Holy Gospel According to St. John 21:1-19
After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples
by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 21:2
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. 21:3 Simon 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. 21:4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but
the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 21:5 Jesus said to
them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him,
"No." 21:6 He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the
boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were
not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 21:7 That
disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When
Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes,
for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 21:8 But the other
disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for
they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
21:9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there,
with fish on it, and bread. 21:10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some
of the fish that you have just caught." 21:11 So Simon Peter went
aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred
fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was
not torn. 21:12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast."
Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, "Who are you?"
because they knew it was the Lord. 21:13 Jesus came and took the
bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 21:14
This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples
after he was raised from the dead. 21:15 When they had finished
breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you
love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know
that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." 21:16 A
second time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said
to him, "Tend my sheep." 21:17 He said to him the third time,
"Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he
said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him,
"Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said
to him, "Feed my sheep. 21:18 Very truly, I tell you, when you
were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever
you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your
hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you
where you do not wish to go." 21:19 (He said this to indicate the
kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said
to him, "Follow me."
The Gospel of the Lord. . . .
From today's lessons we receive instruction at several
different levels. As I have experienced these texts we heard this
morning it struck me that no single one of them seems to fit just
"exactly" what I want to hear or concentrate on this day or at
this particular moment in life.
I don't know if you feel the way I do or not, but I am
discerning a kind of hunger for something new and refreshing to
come into being -- the signs are all around us that new life is
coming into being -- but there are also signs of continued unrest
and the old evils of the world seem to march on without end.
So when I read about Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1-20), at first,
I thought to myself. I don't care about Saul falling to the ground
and being blind for three days. I just want to be given some power
to believe that things can be better than they are in our world
today!! When will Jesus come and make all things right?
But then I read on, and I hear that Saul's conversion
experience leads him to become a proclaimer of the Gospel. It is
the most amazing conversion experience that is possible!!
A few days ago I read about two modern day "Sauls". The first
man was a student of philosophy. He set out, on a doctoral-level
study, to "prove" that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God and
that the resurrection was not true. Unfortunately for this fellow,
the more research he did to prove his theory that the resurrection
was a falsehood --, the more his data showed that Jesus was a real
historical figure who lived and died, but was then resurrected
causing the subsequent formation of the Christian faith that has
spread around the world and continues to grow to this day. And/So
This man concluded that Jesus truly was the Son of God!
The second person, Josh McDowell, who is a familiar Christian
speaker today, set out as a young academic on the same quest, his
study and research, as a skeptic, also resulted in his own
conversion experience. He changed from being a skeptic to becoming
a very well known national and international proclaimer of the
Gospel of Christ. Of course there must be countless thousands of
us who have come to faith in a similar way - through our own
criticism of Christ as the Son of God. Funny thing how God turns
us upside down when we exercise our will "Not to believe!"
What does this mean for us?? The more we try to disprove
Christ's existence, the more God, by the Holy Spirit, leads us
into the Truth. When we try to go some other way, God gets a hold
on us and leads us into the Way, the Truth and the Life This is
pure grace, this IS JESUS!
From the consideration of Paul's conversion *(from Acts 9:1-20)
and the conversion of our own stubborn wills, we gain some
perspective on how it is that God works in us. God has a way of
reversing life events it happens in time, sometimes not in big
flashy ways but in small ways But God brings about a
transformation of who we are and how we can influence the world
From this kind of thinking we are brought into the context of
the Gospel Message from John. Perhaps you and I can identify with
the disciples who, after Jesus had died . . . returned to their
previous occupation. What else were they to do after their Lord
had been taken away from them and then was mysteriously appearing
and then disappearing again. They were like sheep without a
shepherd. So they GO BACK To Fishing!!
In our own lives, when we find ourselves defeated or
disoriented, we often return to what is familiar to us. This is
not necessarily a bad thing, but we know in some instances it can
be . . . .
For the disciples, they knew how to fish, maybe they needed
some money or just needed some fish to feed their families in the
aftermath of Jesus death. Maybe getting back out on the water,
provided them with a feeling of being back in control of life.
Or Maybe they thought to themselves, "You know brothers, going
down to the seashore can be very therapeutic. After what we have
been through, if might be helpful to air out our feelings toward
one another. "Maybe," John speaks up, "Maybe we need to work on
our "self-differentiation." We were all so dependent on Jesus for
directing our lives and the things we needed to be doing."
