July 10, 2017
This week I am away for a much needed week of investing in my own heart, mind, body and soul. It’s a recovery week of sorts. I will treasure your prayers. My good friend, Omar Al-Rikabi, will be taking the helm for this final week of John’s Gospel. Omar pastors the First United Methodist Church in Heath, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. You will love him.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
We have come to a seminal moment: Jesus restoring Peter after Peter denied him three times. This climactic story is not only the end of John’s gospel, but it is a powerful statement on the reality of the New Creation, or should I say the Renewed Creation.
One of the definitions of the word renew is “to resume an activity after an interruption,” and that is exactly what Peter is doing. Remember when Peter and Jesus first met? We see the story in Luke 5: 4-11:
4 When he had finished speaking, [Jesus] said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.
10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Jesus was a major interruption in Peter’s life, because after this miracle Peter gave up the family business to follow him for three years. But now Jesus is gone, and Peter (probably still reeling with guilt, confusion, and fear) has renewed his old job: fishing for fish.
However, the other definition for renew is “to restore to existence” or “to begin again.” And that is exactly what is happening here.
Just like the first time they met, Jesus shows up after Peter has been out all night and caught nothing. And just like before, Jesus is about to perform a near net-breaking miracle. Peter renewed his old ways, but Jesus is about to renew his true vocation… and ours.
What is it? To be continued…
Abba Father, I thank you for your son Jesus who continues to call me to follow him. I confess that many times I interrupt that call to go back to my old ways. Thank you for the grace of Jesus that comes to where I am, time after time, to restore me by the power of your Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus name, amen.
1. What do you think was going through Peter’s thoughts and emotions as this scene played out in a form of déjà vu?
2. In what ways has your life been “interrupted” by the call of Christ?
3. What causes you to go back to your old ways (patterns, habits, sins) of doing things?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.