As with yesterday’s devotion when Mary knew it was Jesus only when she heard him call her by name, so today recognition of the Risen Christ is slow to come. The disciples are back in Galilee and fishing (where they started). But they caught nothing. Then at daybreak, Jesus appeared on the beach and yelled out to them. John’s gospel records, “But the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.” Do you see a theme here? The Risen Savior is present and with us, even calling to us in conversation…but he remains unrecognizable! Faith is a mystery, isn’t it?
For Mary, recognition came when she heard her name. For the guys in the boat, recognition came when they did as he said and caught an incredible number of fish. On their own strength and skill, they were failing. But when they did as Jesus directed them, they had tremendous and overwhelming success. So great, so amazing, was the catch of fish that they knew it is the work of God. “It is Jesus!” the beloved disciple rightly concluded. Peter immediately swam to shore.
There’s a word for us today from this passage! Obeying Jesus’ word always leads to blessing. On our own strength, we will fail. Our own smarts will fail us. But leaning upon God’s strength and following God’s command is sure to help us reach our full potential and make the biggest impact for good. I recall a surgeon who was a church member in Chapel Hill who told me, “My day at the hospital always goes better when I begin it with a prayer.”