Monday, September 13, 2010 John 21:1-14 – Full Circle
No one knows exactly why Peter decides to go fishing, but because he is a man of action, and fishing had been his prior profession, it shouldn’t surprise us that he decides to go out. He invites six other disciples to join him. They fish in the Sea of Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) at night. This Gospel story has come full circle. Remember, at the beginning of John, Jesus asks them to join him in becoming fishers of men. Now they return to the occupation they know so well after three years of ministry. In your life, what has come full circle? In your prayers today, thank God for being faithful to you in ways you have seen, and in ways unseen.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 John 21:4-6 – The First Miracle
The professional fishermen labor all night long and catch absolutely nothing. We can imagine their frustration, which is only compounded by a perfect stranger calling out directions from the beach. Jesus cries out, “cast your nets on the other side of the boat.” On the surface, this suggestion is just plain stupid. Why would there be fish on one side of the boat and not the other? The first miracle of this story is that the disciples comply well before they know that the stranger is Jesus. When have you needed to do something that seemed completely illogical in order to be obedient to God? In your prayers today, ask God to lead you into deeper obedience.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 John 21:7-9 – Recognizing Jesus
And why don’t they recognize Jesus? Does the rising sun and the haze on the water obscure their vision? Does Jesus wish not to be recognized? Does Jesus’ appearance dramatically vary post-resurrection? No reason is given in the story. The real point here is that this story is about revealing what was not previously known, and this revealing happens on multiple levels in this chapter. What is it that keeps you from recognizing Jesus today? In your prayers, ask God to reveal the presence of Christ to you more clearly.
Thursday, September 16, 2010 John 21:9-11 – The Second Miracle
The second miracle of the story is the amazing catch itself. Much is made of the number 153, which is the number of fish caught. Some propose that this was the total number of species of fish known to the ancient world, a metaphor pointing to the fact that all nations would be “caught up” in the gospel. Based on the fact that John is a detailed recorder, it might simply mean that they caught a lot of fish, period. The second miracle is that God provides in such great abundance that sometimes we can’t even comprehend it. Where has God’s abundance, beyond your comprehension, shown up in your life? In your prayers, ask God to direct you to new and creative ways to use your abundance for others.
Friday, September 17, 2010 John 21:12-14 – God’s Presence
By meeting the disciples in the mundane, everyday moments of life, even when they don’t recognize him, Jesus reminds them once again that he would always be with them. We’re reminded of the same thing whenever we break bread. This story reminds us of the abundance of wine at the wedding at Cana, and the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus is revealed in the breaking of the bread. When we share in Holy Communion, the risen Christ is present with us, and is revealed in the breaking of the bread. Where and when do you sense God’s presence? In your prayers, invite God to come and be present to you.
Saturday, September 18, 2010 John 21:15-19 – God’s Purpose
Jesus has a purpose for the disciples’ lives, and for ours. It’s a purpose he gave them when he first called them to be “fishers of people.” Here, at the end, he points them in that direction again. We, too, are called to fish for people, to plant seeds of love that connect people to Christ. Luther once said, “We are all mere beggars telling other beggars where to find bread.” As you move through this Saturday, how are your actions connected to God’s purpose for you? In your prayers, ask God to reveal your purpose more clearly every day.
Sunday, September 19, 2010 John 21:4-6 – God’s Provision
Notice again the theme of abundance that comes from these verses. Note the fact that the disciples had caught nothing, and then, when Jesus shows up, there’s more fish than they can imagine. Each time we take a step of obedience as disciples, Jesus meets us with abundant provision. We will always have enough to do all that we’ve been given to do. Stop and meditate on that phrase: we will always have enough to do all that we’ve been given to do. In the realm of the Kingdom of God, we are called to tasks that we’re equipped to do. In the realm of the Kingdom of God, we are given the exact amount of what we need to accomplish God’s purposes. Where in your life have you stopped believing in an abundant God of provision? In your prayers this week, ask God to lead you into deeper trust that God really can provide for our needs.