After These Things...

“After these things . . .”

Scripture Reading – John 21:1-14

It is eight days, at least, (John 20:26) since Jesus was raised from the dead.  The passing of time is not all that clear at this point, but we at least know that much.  Perhaps more time has passed as we come to the events in John 21, one of my favorite post-resurrection stories.  

“After these things . . .” it begins.  Almost like a “once upon a time . . .” kind of story.  After the resurrection to be sure.  After seeing Jesus on two separate occasions, it seems like there might have been a few days with no contact with Him.  And then, “after these things . . .”

Peter, apparently having regained his place among the other disciples, says that he will go fishing.  There is no indication that he actually invited others to join him, but we are told that Thomas called Didymus (the Twin), Nathaniel (in whom Jesus found no guile), James, John, and “two others” said they would go with him.  Who doesn’t like fishing!  They fished all night and caught nothing.  

I used to think it was good enough for them!  After all, Jesus was alive, and they went fishing . . . surely there was something more worthwhile than fishing!  Going back to the family business so soon?  I just couldn’t believe it!  And then it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, Peter remembered his first real meeting with Jesus as he and Andrew were casting their nets – fishing – near the shore of this same lake.  What if that was the case?  What if Peter was hoping to see Jesus again in some familiar and meaningful place?  Did you ever think about that?  Now, I can’t say that was the case but . . . just think about it with me.

Peter met Jesus when he was a fisherman.  What if he hoped to find Him again, like maybe, for the first time ever?  A fresh encounter.  After a night with no catch, they saw a vaguely familiar person on shore, near a fire.  Peter then heard a familiar voice, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?  . . .  cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find a catch.”  That voice?  He was not yet sure exactly who it was but there was something so familiar about that voice.  After they discovered their nets full of fish, John said it, “It is the Lord!”  It was just like Jesus to do something like this!  Peter, being Peter, put on his outer garment and dove into the water!  It was the Lord!  Astonished, throwing caution to the wind – that’s Peter! Abandonment.  Losing oneself in love.  That’s the Peter we all love and admire!

I have often found myself going to familiar places – an altar, my devotional place at our breakfast/dining room table, the church sanctuary, a much-loved place of my past – looking for some new encounter with my Lord.  Some new vision.  A new passion.  Some of you have heard me tell of my astonishing encounter with the Lord on December 11, 2017.  It was at a revival.  Sunday morning.  I responded to an invitation to come forward, to stand at the altar as an act of declaring that I wanted “more” of my Lord.  It was to be the closing prayer.  To my utter dismay, I was then overwhelmed by a new touch of His grace and a call to seek ever more of Him in my life!  I would go back there again and again if I could experience that moment!  A familiar place.  A place where God made Himself present in an almost visible manner.  Almost like an epiphany - but not quite.

Heavenly Father, lead me to such a place again and again where I might lose myself in my Lord Jesus.  A familiar place where I will “see” and experience His glory again and again!  Amen.

On the journey . . .

Pastor J K

No Comments