Sunday 05 May 2019

Bible Book:

Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ (v. 2-3)

John 21:1-19 Sunday 5 May 2019

Psalm: Psalm 30


This is such a human story: seven friends had suffered the tragic loss of their leader, one they loved and had followed for three years. Staying together (v. 2) at this time of trauma and grief, they returned to the place that was home and to the tasks which came easily and naturally to them. They simply wanted things to be ‘ordinary’ again, to get on with a regular day-to-day existence, to be back with their families in familiar surroundings. So, when Simon Peter said he was going fishing, they went with him.

Some scholars think that this chapter of John’s Gospel was added to an earlier conclusion; certainly John 20:30-31 sounds very final. However, this account of a picnic by Lake Tiberias, and the ensuing dialogue between Jesus and Peter has something important to say about being together and the writer (was he one of those in the group?) perhaps wanted to finish on that particular note.

The incident echoes events in Jesus’ earlier ministry – instructions about throwing out fishing nets (Luke 5:4-6); that earlier picnic of loaves and fish eaten by the Sea of Tiberias, so significant that it was recorded by all four evangelists (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13); and the more recent occasion on the road to Emmaus when Jesus was simply not recognised by two disciples (Luke 24:13-35).

Peter, under pressure and in fear, had denied Jesus three times (18:15-27). Now Jesus offered him the opportunity three times to affirm his love and to hear a renewed call to ministry. Peter’s undoubted guilt and shame was taken away; he was again called to follow, as he had been three years earlier (Mark 1:16-17).

The church is the community of people gathered round Jesus – in this story, their gathering together was the foundation on which the disciples would build mission and ministry. It was as they gathered round Jesus for this breakfast picnic that they knew this was their Lord (v. 12). Can we make this our experience too?


To Ponder:

  •  Reflect on a time when you and your friends became intentional about staying together. How did the ‘togetherness’ help you?
  • Remember a time when having a meal together was very significant to you and those with whom you were eating. Looking back, what was the outcome?
  • Think of a time when you did or said something you came to regret deeply. How were you helped to come to terms with that?
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