to be. The very thing that brought you shame or disappointment might be your fire of coals, which turns out to be a place of restoration.
How has God brought restoration in your life? How can you mirror the example of Christ to others? How has God shown His love for you in the midst of your shame