“Just as the day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to the, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So, they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” John 21: 4-7
In today’s reading we hear this story of Jesus’ third appearance to his disciples after his resurrection. It’s striking that again, despite witnessing his miracles, Simon Peter and the other men do not recognize Jesus for who he really is. After an evening and the following morning of empty nets, Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael and the sons of Zebedee return to shore empty handed. There stands Jesus. He instructs them to go back out into the Sea of Galilee and again cast their nets but this time on the other side of the boat. Of course, the net is filled to the brim with fish! It is then that they realize the man on the shore is indeed the Christ, their Risen Lord.
After reading today’s text a few times, I’m struck by a few things. First, the notion that the disciples returned to the sea at Jesus’ order despite not knowing who he really was. The second is the mere fact that this is the third time he had appeared to him and still they didn’t recognize him until after he had performed a miracle. This got me thinking about how often we as Christians miss those moments in which Jesus simply shows up for us. How often he is standing on the shore giving us the roadmap for success, but we mistake him for just another guy on the beach. Those of you that attend Eastview Christian Church may have heard Mike preach this Sunday on the importance of remembering the miracles that God performs in your life. How often Sunday morning tears and pleas turn into Monday morning miracles. And yet by the following week we’ve forgotten what He’s done for us and more importantly failed to spread the good news of God’s grace.
When I place myself in Simon Peter’s shoes, I too would jump out of the boat when I realized my mistake! How do I act in the moment when Jesus calls me to be a disciple and cast my net yet again? Following the call of Jesus means putting your net back into the sea even when you’ve had no success and you’ve grown weary. Even when we don’t feel like reaching out to that co-worker and sharing the message of hope or when we just don’t want to forgive and mend a relationship…Jesus is on the shore asking us to cast that net one more time. My prayer for this Christmas season is that we may be present enough to look for signs of Jesus on our shore and follow him. The miracle of Christ’s birth is upon us. Can we recognize Him when he comes?
I pray that we each find the time to put Jesus Christ into our lives this week. That we are attuned to His presence in the coming days. I pray for you to cast your net in faith this week. Peace.