Going Deeper 5-3-19

The Gospel reading for Easter 3...
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.  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." They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.  Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?"  They answered him, "No."  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.  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.  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.  When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread.  Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught."  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.  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.  Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.  This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.  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."  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."  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.  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."  (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.)  After this he said to him, "Follow me."
I absolutely love and cherish this story!!  It is an excellent story to enter, and on Sunday we will enter from the perspective of Peter.

As we read this we might experience what Yogi Berra once infamously described as "deja vu all over again."  That is because the story of Jesus' time with the disciples both begins and ends with a miraculous catch of fish. (see Luke 5) When Jesus first called His disciples they were out in a boat fishing, having worked all night without catching a thing.  Then this stranger appears and instructs them to cast their nets in a different spot and suddenly they have so many fish they struggle to pull them all in.  Jesus then calls them to "fish for people."

Now the resurrected Jesus appears on the shore once again with instructions as to where there are fish to be caught, and once again the catch is miraculous.  Once they come ashore, Jesus prepares and shares breakfast with them, asking them to bring what they had caught to supplement what He already had cooking on the fire.  This story then ends with Jesus' beautiful restoration of Peter, providing the man who had quite recently denied knowing Him three times with an opportunity to express and affirm his love for Jesus three times.  In this closing, Jesus instructs Peter to feed and tend His sheep and lambs.

This is our story!  The resurrected Jesus has restored us and calls us to a wonderful mission of tending and feeding His lambs and sheep... no, not necessarily with fish, but with love.  And when we follow His guidance, the results can be miraculous!!

With You in His Mission,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."