Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In John 21, Jesus appears to his disciples in a surprisingly unassuming way. The apostolic band, in sorrow and disappointment, is deciding to return to former ways of life. The fishermen are going to catch fish, care for their families, and conduct business as usual. After a fruitless night’s work, Jesus appears to them the way he had several years before. He tells them to cast the nets again.
We should notice that the boat is not far out in the water, but is still about a hundred yards out. In general, though we can easily make out a human figure at that distance and hear a voice across water, we really aren’t going to recognize a face. If we don’t know who to expect we will not be able to identify someone. The apostles recognize Jesus because of the context of their interaction. Jesus had previously provided a large catch of fish after a frustrating night, then he put them to work in His kingdom. Here he does it again.
We all have times of frustration and doubt. We are all tempted to follow circumstances toward our old habits. Often our Lord doesn’t intervene. He may use the circumstance to confirm that we were doing fine. But when he does intervene to redirect us, it is usually quite plain. He brings the huge catch of fish, he calls us by name, he gives us something we need to do.
When Jesus intervenes he does something else as well. As in John 21, he restores our relationship to him. He lets us see a purpose in what we are doing. Maybe he affirms it through circumstances or through people. But he uses those times of restoration to strengthen our relationship with him. He calls us to his side and sends us to do good in his kingdom. This is how we find ourselves as God’s servants, loving and serving our neighbor, feeding His sheep.
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