Third Sunday of Easter | May 3, 2019
21 Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. 2 Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.
3 Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”
“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.
4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
6 Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.
7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. 8 The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. 9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.
10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.
12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
John 21:1-19 New Living Translation (NLT)
Sometime after Jesus’ resurrection and before his ascension, the disciples are together and Peter declares that he is going fishing. James and John and several of the other disciples go with him. They go out in a boat all night and catch nothing.
In the morning a man asks the fishermen, “Have you caught any fish?”
The men reply, “No!”
The man, who is Jesus, but the disciples don’t know it yet, tells them to cast their net to the other side and immediately they end up with more fish than they know what to do with. Peter immediately knows who is on the shore and swims back to the beach to meet Jesus.
Jesus makes the fishermen some breakfast. John tells us it was the third time that Jesus had appeared, but this one is significant because Jesus gives Peter a chance at redemption – three times the night that Jesus was crucified, Peter denied Jesus. Jesus asks the question, “Peter, do you love me more than these?” Peter answers, “Yes.” Jesus again asks the question and Peter again answers in the affirmative. Jesus asks the question a third time. This time Peter is hurt that Jesus would ask him this question. But perhaps it was at that time, when he answered yes again that he realized what Jesus was doing. Peter the one who correctly answered the question, “Who do people say that I AM?” Peter the one who denied Jesus three times in the courtyard. It is this Peter that Jesus command to feed the sheep.
Just this week at our monthly ministerial meeting, we were talking about some of the Lent/Holy Week events and the attendance. Finally, the local priest spoke up and said, “Jesus told us to feed the sheep, not to count them.” Jesus commanded Peter, and he commands us to feed the sheep – to go after the one who has left the sheep pen. This is what Jesus calls all of his disciples to do. So on this morning, perhaps as you are eating breakfast, remember Jesus as he feeds his disciples and calls them and us to feed the sheep.