We love to make fun of the disciples - especially Peter - for their doubts and selective short-term memory loss when it comes to the miracles of Jesus. Merely hours after he fed 5,000 with a packed lunch, their human fears kicked in as a storm kicked up. Peter, ever with a flair for the dramatic, offered to go to Jesus when he appeared like a ghost across the water. He asked for reassurance every step of the way and still would have drowned, except Jesus wouldn't let him. We all require that same hand-holding if we're honest. "Give me a sign!" we plead, meanwhile asking everyone we know for advice as a way of stalling before that freezing plunge. Why don't we just walk across that shifting surface and into his waiting hug? 2,000+ years later and he's still teaching that faith makes us unsinkable.
"Do you love me?" The question hangs in the air again, mingling with the campfire smoke flavoring their fish. A third question, searing him with its significance. His hair's still dripping after that over-compensating dive meant to drown the cock crowing in his subconscious. Peter's voice breaks as he answers: "Lord, you know everything." - my darkness, my doubts, my cowardice and betrayal - "You know I love you." Imperfectly, selfishly, inconsistently - but where else would I go? I know you are the Holy One of God. He feels those eyes on him again and cannot raise his gaze to meet them. "Feed my sheep," he says. "Follow me." And there's that invitation again. Peter doesn't understand why he offers it now or why he offered it in the first place to a half-naked man with a fishy odor. He finishes his undeserved breakfast in silence, pondering the wide-open arms of his friend, Jesus, as he crawled ashore gasping. Aching arms held high even longer than Moses upheld his during that ancient battle. The Son of God will win that war every time, finally crushing his beloved in that weeping embrace, crying "you're home, you're home, you're home."