“Now What?” Rev. Barry L. Lewis

I am not entirely certain about what Barry Lewis is going to preach from this passage.  But here are some of my "ponderings" on John 21:1-19.

Life changes. Stuff happens. And when something has happened with a significant impact, we need to re-evaluate. It most likely can't be "business as usual"--in fact, if we try to continue with "business as usual" we may find that simply we can't.  And probably we'll at least find out that we shouldn't. 

Here are the disciples, gathered together with this new reality of Jesus having been dead and now being alive.  What they may have understood about Jesus as King--he was always talking about the Kingdom of God--now seems really different, and really confusing, because your basic King doesn't rise from the dead, and maybe the "God" part of the phrase "Kingdom of God" has a more cosmic and eternal aspect than when they thought it meant rebellion against Rome so that God's chosen nation would be free again. Maybe the political reality is less the thing than the divine reality. In any case, it's time to re-evaluate.  Jesus works with them on that re-evaluation, and in particular talks with Simon Peter about love, and what "love" looks like moving forward.        

For us, when we get a deeper sense of what Jesus was really all about, and that it's not just about what happens after WE die but has something to do with how we LIVE, then it raises the question about love. "Love God, love neighbor" are the two greatest commandments. The more we get what Jesus is about, and the more we get that what he did for us, and what he tells us about how to live, the more we consider that "love God and love neighbor" is a day-to-day dynamic that affects--and re-prioritizes--the way we engage with our Creator and Redeemer, and with our own choices about our behaviors, and with our own actions towards others.  And this dialogue Jesus has with Simon Peter ought to be part of OUR re-evaluation.  Do we love Jesus? Do we love others? What does that look like as we live it out (rather than just thinking about it or saying it)? And, like Simon Peter, does it change what we do?

Much to consider. Much to pray about and discern. Much to live.

GOSPEL          John 21:1-19 

1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2 Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, ‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ 6 He said to them, ‘Cast the net to 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 there were so many fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. 8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ 16 A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’17 He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’