Monday May 15
Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.
Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said.
The Passover Festival is over and the disciples return to their homes. Seven of them go back to Capernaum on Lake Galilee. This is where they stayed when they were with Jesus. Now that he is risen from the dead, they return there. And they wait…
What a momentous couple of weeks it has been! They parade into Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. Jesus is arrested, put on trial and crucified. He raises from the dead. He appears to Mary Magdalene first. Then he appears to the rest of the disciples minus Thomas, though they don’t know what to make of him. He breathes the Holy Spirit on them. He walks through walls and disappears the same way.
Then he appears to them again so Thomas can see him. But, there he goes again, he vanishes. Well, it’s now time to leave Jerusalem because the Festival is over and they don’t live in Jerusalem. They return home and they wait. What is there for them to do?
Peter takes the lead once again. Enough of this waiting around. Time to go back to the same job they had before they met Jesus.
“I’m going fishing.”
It’s like old times. I’m sure the rest of the disciples’ families are glad that are fishing again. This is their livelihood and it must have been hard to do their work while they traveled around with Jesus.
“We’ll come, too,” they all said.
They are all waiting for someone to take the lead. What do you do with the rest of your life when what you thought was going to would happen doesn’t? Jesus has told them, “As the father has sent me, so I send you,” but nothing is happening. The Messiah has come and gone and things are about the same…
Think back to a disappointing time in your life. Where was God in that time?
Tuesday May 16
So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
Fishing all night and they caught nothing. They got “skunked,” we would say. Now, there are a ton of fish in Lake Galilee. What are the chances the disciples finally get back to work and their first day they catch nothing?
This is not a good sign of days to come. What is going through their minds?
I wonder if they are thinking maybe they wasted the last three years of their lives with Jesus? They don’t have much to show for that and now look. The fish aren’t even biting! They have lost their touch.
Perhaps you have had your “night and nothing” times in life. When something seemed like the right thing to do but it didn’t pan out. You tried and tried, but just kept getting skunked.
Well, don’t give up, because there might be someone waiting in the morning fog.
What is challenging you right now in your life? How might God be at work?
Wednesday May 17
At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!”
One of the amazing things about Jesus is God coming in the form of a man. The incarnation, we call it. And this remains amazing because the risen Jesus is still human. At least that’s what he sounds like.
Anyone who fishes knows this to be the case. What is the first question you ask when someone comes back from fishing?
“Did you catch anything?”
Jesus the risen Lord, King of Kings…
“Have you caught any fish?”
2000 years later and we say the same thing! Now, there is a Lord I can relate to! But human though he is, his voice is miraculous or at least quite persuasive.
“Throw your net on the right-hand side of the boat…”
Do you see how ridiculous this is? Fish are fish. If you fish from the left or right side of the boat, it’s the same fish that are just swimming back and forth anyway. They don’t stay on one side or the other. The disciples must have thought Jesus was nuts.
But, they do it. Out goes the net on the other side. And sure enough, bam! They get a net full of fish! So many they have to drag the net along as they go towards shore. And then John states the obvious. “It’s the Lord!”
When your nights have nothing don’t give up. Jesus is waiting in the morning. This happens, doesn’t it? Something might be troubling you and you sleep on it and when you wake up it’s a new day. There are new possibilities. For whatever reason, sometimes things look better in the morning.
Get a good night’s sleep (at least 8 hours) tonight.
Thursday May 18
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
“Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said.
Here comes impetuous Peter again. Acting before he is thinking. Usually you take your clothes off before you dive into the water. John, the author, has to explain. You take your clothes off down to your skivvies when you are fishing. You don’t want to get your clothes stinky from fish. But, then Peter puts his clothes back on and dives into the water. That doesn’t make sense. Maybe he thought he could walk on the water, only this time he wouldn’t get wet. No, I don’t think so.
What it does look like however, is Peter doesn’t expect to do any more fishing. He takes what he needs and leaves the boat behind. The rest of the disciples will have to fend for themselves when it comes to bringing the boat in. Doing all the hard work.
Oh, oh. Maybe Peter shouldn’t have go there so fast. It’s Jesus and here is another charcoal fire. The last time Peter was sitting around a charcoal fire by Jesus it was the worst time of his life.
18 Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself…”
Yes in front of last charcoal fire he was at, Peter denied Jesus three times. And Jesus knows it.
This time, in front of another charcoal fire, Jesus is cooking breakfast.
What must be going through Peter’s mind? When Jesus appeared before Peter two times before now after his resurrection, he doesn’t deal with the denial. And Peter hasn’t got up enough courage to broach the subject. You can sense something is coming, but don’t know what.
Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said.
What we do know is Jesus is cooking breakfast. He has fish and bread. He needs nothing from the disciples. What he needs done he is certainly capable of doing. It is good to remember this.
When we say we are doing God’s work through our Christian service it’s good to remember God doesn’t need us. His Kingdom will come the way he wants it to whether we are involved or not. Whether it’s us as individual Christians or gathered as a Christian church, God doesn’t need us. He chooses to give us the opportunity to serve and get his message out there. But, he can handle what he wants done perfectly fine on his own.
The more we think God’s mission revolves around us the more we make two errors in thinking. When things are going good we subtly think we are the ones who do it. To us get the glory. When things are rough and people aren’t being reached and don’t look to be changing for the good, we feel guilty because somehow, we haven’t done enough.
God gets done what he wants done and we get to be involved because it is his pleasure to share his mission with us. Not because we have to, we get to.
Friday May 19
So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.
’Come and have breakfast,’ said Jesus to them. None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the master. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so also with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus had appeared to the disciples after he had been raised from the dead.
Jesus asks for fish even though he doesn’t need them. Perhaps it is just to show how abundant his life continues to be and how he will continue to be with his followers. And his followers know him by what he does. The miraculous becomes everyday and the greatest of these is the one who serves.
So, Peter does have something to do after all. He drags the net to shore and when the fish are flopping on the beach they count 153! Why this number? I don’t know. Search the web and you will find plenty of theories about the number 153.
But, what it does show me is there is an eyewitness to this event. 153 isn’t an estimate! It is rather a specific number. That’s a lot of fish. Enough to feed the whole village. And Jesus isn’t done, yet.
Once again, he is the giving signs of his graciousness. The one whom everyone ought to be serving, the risen Messiah himself, is the one who continues to serve.
Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so also with the fish.
This link to Holy Communion is not missed. The bread of life continues to offer the bread.
is the third time Jesus appears to these disciples and they continue to be surprised. It’s the same for us. When you follow the risen Lord you are surprised a lot. You don’t know what to expect except this. When you hang around with Jesus, you want to be there, but it is not going to be comfortable for long. There is a settling down in peace from time to time, and then on to the next adventure! We are still fishing…
What are some of the recent events in your life that appear to be reflecting the activity of God?