Can we go fishing?” my thirteen-year-old daughter, Ellen, asks quite often. Her requests are usually last-minute ones, but I try to go whenever possible. I am her ride, the one who buys the bait, and the helper with twisted lines. Typically I just sit and watch, and usually she doesn’t catch anything. But it’s a great way to spend time together.
Simon Peter tells the disciples, “I am going fishing.” They go too.
We don’t know why Simon Peter was going fishing. Was he just taking a break? Was he hoping to provide food? Was he going back to what he knew?
The passage also raises other questions. How is it that the disciples do not recognize Jesus when he has already appeared to them several times after the Resurrection? Why does Simon Peter, who is fishing naked, put clothes on before he jumps into the water to swim to Jesus?
Commentators tell us that this story is an addition to the Gospel of John and should be read as an epilogue. This story serves as a kind of bookend to the calling of the disciples early in the Gospel. Simon Peter’s strange act of dressing himself before jumping into the water to swim to Jesus somehow reminds me of Adam and Eve hiding from God in the Garden of Eden when they realized they were naked.
While this passage provokes many questions, there is no question that Simon Peter and the other disciples finally recognize Jesus. The same impulse that drives Peter to go fishing impels him to jump in the water when he recognizes Jesus. In hearing Jesus’ voice, following his directions, and hauling in the catch, the other disciples recognize him too.
Loving Jesus, help us to recognize your voice when you call to us. Amen.
Saul is one of the primary obstacles to the early spread of Christianity. The death and resurrection of Jesus does not fit his paradigm for the Messiah, so it cannot be true. It takes a miraculous intervention by Christ himself to change his mind. Psalm 30 reminds us that the light will always chase the darkness. We experience true suffering and true loss, but God can turn our mourning into dancing in God’s own timing. In Revelation, John takes us to the throne room of God, where angels and creatures proclaim the glory of the Lamb of God who has defeated death and reigns forever. Returning to the Gospel of John, we read more about Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances, which here include a seaside breakfast and a quiz for Peter.
Read Acts 9:1-20. Jesus’ resurrection calls us to an embodied faith. How do you bear the gospel?
Read Psalm 30. Recall a specific time when you depended on God.
Read Revelation 5:11-14. Have you ever worshiped the Lamb with your whole body? What keeps you from falling down to worship God?
Read John 21:1-19. The author reminds us that Jesus calls us to be shepherds and sheep. Which role do you most often fill? How can you take on a new leadership role or allow others to lead you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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