Monday, April 19, 2010

Third Sunday in Easter 2010

Third Sunday in Easter
John 21:1-14
Bror Erickson

[21:1] After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. [2] Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. [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.
[4] Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. [5] Jesus said to them, "Children, do you have any fish?" They answered him, "No." [6] He said to them, "Cast the net on 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 of the quantity of fish. [7] That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. [8] The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
[9] When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. [10] Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." [11] So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. [12] Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. [13] Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. [14] This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. John 21:1-14 (ESV)

It is the Lord! These are the words of John, “that disciple whom Jesus loved.” “It is the Lord” he says in jubilation. There is a lot of meaning packed into those words. It shows what they have learned since Christ’s resurrection, what they have learned about the Christ.
But the story starts out kind of funny. It is almost as if they had given up. Jesus had told them to meet him in Galilee. Here they are. But he doesn’t show. They decide to go fishing. They catch nothing. Nothing that is until some mysterious man shows on the shore to say: “throw the nets over on the right side.” Now this isn’t the first time this has happened with the disciples. This is a friend surprising another friend with a familiar joke, a prank he’s played before. In this case a friend surprising friends. They throw over to the right side, no back lip this time. No, “we’ve been fishing all night,” none of that sort of stuff. They have been through it and know better than to doubt the words. All night they were fishing without Jesus, and caught nothing. Now Jesus is with them, and they catch more than they know to do with.
Quite amazing. The word’s of Christ come to mind “
[5] I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (ESV) Apart from me you can do nothing. And one is tempted to think of this miracle as perhaps an illustrated parable of the Christian life. Apart from me you can do nothing. The disciples fish all night and catch nothing. With Jesus they catch 153 fish, an exact number with no meaning except perhaps to give a bit of historical credibility to what is recorded. They catch more fish than they know what to do with.
So it is with us. I always say Christians do more good than they know, their best works occur when they aren’t looking, when they are just doing. It’s true. Not to say that we shouldn’t ever think about doing good. But we should know that the good we do is only good because it is done in Christ, with him, the works are not good on their own. When we try to do good on our own, when we try to fish without Jesus, we do nothing. Apart from him we can do nothing.
Of course this is even more true in light of what John calls Jesus. John knows who is on the shore. He knows it is Jesus, but he doesn’t call him that. Rather He says it is the Lord, and that phrase is packed full of meaning for what it means to believe in Jesus. It means he is God. This man who is on the shore, whom the disciples saw crucified just a few weeks earlier, saw hanging naked on a cross, as soldiers cast lots for his undergarments, saw him give up the ghost, saw the spear run him through, this man on the shore, is the God who spoke to Moses and said I am. He is the Lord, not just a lord such as the one who takes your rent check, but the LORD. And apart from him we can do nothing, because in this man: “we live, and move and have our being.” He is the Lord, He is God. And so John confesses. And with that confession, with him, we catch fish, with him we become fishers of men, with him many are saved from the pits of hell. He does it through us, and apart from him we can do nothing, but with him we have perpetual joy, and eternal gladness.

Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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