Wake up Call

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 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 as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 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. 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. 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.

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


An image from my 2016 Portfolio “Unsung Heroes: A Visual Parable” These images remind us that just as many things are working behind the scenes, and without our notice, so God is holding all things together through the word of his power. We often take his presence and protection for granted.

Sometimes we need a loud and obnoxious wake-up call. We set a reminder on a particularly irksome alarm tone so that we are jarred to consciousness: Time to act! That seems to be the nature of the empty tomb. Something has happened. Things are different now. We’re not sure just what it means, but we are now fully alert.

I have an alarm on my phone, however, that is much more subtle and polite. It plays a beautiful song that gently awakens me from my slumber. Such is this third time that Jesus is revealed to his disciples. No shock therapy here. Not a sudden and rude claxon intruding into their rest. Jesus just appears on the lake shore as morning dawns.

It is in this gentle appearing and the simple questions of Jesus to Peter that things begin to fall more fully into place. Peter realizes it is Jesus. The disciples figure out it is him. John even tells us that no one dared ask him who he was, for they knew it was the Lord. Jesus feeds them breakfast. He will then (again gently) confront Peter.

My take-aways from this chapter:

  • Jesus does not need to prove anything for himself. The reality of his being stands on its own.
  • The resurrection of Jesus is a mystery beyond the empty tomb and Jesus’ appearing. Jesus reveals himself here. The disciples know it’s Jesus, but they don’t “dare” ask him who he is.
  • This isn’t just history; though it is historically true. Jesus rose from the dead. Those words mean far more than the facts of the matter.
  • Embracing the resurrection of Jesus means doing things differently sometimes (like casting your net on the other side of the boat).
  • The ultimate application of the resurrection to daily life is to follow Jesus.

This ends the 21 Day Challenge by which we have been reading through the Gospel of John, one chapter a day. I will move on to other personal reflections in the days ahead. I do this blog for me; it is my spiritual discipline. It’s how I start my day. If you are edified by this, that is a bonus for which we may both thank God.

1 comment
  1. Jeff Doria said:

    Good stuff Dave. I especially like your 3rd bullet point and where it leads the mind and heart. Thanks for the insights in this journey through John.

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