April 25, 2004

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>

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1. And there was evening and there was morning the eighth day. The fields have been white with harvest but the barns didn't burst. The waters have been filled with fish but the nets didn't break. Abundance is the order of the day.

2. In fact abundance is so great we have plenty for all. Are we going to feed the hungry? is the question. May we simply know it in our bones as did the disciples know who they are dealing with - we will feed the hungry, not because they are Jesus' hungry, if not Jesus, but simply because they are hungry.

3. Can't you hear yourself? "Of course I love you, Jesus, see what I've done. Aren't you proud of me. I did it for you. You've got to know I love you." And Jesus persists and persists, "Do you love me." And we persist and persist in coming up with specifics until we finally know this as a koan that is unanswerable as being becomes doing and vice versa and finally we know we are love. Finally we sit in silence and are able to hear - "You are going to die, even I died, you will now die not to prove a point or add up points or meet a certain level of suffering, but simply die and so what better way to live between now and then but by remembering who I was and being who you are. In such simplicity you will follow me and exceed me and be so joined to life that your joy will be abundant and overflowing."

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