The Risen Savior Reassures with a Personal Touch of Power
3rd Sunday after Easter
The Risen Savior Reassures with a Personal Touch of Power
Text: John 21:1-14
A lot of planning and preparation goes into Easter. For our church we have 20,000 postcards to design and mail out. We have a rummage sale and school open house to get ready. There are Easter eggs to stuff and hide. There’s a brunch to host. We have multiple services to prepare for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. The choir starts rehearsing Holy Week music already in January. A lot of planning and preparation goes into Easter.
The same is true personally too. Who are you having over for Easter dinner? When are they arriving? When are they leaving? What are you going to eat? What nice outfit are you going to wear for Easter Sunday? Can you roll out of bed in time for the sunrise service or will it have to be the late service? How early do you let your kids start eating their Easter candy? How long can you put up with a sugar rush?
All that planning and preparation, energy and effort for only one day. And what a day it was! Easter was awesome! The services were festive and uplifting. The music was powerful and lively. The food was terrific. Everyone was smiling and happy. Our joy was about as high as could be!
Then just like that, Easter was over. It was done and gone. Then what? Well I followed my tradition of every year and went golfing on Easter Monday. Then I went to the beach with my family. What did you do? With Easter over, now what? Time to sit back and relax? Back to life as usual? Time to go fishing?
Well that’s what the disciples did. We don’t know exactly how long this was after Easter. All John says in verse one is, “Afterward.” From Jesus’ second appearance to his disciples a week after Easter to Jesus’ ascension into heaven, this chapter of John records the only story of what happened during those 33 days.
Some time after Easter during those 33 days the disciples were back up north by the Sea of Tiberias (or the Sea of Galilee). It seems as though there were only seven of the disciples together. Peter decided to go fishing. The other six went with. They fished all night but caught nothing. It seems like no big deal. It seems like just another day, just another story. But no story is in the Bible for no reason. It seems like no big deal, until we start asking some questions.
Why were they back up northing in Galilee away from Jerusalem? Did everyone go back to their homes after Easter as if nothing big had happened? Why were they fishing again? Did they have nothing better to do? There’s nothing wrong with fishing. Obviously they loved it and it used to be the profession of many of them. But they were eyewitnesses to the Savior of the world suffering and dying for our sins. They were the very first ones to see the Savior of the world risen from the dead. Jesus had appeared to them twice already and filled them with unexplainable joy and peace. The second time was even a special appearance just for doubting Thomas to reassure and restore his faith. And, when Jesus appeared to them he also commissioned them and said, “I am sending you.” Jesus was sending them out now to do his work and tell others what he had done.
So why were they fishing in Galilee? Why weren’t they running from door to door and house to house shouting, “He’s alive! Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! We have seen the Savior!”? Why weren’t the 11 remaining disciples together? Where were the other four? Why weren’t they together planning strategies for mission trips and sharing the incredible news and joy of Easter to the ends of the earth? Why did Jesus need to appear to them this third time? Weren’t his promises enough? Weren’t the other two miraculous appearances enough? Didn’t they understand what had happened? Didn’t they understand what Jesus wanted them to do? Why was it apparently back to life as usual?
We could ask ourselves the same question. Why is it back to life as usual? After the great joy and peace that you experienced on our festive Easter morning, how long before life was back to normal? After you heard that Jesus is risen, that your sins are taken away, and that you will surely be in heaven—did you do anything different after Easter than what you normally do?
Did you run from door to door and house to house in the “P” section or “R” section shouting, “He’s alive! He is risen! He is risen indeed!”? Did you even tell anyone about Easter? Did you ponder how you can live your life with more joy since the victory is ours in Jesus? Did you consider how you could be more relaxed, calm, and patient every day since we have peace through Jesus? Did your attitude toward others change because you want to show the same kind of love to others that Jesus has shown to us?
Or might it be that Easter was over and we breathed a big sigh of relief? “Phew! Glad that’s done with! Now we can get back to life as usual!” So we went back to work. We jumped back into our crazy schedules. We got back to “normal” life. And before we knew it, here we are two weeks later and it’s almost as if Easter never happened. We’re back in the same rut. We’re back to the same worries. We’re back to the same sins. We saw the risen Savior! . . . and then . . . we went fishing.
