Friday 05 April 2013

Bible Book:

John 21:1-14 Friday 5 April 2013


This story is unique to John's Gospel and, coming after thedeclaration that Jesus did many other things not recorded and thatwhat has been written is by way of testimony to Jesus' life (20:30-31), it seems something of anaddendum.

Here is a gathering of seven Galilee-based disciples, come backhome to do the only thing they can - fishing. Simon Peter is namedfirst, so we immediately surmise that he is going be in the leadrole. Nathanael was there, a sceptic called and commended by Jesus(cf John 1:45-51); so was Thomas the Twin, thebrave but doubting one (cf John20:24-29); here also are the sons of Zebedee (not named here oranywhere else in John's Gospel), along with two unidentifieddisciples (cf John 1:37). John the Evangelist appears to be'rounding off' his Gospel with much the same cast as that withwhich he began it.

Many other elements in this account resonate with things whichhad gone before: the miraculous catch of fish, a reminder ofanother miraculous catch (Luke5:6); the charcoal fire, reminiscent of another charcoal fire(cf John 18:18); once again, bread was broken (Matthew 26:26; Mark14:22; Luke 22:19) and fish eaten (Luke24:42-43).

These disciples were back to the geographical place from whichthey had come, but they were also at a place of new beginning.Recognising their Lord through an act of unquestioning obedience,they are ready to make a fresh start. The 'runaways' had come back;the sceptical, the doubting and the denying were affirmed.

Much has been made of the possible significance of the precisenumber of the fish caught - 153. Is it symbolic or did the writeractually have it on good authority that this was the tally of thecatch - had he perhaps counted them himself? This seems as likelyas some of the theories! Perhaps the real significance lies in thefact that the net was not torn - the Christian community includesall who will come; the love of God encompasses all.

To Ponder

  • When something dreadful happens, how helpful is it to go backto the familiar and known?
  • Reflect on a time when you have been offered a fresh start. Howhas it been since?
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