John, the Evangelist, tells us that the miraculous events of our text occurred on what “was now the third time Jesus appeared to [the larger group of] His disciples after He was raised from the dead.” (John 21: 14) Jesus died in the place of all sinners and now was alive for our forgiveness! The resurrected Savior of the world appeared on Easter morning to the women at the tomb; later that day, to several of His followers who were on their way to Emmaus; and that same evening, He appeared to the larger group of disciples. A week later he appeared, once again, to this group in Jerusalem.
Following this second visit from Jesus to the larger group, the disciples traveled from Jerusalem – north – to Galilee where Jesus had told them to go and wait (see Matthew 28: 1-10) until He came to them again. We don’t know how long they had to wait for Him, but it appears that finally Simon Peter could wait no longer and so announced to the others, “I’m going out to fish” and they decided to join him.
These seasoned, experienced, professional fishermen worked all night long, but caught nothing! Early the next morning a lone figure stood on the shore, about a hundred yards away, and called to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?…Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” (John 21: 5-6) And, miraculously, that’s exactly what happened!
By means of this miracle, John recognized that it was Jesus standing on the shore. “As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, ‘It is the Lord,’ he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish… When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.” (John 21: 7-9)
After Jesus demonstrated His mercy, love and care for His disciples by appearing to them and feeding them, He graciously “restored” and forgave Peter for denying Him three times (see John 18) by asking Peter three times, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love Me?” (John 21: 15-17)
Many Christians in our country, and perhaps even in our congregation, seem “bored” with their Christian lives. They’re “waiting,” but aren’t sure exactly for what they are waiting! They – and sometimes, we – are not actively engaged in the Christian “walk and witness.”
God calls His faithful followers to be urgent in our prayers and eagerly watching for His leading. As we wait for Jesus to appear (return) to us, we are earnest and active in “Strengthening the Saved.” Jesus does come to strengthen, forgive, love and care for us through the Holy Absolution; through the Real Presence of His Body and Blood in the Lord’s Supper; and through the power of His precious Word.
Strengthened in this way, we can joyfully be about the business of “Reaching the Lost!” By the seashore, Jesus called Peter to “Feed and Care for His sheep.” He calls us to do the same. So, will you? It is my prayer that you will! As He Feeds and Sends us, may God richly bless our efforts to “Reach the Lost & Strengthen the Saved!”
See you in church this next weekend!
Blessings in Christ,