Reflections: Easter Wednesday

April 3, 2024 

Today’s Reading: John 21:1-14

Daily Lectionary: Exodus 16:13-35, Hebrews 10:19-39

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. (John 21:7b)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why does Peter throw himself into the sea? Perhaps Peter was just so excited to see Jesus that he couldn’t wait to get to shore. But the problem is they weren’t very far from shore in the first place, especially since Jesus could talk to them from it. Also, Peter isn’t mentioned in our reading today as actually getting to shore, or to Jesus. In fact, the next we hear about him, he’s getting back on the boat to bring the fish in the net. Almost like he’s avoiding Jesus. Which might be exactly the case. 

You see, Peter denied Jesus three times. And that denial hurt Peter to the core. He had been living with that sin unconfessed and unforgiven for a while now. And the longer we keep those sins hidden, the harder it is for us to give them over to Christ, who has paid for them all. In Peter’s case, it took Jesus calling him three times to feed His lambs for Peter to understand that Christ’s forgiveness covers every sin. So it’s not too difficult to see Peter, stripped for work, needing to cover his shame.

We too have sins that need forgiveness. We too have denied Jesus when we should have confessed him. We too are ashamed of what we have done. We might acknowledge that sins are forgiven, but maybe, because my sin was so bad, I’m too disgraced to join in with everyone else. We’re far more comfortable just covering everything up. Hiding from everyone, especially Jesus, lest my shame be exposed for the world to see.

But where did Peter, in all his shame end up. In water. Where is all our sin taken away? Where is all our shame clothed with Christ’s righteousness? Where is all our disgrace covered and cleansed? In water. You are baptized into the death of Jesus. By that water, and by the Word connected to that water, all your sin has been taken away. By your Baptism, Jesus forgives you completely. Every sin, no matter how bad, they’re all taken away. He died for them all. 

And this is yours. It is not earned. It is not by your own works. Jesus gives this forgiveness to you freely. He assures you that by His cross, He has paid for that sin in full. And He has sealed that promise by baptizing you…In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

God’s own Child, I gladly say it:  I am baptized into Christ   He, because I could not pay it,

Gave my full redemption price.  Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any  That brought me salvation free  Lasting to eternity!  (LSB 594:1)

– Pastor Eli Davis is pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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