Friday 09 April 2010

Bible Book:

"Peter said to them, 'I am going fishing.' They said to him, 'We will go with you.' They went out and got into the boat but that night they caught nothing ... 'It is the Lord!'" (v.3, 7)

John 21:1-14 Friday 9 April 2010


This is a resurrection story unique to John, though of coursethe miraculous catch of fish is found in the other Gospels(eg Luke 5:1-11). This story stands alone in thesense that the events recorded in the previous chapter where Jesusappears to the disciples, breathes the Holy Spirit into them andsends them out into the world in his name, appear to be forgotten,or have clearly not worked!

Note where the disciples are. Back at Lake Galilee (here calledTiberias) where Jesus first called them. These fishermen recruitedby Jesus to "fish for people" (Mark 1:17) have gone back tocatching fish! The signal is clear. This group of disciples havegone back to how it used to be! They are 'undoing' discipleship.They can't make sense of the present so they are retreating intothe past.

But things are not the same as before. Tones of spiritual deadnessand disobedience ooze out of the narrative. Expert fishermen havecaught nothing until they obey the unknown voice of Jesus givingwhat amounts to pretty daft instructions. The wonder is that theyobeyed at all! But they do, and the huge haul of fish serves as asign of Jesus' identity, the very success of the catch signallingto Peter that he needs to put down his nets again and follow Jesus- again.

At the revelation "It is the Lord" Peter dives in the lake andheads for the shore. That movement towards Jesus is moving.Remember, Peter has denied Jesus and has no right - or possiblyexpectation - to be well received, but somehow he knows thatheading towards Jesus is the right direction. And Jesus doesn'tsend him away, but around a fire, with fish caught by both of them(as it were) creates the setting whereby Peter's three denials willbe wiped out by three declarations of love. And Peter will take upobedient discipleship again.

To Ponder

Is it a bad thing to 'go back to how it used tobe' in terms of faith? Why? Or why not?

When you become aware that 'it is the Lord' inyour own life, which direction do you travel?

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