Jesus Never Fired a Disciple - The Warrior's Journey®

Jesus Never Fired a Disciple

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“Jesus said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.” (John 21:16) 

Have you ever seen the Walt Disney movie, The Parent Trap?  It’s the story of identical twin girls whose parents divorced shortly after they were born. Part of the divorce settlement was that each parent receive custody of one of the twins. Consequently, the girls grow up without knowing they each have a twin sister. 

By a strange coincident the twins discover each other at a girls’ summer camp and determine to do what they can to reunite their parents.  Part of their plan to reconcile their parents includes an attempt to recreate their first romantic encounter – their first date at an Italian restaurant, Martinelli’s. Their purpose is to remind their warring parents of what it was that made them fall in love with each other. And it worked. 

In this final chapter of John’s Gospel, we find Jesus doing something similar. He recreates the circumstances of Simon Peter’s first call to be Jesus’ disciple. That story is recorded in Luke 5:1-11. And, just as in this chapter, Peter and his friends had fished all night and caught nothing. Then, at Jesus command they cast their net into the water one last time and receive a miraculous catch of fish. In response to this miracle, Peter cries to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  To which Jesus replies, “Don’t be afraid.  From now on you’ll be catching men.” 

Jesus replays that same miracle to publicly reinstate Peter and renew his call to be an apostle. Actually, though Peter believed he was no longer an apostle because he had denied the Lord three times, Jesus is showing him that nothing had changed between them. Jesus first called Peter when he was a sinful man. And no failure on Peter’s part would ever invalidate that calling.   

It’s true that Jesus had warned His disciples, “Whoever denies Me before men, I will deny him before My Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). But here Jesus gives Peter three opportunities to publicly confess Him. It’s an amazing fact that Jesus never fired or dismissed a disciple. He is in the business of redemption, not judgment. 


  • Have you ever wondered if God is through with you because you’ve failed? 
  • Do you feel as though you live under God’s frown? 
  • God loves you freely, i.e. unconditionally (Hosea 14:4). You did nothing to earn His love. You can do nothing to lose His love. 

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.