|Bible illustration by Gustave Dore'|
Peter defied the expectations of any person in the ancient world of Paganism who, upon hearing this story for the first time, might have expected him to run away from the God he had offended. Instead, Peter is eager to get into the presence of Jesus, leaping into the water to try to swim ahead of the others. Peter knew he had denied the Lord three times, and no longer was able to boast of his own unfailing love. No longer does he presume to say, "Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death." Indeed, no longer able to boast of his readiness, he would instead come to obtain a Divine gift, to rely on grace rather than on his own power.
Because he knew the reality of his sin and failure, Peter ran toChrist rather than away from him. When God called to Adam in the garden, asking, "Adam, where art thou?" (Gen.3:9) he showed that his intention was to restore sinners by his grace to his favor as elect and beloved. For this reason Christ died, and to justify us he rose again (Rom.4:25). He stood on the shore and welcomed the approach of not only Peter, but of all of these men who had forsaken him and fled; for only John had come to the foot of the cross.