But God isn’t slow
2 Peter 3:8-9, 13 A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent … what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. … We are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
Chapter 1 of 2 Peter gives us a pattern of godly living. Chapter 2 warns us not to follow false teachers, showing us the antithesis of godly living. Chapter 3 reminds us Jesus will return and set the world right.
It’s the hope Christians have held on to for two thousand years.
Imagine: already when Peter wrote this, just a few years after Jesus returned to Heaven, believers—including people who personally knew Jesus—already felt like it was taking a long time for him to come back. And here we are, almost two thousand years later, still yearning for the day we will meet our beloved Lord face to face.
But what catches my attention as I read chapter 3 is the word “repent” in verse 9, because it reminds me of Peter’s repentance and restoration after he denied Jesus. Hours before he had brashly said, “I’m ready to die for you” (John 13: 37). Jesus answered, “Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even knew me.”
No wonder Peter escaped into fishing. And then Jesus performed a miracle that mirrored one of Peter’s early encounters with him, with one critical difference. Compare Luke 5:5-7 with John 21:11: The first time, the nets were so full they began to tear. In writing about the second time, John makes a point of detailing that there were 153 large fish, and yet the net did not tear.
The first time Jesus performed this miracle, Peter wasn’t ready for his role as a fisher of men. Here’s The Chosen’s dramatization of this event. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWGCkovAUWM
The second time, Jesus took Peter through an intriguing process of repentance and restoration, entrusting his “lambs” to Peter’s care, and gave him a new identity: a shepherd.
A friend in Brazil sent us a moving song about Peter. You’ll capture its soul by listening even if you don’t understand Portuguese. Jesus tells Peter, “I know you own your boat. But I own the sea.” And Jesus reminds Peter how to live his life: “Your knowledge will only matter if you know how to love.”
I’ve seen 2 Peter 3:9 and 15 applied to evangelism, the role of the fisherman. I think there’s more to it than that. I think they applies to each of us in the areas we each need to repent and be made whole, as we are cared for by our Shepherd. Like Peter himself.
Through the centuries, people have made predictions about Jesus’ return and have exhorted believers to prepare for that Day, sailing their boats as well as they knew how. Let’s remember: The Lord owns the sea. He decides.
And meanwhile, our instructions are clear. Make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in God’s sight. … Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord whom Peter came to know very, very personally.