"I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. (John 21:3 NIV)
Peter just spent the whole night fishing. He had a whole night to do nothing but cast nets, wait, and think. I wonder what went through Peter's mind. Peter knew that he had denied Jesus three times when Jesus needed him most. Peter had seen Jesus alive since his death, but they hadn't talked about the denial, well, his sin. I wonder if he thought about his friend, Judas, who sinned, too. I wonder if he thought about the way Judas dealt with the guilt.
"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:4-5 NIV)
Whatever he was thinking, he would have snapped out of it when the morning sun broke over the horizon and gave light to a figure standing on the shore.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. (John 21:4-7 NIV)
You know the difference between Peter and Judas? It wasn't the severity of their respective sins. It wasn't the guilt they felt after they turned against their Lord. It was the way they responded. Judas ran away from God. Peter ran toward God. The result made all the difference in the world.
The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. (John 21:8-9 NIV)
When it comes to building a relationship with God, none of us can do it for someone else. I can do the things to build my relationship with Him. You need to do the things necessary to build your relationship with Him. We can't do it for each other. The great part, though, is that God is always ready to build a relationship with us. He's waiting on the shore with breakfast cooking. Will you join Him?