This week’s scripture is important to me because it takes place on our side of the Resurrection, not when Jesus was first with the disciples. We can now see the power of Jesus’ call, forgiveness, mercy and grace in the lives of the disciples doing their everyday work after the Resurrection – just like us. Let’s read:
John 21:1-19 NIV
Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:
2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll
go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
I found this helpful reflection written by Donald J. Shelby.
Meeting [Jesus] does not inevitably lead to his becoming our personal savior. We must make room in our life for him; we must choose him and accept him as our savior by claiming his presence. We must let him be Lord of our lives. That decision involves opening ourselves to Jesus and receiving him into the most intimate dimensions of our lives. Because Jesus comes to us in love, he refuses to exploit or manipulate us, to be coercive or invasive, for to do so would contradict the very nature of love. If we would be loved by others, we must let them love us. We must be vulnerable and reachable enough that others can get close enough to love us, including Jesus. So, Jesus approaches the threshold of our being with beckoning love, and he waits for us to open our lives to him from the inside…
To enter into that intimate relationship where Jesus becomes our savior is to let Jesus be with us and within us, person to person, on the emotional and volitional levels of our being. It is to respond to the contagion of his presence. It is to let down whatever defenses we have in place so that we come together heart to heart, so that the spirit in him touches and resonates with the spirit in us. It is to meet him with our deepest feelings and fears, with our aspirations and imaginations, with our desires and loyalties, with our creative energies and self-understanding. It is to meet him with our shadow side and our hidden face, risking his acceptance of all we are – even those things about ourselves we have rejected and tried to disguise. It is to meet him with the expectation that what happens between him and us will enlarge life with fulfillment and beauty. It is to enjoy with him that same pervasive sense of well-being and excitement that quickens in us when we spend unhurried time with good friends or when we share intimate moments of oneness with those we love. It is to meet him with gratitude and a sense of wonder over the gift of himself that Jesus offers.
From Forever Beginning by Donald J. Shelby excepted from A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People by Reuben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck. Upper Room Books Nashville, TN. 1990. Pg 162.
Peter jumped out of the boat twice for Jesus. He knew Jesus would reach for him. The question for Peter was would Peter reach out and accept Jesus’ forgiveness and call to FOLLOW HIM. That is our question as well. The doubt is not “Will Jesus love me?” The doubt is “Will I love Jesus?” You will find that you have to fish from the other side of the boat – obey Jesus – and “followship” leads you to places you may not choose to go. Always have faith in Jesus and know Jesus has time to talk and a meal ready to share.