Jesus is so patient. He appeared to his disciples once more. Early in the morning after that night of fishing Jesus stood on the shore and called out to his disciples, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” They didn’t recognize Jesus, probably because they were about the length of a football field (100 yards) away. Jesus told these experienced fishermen to put their nets out on the right side of the boat. When they did they couldn’t even pull the net in because it was filled with 153 large fish.
If this sounds familiar to you, you are thinking good Bible thoughts. Jesus did almost the exact same thing three years earlier when he asked Peter, James, and John to be his disciples in the first place. John remembered. “It is the Lord,” he said. Peter was struck with memories and with the emotions of everything he and Jesus had done during Holy Week. True to form, Peter jumped right in the water and swam to shore. The other six rowed ashore. There they found that Jesus had a nice little breakfast waiting for them. A fire was going and some fish and bread were waiting for them.
As they sat to eat breakfast with their dear friend and Savior who provided this much-needed breakfast and the miraculous catch of fish, we hear this interesting comment from John in verse 12: “Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ None of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord.”
This was not like Easter evening when they thought he was a ghost and they needed to touch his hands and feet and see him eat something. They knew it was Jesus. And it’s not like they had forgotten about Jesus or didn’t care about Jesus. Peter was so happy to see him he swam a hundred yards to shore. They were clearly very glad to see Jesus this third time.
But they seem to have needed this little reminder. Perhaps they had lost a little bit of their Easter joy. Perhaps they had lost focus on their mission to go and share Jesus with others. Perhaps they had a few doubts creeping back into their minds, even though Jesus had appeared to them twice already.
So The Risen Savior Reassures with a Personal Touch of Power. In a very gentle, loving way Jesus gave them a personal reminder of his power and of their purpose. They liked fishing, and Jesus reminded them that he has power over wind and wave and fish. They had empty bellies after an empty-handed night of fishing. Jesus provided for them and filled the tummy with something yummy.
Perhaps they had some uncertainty or worry or doubt swirling in their minds. So Jesus appeared to them this third time. This was a very gentle, loving, patient reassurance from Jesus about his resurrection, his power, and their new purpose in life.
Jesus still does the same today. Jesus is still so patient. He has done so much for us in our lives! He completely flips our lives upside down as he tells us about our sins and calls us to repent and turn to him. Yet he loved us so much that he sacrificed himself to pay for all the sins we have committed. Then on Easter morning he showed us the healed holes in his hands and feet. He is risen. He lives. And so will we—forever with him in heaven. What joy we had on Easter morning!
Yet after all that Jesus has done for us, and after all that joy of Easter morning, we slowly slide back into “normal” life. That means back to work. Back to busy schedules. Back to nudging Jesus into the background. Back to our usual worries. Back to our usual doubts. Back to a life that seems unchanged by the resurrection. If you looked at those disciples fishing in that boat, and if look at our lives this last week, would anybody know that we have seen the risen Savior and are now filled with the joy of Easter?
So in a very gentle, loving, patient way Jesus gives us personal reminders of his power and our purpose. He repeats to us over and over (and over again!) in his Word that he loves us. He forgives us. He reassures us that we are still his children and we will still be going to heaven.
He also prepares a meal for us. A very simple meal. Not bread and fish on hot coals, but rather bread and wine on an elegant table. And just as Jesus was present at that breakfast to reassure his disciples, so Jesus is present with his true body and blood in his Supper to reassure us today.
Jesus reassured his disciples with a very personal touch, providing a huge catch of fish, providing that breakfast, appearing to them to give them an extra measure of comfort. This is what our Savior still does today. He provides for our daily needs. Not just one fish, but a huge catch of fish. He provides more than we really need. He gives us Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as personal touches and reminders of his love. He appears to us in those two sacraments and on the pages of Scripture to assure us that he loves us and to give us an extra measure of comfort. Yes, even still today The Risen Savior Reassures with a Personal Touch of Power.
Easter is over. Now what? Back to life as usual? Nothing different? No big deal? Go fishing?
No way! As Jesus reminded his disciples with this third loving, personal appearance, so he reminds us today: He is risen! He is risen indeed! Our sins are forgiven. Our doubts are erased. We have joy. We have peace. We have people to tell. We have work to do.
Easter joy isn’t done and over. Easter joy is every day!
Posted on April 16, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Baptism, Breakfast, Church, Communion, Disciples, Doubts, Easter, Fishing, James, Jesus, John, Joy, Lord's Supper, Peter, Power, Reassurance, Reassure, Sacraments, Sermons, Worries. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.