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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, April 30, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  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.” (NRSV)

My friend, the Reverend Becca Messman, once wrote that repetition is the biblical form of underlining or highlighting. We see that here in the Gospel of John. “Revealed” is the key word of the story and of the entire book of John. It is used twice here in the first verse in the active voice (ephanerosen) and once in verse 14 in the passive (ephanerothe). But why would this particular verb be so important?

Biblical scholar Dale Bruner contends that this particular story of a post-resurrection appearance answers the question, “How will the risen Lord reveal himself and speak to his people in all future times?” Through this story, we see that Jesus shows himself to the disciples not just at a closed-door gathering on a Sunday but also on a workday, while the disciples were fishing, and they finally get a chance to say, “It is the Lord” (Frederick Dale Bruner, The Gospel of John: A Commentary).

And here, in this story that was supremely focused on what the church should be and do, there is the Word made flesh, a meal, an assurance of forgiveness, and a commissioning. That sure sounds a lot like the worship life of a congregation to me. And how does Peter respond to all of this? He responds by changing his life once again, leaving behind his old profession of fishing once and for all, and plunging into life as a resurrection-infused disciple. He is redeployed to go back into the world. He is “re-called,” if you will. He goes on to build churches, heal people, and eventually die as a martyr in Rome.

Peter sees the face of God revealed in Jesus, and he is forever changed. How might we all find ourselves redeployed and “re-called” as God infuses resurrection power into our own lives?

Loving God, meet me once again, not just in the sanctuary on Sunday but also out in the world on Wednesday. Give to me a fresh sense of your claim on my life and your hope for your world. I long to follow you this day. Amen.

Written by Shannon J. Kershner, Pastor

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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