John 21: 1-19
After this, 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?”
Simon answered “Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
And then he commanded, “Follow me.”
At last the disciples have received enough of the Spirit to venture outside the locked room. Peter, presumably is being treated as their leader, and for the want of anywhere else to go he is taking them home.
At the moment Simon Peter doesn’t know what is going on; the Resurrection brought Jesus back to him – the same but ‘not the same’ Jesus; and remember they still haven’t talked about ‘that night’ when Peter knew he had betrayed his best friend. So the practical man in him says ‘I’m going fishing’ and see it is ‘I’m’; maybe he didn’t particularly want them along; maybe he had had enough of talking and crying and wondering – he needed the space; he needed to be ‘doing’. But, whether he meant it or not – it becomes a rallying cry for the others; to remember who they are; what their strengths are; to work together for a purpose’
And that is exactly what they needed; as Paul later tells his communities ‘you can’t sit around waiting for God – you have lives to live; you have work to do’.
We have to be ourselves; we have to be grown-ups; we have to get out there on the waves of our own life. Bravely taking responsibility, taking chances. Sometimes we will be getting it right and sometimes getting it wrong. sometimes finding ourselves adrift. But only there does God gets the opportunity to guide us; to lead us to the fertile waters where our gifts can bring a real harvest.
This is what Jesus tells him; my sacrifice is not your sacrifice. You will follow me by doing what I ask you to do – in love – in your own way.