Different Characters of Different Disciples
But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, ‚ÄúChildren, you do not have any fish, do you?‚Äù They answered Him, ‚ÄúNo.‚Äù And He said to them, ‚ÄúCast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.‚Äù So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‚ÄúIt is the Lord.‚Äù So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.
From J. C. Ryle:
We should observe . . . in these verses, the different characters of different disciples of Christ. Once more, on this deeply interesting occasion, we see Peter and John side by side in the same boat, and once more, as at the sepulcher, we see these two good men behaving in different ways. When Jesus stood on the shore, in the dim twilight of the morning, John was the first to perceive who it was, and to say, ‚ÄúIt is the Lord;‚Äù but Peter was the first to spring into the water, and to struggle to get close to his Master. In a word, John was the first to see; but Peter was the first to act. John‚Äôs gentle loving spirit was quickest to discern; but Peter‚Äôs fiery, impulsive nature was quickest to stir and move. And yet both were believers, both were true-hearted disciples, both loved the Lord in life, and were faithful to Him unto death. But their natural temperaments were not the same.
Let us never forget the practical lesson before us. As long as we live, let us diligently use it in forming our estimate of believers. Let us not condemn others as graceless and unconverted, because they do not see the path of duty from our stand-point, or feel things exactly as we feel them. ‚ÄúThere are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.‚Äù (1 Cor. xii. 4.) The gifts of God‚Äôs children are not bestowed precisely in the same measure and degree. Some have more of one gift, and some have more of another. Some have gifts which shine more in public, and some which shine more in private. Some are more bright in a passive life, and some are more bright in an active one. Yet each and all the members of God‚Äôs family, in their own way and in their own season, bring glory to God. Martha was ‚Äúcareful and troubled about much serving,‚Äù when Mary ‚Äúsat at the feet of Jesus and heard His word.‚Äù Yet there came a day at Bethany, when Mary was crushed and prostrated by overmuch sorrow, and Martha‚Äôs faith shone more brightly than her sister‚Äôs. (Luke x. 39, 40; John xi. 20‚Äî28.) Nevertheless both were loved by our Lord. The one thing needful is to have the grace of the Spirit, and to love Christ. Let us love all of whom this can be said, though they may not see with our eyes in everything. The Church of Christ needs servants of all kinds, and instruments of every sort; pen-knives as well as swords, axes as well as hammers, chisels as well as saws, Marthas as well as Marys, Peters as well as Johns. Let our ruling maxim be this, ‚ÄúGrace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.‚Äù (Ephes. vi. 24.)
This excerpt, which you might recognize from this week‚Äôs Lord‚Äôs Day post, is both encouraging and deeply convicting. I‚Äôve been on both ends of the stick. I‚Äôve been frustrated by people judging me according to what they ignorantly thought I could and should do, but at times I‚Äôve been the guilty party, looking down on others for failing to be what I thought they should be. Let us be gracious to one another, not presuming to know the place of others in the kingdom, but rather considering ‚Äúhow to stimulate one another to love and good deeds‚Äù (Hebrews 10:24).