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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Today’s Reading | John 21:1–14

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 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 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. (NRSV)


I have always wondered why it is that Peter does not recognize Jesus standing on the beach when he sees him. Having denied knowing Jesus three times before Jesus’ arrest, you would think that any chance to see familiarity would make him anxious.

All of us have been at a point like that though. So deep in despair for something that it can be hard to think or believe that you will be forgiven and renewed for something you regret. Later in the story, after they have breakfast on the beach, Jesus approaches Peter and asks him three times, “Do you truly love me?” Peter tells him, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus has forgiven Peter and later tells him, now “feed my sheep.”

This story is such a powerful example of forgiveness and of faith that Jesus is there. I know I have had times where I just feel like my relationship with God is distant, and then there is always a moment that God wakes me up and makes himself known to me. God is present and provides unconditionally. Sometimes God will tell me to “throw my net into the water” and other times not, but regardless always providing me with an opportunity to trust. God never distances himself completely, just like Jesus did here in making himself known to his disciples. He remains constantly in our lives. Let us try and always remember to remain awake to see the miracles he has in store for us!

Lord, thank you for always giving me a second chance, even when my distrust can hurt you. Thank you for being constantly present in my life, willing to offer your love and grace. I pray that you always help me remember you are there waiting at all times and in all circumstances. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Special Events and Membership Coordinator, Center for Life and Learning 

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