Today's Lectionary Text
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.
By my calculation, as John tells it, the majority of the remaining disciples had gathered on the lakeshore. Even though some of them had seen the empty tomb and had experienced the crucified and risen Lord already as they met in the closed room, there on the lakeshore they were a dispirited, confused group. Going back to what they knew and did well, fishing in the lake, seemed like the only safe thing. That night, though, even that was not working.
Then the unknown figure on the beach gave them some instructions and those instructions were just the thing. The fishers cast the net again, this time on the opposite side of the boat, and so many fish were caught in it that it was too heavy to haul in. The dispirited disciples recognized Jesus, their spirits lifted, and hope was renewed. In this recharged atmosphere Jesus addresses Peter directly. Jesus reminds Peter three times to tend and feed Jesus’s lambs and sheep, to follow him.
Today, even though we believe, it is easy to get discouraged, to lose hope, and to revert to what is easy, what we know, and what makes us feel good. To forget the deep call on our own life and to go back to the familiar is safe. However, the call remains.
Not only does the call remain, but the tools to fulfill that call continue to exist. As we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, we gain new strength. Among brothers and sisters, we receive reminders of our own unique qualities and special abilities. Surrounded by fresh breezes and dancing blossoms we are reenergized. As light gleams before us and music wafts around us during worship we are filled and directed by God’s presence, and our hearts can open to discern just the direction our call might take us.
Although Jesus was crucified, we can claim with assurance that he rose. The lessons he taught continue to guide our actions. The means to carry out the call from Jesus are there. We need to say, with Peter, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Let us discover just who are the sheep today and use the tools we have at hand in 2022, to demonstrate that love.
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh, retired
Prayer for Reflection
Use me, Lord. Help me be tuned in to the need that exists in the world today and to tend to that need in the ways you have equipped me to do. Amen.
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