The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John chapter 21 is an odd chapter in the Bible. It seems the Gospel has come to a very nice conclusion at the end of chapter 20 but we then find it continuing in chapter 21. Many scholars suggest that the chapter is a little like an epilogue. While the story was well concluded already, there are a couple of details which deserve to be mentioned afterward.
In verses 1-14 Jesus makes a third post-resurrection appearance to his disciples. They have returned to fishing but have caught nothing. At Jesus’ command, they put the net in one more time and catch a large number of fish. They realize that this man on the shore is Jesus and they rush to meet him. He dines with them, not eating the fish they caught but some fish and bread which he already had.
In this event, Jesus establishes for his disciples that he is there with them in the resurrection much the way he was before the resurrection. As he called them, they were fishing and had caught nothing before he told them to cast the net again. Jesus is also establishing for the disciples once again that he is the one who provides what they need. It is not the other way around.
To this day, Christians pray as the Lord taught, “give us this day our daily bread.” We depend on God in Christ to provide what we need. Yes, we go and work, we earn our living, we are producers, not just consumers. But we realize in the end that the reason we have what we need is because of God’s grace and mercy. Just like the disciples fishing through that night, we sometimes find that all our labor is fruitless. But in Christ there is all the provision that our world could ever need. We find ourselves living on a planet where food an be produced in abundance. We pray for situations in which people will not interfere with that, but instead will nurture it. This is how we are able to care for the poor and needy. This is how, when we find ourselves poor and needy, we can get along. There’s more than enough, because God is the God of life. How many times does the Lord need to come back and tell his people that? In John 21, apparently at least one more time. This, also, is his mercy and grace.
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