April 29, 2001

John 21:1-19

After this [appearance to Thomas], Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed "Twin"), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, "I'm going fishing."

the rest of them replied, "We're going with you." They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn't recognize him.

Jesus spoke to them: "Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?"

They answered, "No."

He said, "Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens."

They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren't strong enough to pull it in.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Master!"

When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren't far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.

Jesus said, "Bring some of the fish you've just caught." Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore -- 153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn't rip.

Jesus said, "Breakfast is ready." Not one of the disciples dared ask, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Master.

Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.

After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?"

"Yes, Master, you know I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

He then asked a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"

"Yes, master, you know I love you."

Jesus said, "Shepherd my sheep."

Then he said it a third time: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, "Do you love me?" so he answered, "Master, you know everything there is to know. You've go to know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I'm telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you'll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don't want to go." He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, "Follow me."

<The Message >


1. "... I kept running up against the triad that is described in Enneagram literature as the middle of the body (gut), head, and heart.... The triad appears most clearly in the three figures of Peter, Thomas, and Mary Magdalen, who when they meet the resurrected Lord reveal their character by their typical ways of reacting and responding: jumping the gun/facing the crucial question (Peter, in John 21:15-18, "Do you love me?"), running away/accepting the invitation (Thomas in John 20:24-29, "Put your finger here"), clinging to others/freeing oneself and turning to others (Mary Magdalen, in John 20:17, "Do not hold me, but go to my brethren and say...")....

"Middle of the Body (Gut): EIGHT - NINE - ONE
For this center the characteristic defensive posture is the resistance that can be expressed in a lack of respect for others (EIGHT), oneself (NINE), or God (ONE). These types tend to become locked up inside themselves. This defensive attitude fits into the realm of survival, where it shows its full effectiveness. But when it comes to the encounter with the redeeming God who offers life in abundance (John 10:10), this self-willed attitude manifests itself as stiff resistance. All of Jesus's disputes with his opponents reflect this battle, in which the body center of the person putting up the resistance is laid open and the armor is shattered, so that reverence becomes possible. But Jesus doesn't wage this battle on the level of his adversaries, with the "sword," as Peter does when Jesus is taken prisoner (John 18:10), or as the men do who wish to kill him (John 8:37), but with the Word, which has, of course, the impact of the sword (cf. John 12:48, Heb. 4:12-13), In the meeting with Simon Peter after the resurrection Jesus shows how this defensiveness is overcome, this stiff resistance broken, and the energy stored up in this protective posture set free. This is the question, "Do you love me [more]?" In this way the instinctive reaction that "kills" or "destroys" -- that is, weakens or breaks off communication and relationships -- is undone. This makes it possible to respond to others, oneself, and God, and thus (re)creates relationship and communication."

from "The Enneagram and the Bible" by Wolfgang Muller in Experiencing the Enneagram

2. The questions which keep coming back to haunt us are questions which go to the heart of our resistance. Our response, in one form or other (including affirmations such as Peter's), are either straight-forward avoidances or more subtle acknowledgments. We are famous for our "Yes, but ...." type responses which try to put the question(er) in its place.

So a question for the day is what question keeps coming back to us. This is one way of discerning a call.

3. From John Wesley's notes on the "New Testament"
Verse 15. Simon, son of Jonah -- The appellation Christ had given him, when be made that glorious confession, Matthew 16:16, the remembrance of which might make him more deeply sensible of his late denial of him whom he had so confessed. Lovest thou me? -- Thrice our Lord asks him, who had denied him thrice: more than these -- Thy fellow disciples do? -- Peter thought so once, Matthew 26:33, but he now answers only- I love thee, without adding more than these. Thou knowest -- He had now learnt by sad experience that Jesus knew his heart. My lambs -- The weakest and tenderest of the flock.

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