As I type this, our youngest kiddo is in the midst of his school day online. It’s music, so for the benefit of all humanity, his mom is helping him.

The subject? Echoes. I don’t understand echoes from a musical standpoint, but I encounter them all over my life. You do too. While there’s beauty in the echo, we have a tendency to tune into a specific sort of echo.

How we interpret life’s echoes

Times like this give us time to wonder about life. If you’re like me, it’s easy to give attention to some loud echoes. It’s the echo of what isn’t over the echo of what is. Constraints. Fear. Uncertainty.

Peter had an encounter with Jesus in John 21 that was full of echoes.

They’re fishing again. Again. That’s what they were doing when Jesus first found them and called them a few years prior. Once again, they have no idea what was ahead.


They fished all night, and ended up with nothing. Similar to the time in Luke 5 when they’d been fishing all night and caught nothing. Fishermen who can’t catch fish. Nice.


Jesus stood on the shore and told them to put their nets out in a different spot. So a carpenter was telling fishermen how to fish. Result? An enormous haul. Just like Luke 5.


Only after listening to his words in repetition did they recognize him. Just like two disciples on the road to Emmaus.


They got to the shore and found a charcoal fire he’d prepared with fish and bread. Peter had been here before. He’d stood next to a fire to get warm when he’d denied Jesus.


All of these are echoes that call back to prior moments. With our human interpretations, we can easily turn them into painful reminders of constraints, fear, and uncertainty. I think that’s why Jesus had the conversation he had next.

A different kind of echo

After their meal on the shore, Jesus turns to Peter and asks him, “Do you love me?” “Do you love me?” “Do you love me?”

Can you feel Peter’s pain as he answers? He no doubt flashed back to his three denials of Jesus, and now he’s getting three questions from Jesus. It’s like he’s being raked over the coals of the fire in front of them.

Reminders, however, are tied to the past. If you look closely here, there’s no past-tense in Jesus’ responses to Peter between questions. No sense of, “If you love me, then why did you fail me?” in the direction of the conversation.

Rather, it’s a mix of present-tense and future-tense.

“Tend my lambs.” “Shepherd my sheep.” “Tend my sheep.”

These echoes aren’t pointing at the reminders of what isn’t. They’re pointing at redemption for going forward. Not echoes of who we aren’t…echoes of who our Savior is.

And now in the midst of unfamiliar circumstances, life is echoing some very familiar shouts: constraints, fear, uncertainty. Meanwhile, he beckons you and I to spend some time with him hearing his echo: not one of reminding…but one of redemption.

Tonight from 6-7pm, I invite you to a prayer time, hosted by members of our prayer team at West Bowles. Send us an email for the login information. Consider it a virtual version of that time by the fire on the shore that Peter and the disciples had with Jesus.

I’m reminded by John 21 that for all the ‘reminder echoes’ life yells at us, there’s a redemptive echo we hear by getting still in the presence of Jesus. Whether you have time for the whole hour or for five minutes, join us this evening.

I bet you’ll hear an echo.