The two Sons of Zebedee then say, "We know we can be kind of
domineering over you guys, but when we're out on the boat with
everyone together, that's when we can relax and know that we can
"relinquish our need to be in authority over everyone -- we're
awfully sorry about that little incident." Nathaniel adds, "A
little fishing always brings me relief from stress, and I think it
will enable us all to discuss our inmost fears, like our
adult-child-self' and what it is that troubles us most since
Jesus died. I still can't figure how it is that Jesus knew me
before he ever met me! But I feel equally confused now that he is
resurrected, but then he doesn't seem to remain with us. Thomas
adds, "Some introspective sharing might help us to open up to our
feelings about Jesus as he is now with us, but then not with us.
Perhaps if we talked openly about our doubts -- we might become
more resolute in our faith." Peter ends the reasoning process for
the fishing trip by announcing: "I would like to talk about how my
ego always gets in the way, but I find fishing much easier than
that." With that he loosens his too-tight-fitting tunic, casts it
aside, and is all about pulling and heaving the boat from the
shoreline to the water's edge. Off they row into Galilee.
For some of us, when we have felt discouraged or defeated in
our faith life -- we will also go back to whatever it was we used
to do well. You might go back home to live with mom and dad, you
might try out some means of escape, such as drinking or drugs, or
you might just attempt a physical escape like going on a long
walk or a drive by yourself -- if your more adventurous you might
take up mountain climbing or sky diving!
Obviously, some of these escape mechanisms may be more healthy
or safe than others. . . . . We're really not different from the
Jesus' disciples . . . We just have different mediums and
mechanisms at our disposal. And yet, trying to escape from life's
realities and difficulties never will suffice as a lasting or
adequate solution .. .
For Saul, who became Paul, the answer started to come as he was
led blindly to the home of Ananias who laid his hands on him and
prayed that Saul might regain his sight. Then it was that the
disciples were able to teach him the truth about Jesus.
For the disciples, not having caught one fish on their
"therapeutic fishing trip, when they sniff the smell of the
charcoal fire burning on the shore line and when they experience
the familiarity of breaking of bread and the distribution of the
fish In Equality Then it is that the answer is supplied to their
depression and lack of direction after Jesus was raised from the
The RISEN CHRIST comes to us at the critical times in our lives
when we feel listless, without direction and without purpose.
Jesus comes to feed us! And give us newness of LIFE!!
Christ draws us together in his Word -- we are no longer
alone!! Through the Holy Supper He feeds us -- our sins are
removed, our sorrows are adsorbed with his being and we absorb his
Light and Life into ourselves!!
We are then strengthened, renewed, and encouraged!! We are not
alone in our life's struggles, depression and anxiety must flee,
because we find ourselves to be one in the Spirit, and we are
enabled and encouraged to uphold one another! By the grace of God,
we discover that we are One in this One Lord who loves us with an
eternal and everlasting love.
The Resurrected Jesus stands before us and asks us to gather
together as a physical and spiritual family. We hold and uphold
one another in the same Spirit of Love that Jesus has shown us
through his life and teaching.
To affirm the hope in which we live, there is the VISION of
John's eschatological HOPE (Revelation 5:11-14), the vision of
what is to come when we are brought into the eternal presence of
our Living Lord. There in that heavenly place, we will stand side
by side with our departed Loved ones who are in the Lord. The
fantastic reunion that is to come, gives us comfort now in these
days! We are not a fatalistic people, but we have a living hope!
And we are a "doing people", because our faith is alive, active
and present with us in this life. We serve God as we seek to serve
one another in practical ways. Our faith and hope are not in vain,
but all will be shown for what it is in the end at the GREAT
MARRIAGE FEAST of the Lord.
Thanks be to God who gives us the victory in Christ Jesus our
Let us pray,
Dear Jesus, You are our comfort and hope for today, tomorrow,
and always. As you caused Paul to see the truth of who you are and
then emboldened him to preach IN your name. So move in our hearts
and minds and lives, that we might also become powerful witnesses
of the resurrected Christ.
May your name be Blessed for ever and ever
more writings of Pastor Jon