Apr 18 sermon notes

Sermon notes

“Breakfast with Jesus”          John 21: 1-19                        April 18, 2010
 
(NOT JUST ANOTHER FISH STORY.)      LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.
 
After the resurrection, Peter and his companions left the pressure of Jerusalem for their quiet roots in Galilee.
 
  • This is the in-between time—before Pentecost
  • The initial excitement of the post-resurrection appearances in Jerusalem may have worn off.
  • They were probably in ‘wait’ mode—what do we do now?
  • They went back to what they knew best—fishing—but they caught nothing.
  • Had they forgotten to inquire of the Lord?
  • What was it like for them to have seen the resurrection Jesus and then be left on their own?
  • Maybe the disciples went home to put their houses in order.
 
There is something dreamlike about this scene, isn't there? Halfway between night and day, with the first hint of dawn spreading pencil-like along the horizon. Patches of mist and fog rising from the water. The gentle noise of waves slapping against the boat or dripping from the nets. . . .
The deep sighs of the fishermen, whose muscles ache from the toil of the fruitless night. And then the Divine Stranger, standing on the shore and hallowing to them through the mist, telling them they will catch something if they will lower their nets on the other side of the boat, the right side.
(21:4) Why didn't the disciples know it was Jesus? . . . The appearance of Jesus (along with their recognition of his presence) belongs to the Divine initiative. It is not in the power of people to recognize the presence and activity of God. Such a recognition depends upon God’s grace.
 
 
The appearance of Jesus is today’s text . . .
 
  • was one of many post-resurrection appearances—but was special.
  • This was God inviting man to eat with him
  • (song) “God and man at table are sat down” (Eucharist—reverse Eucharist)
  • Old Testament: Abraham invited 3 strangers (angel of lord)
  • Here God is extending his hospitality to us.
 
God does not just call us to ‘work’ for him as some people think--
(They’re afraid they’re never doing enough for God—as if they could earn God’s love)
 
Jesus clearly demonstrates hid care for the disciples’ well-being. He provided them with a good catch, and provided for their body and soul by preparing and sharing breakfast with them.
 
This is highly significant.
Jesus is the host.
God gives the invitation.
 
He gave the disciples the great commission (work to do)
He called the disciples to breakfast (rest and replenishment) 6B
 
Where is Jesus standing on the shore of your life?
Is he calling you to work for the kingdom or is he calling you to rest and replenish?
 
The late Pope John Paul II wrote in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, “Christ "walks through the centuries alongside each generation, alongside every generation, alongside every person. He walks alongside each person as a friend. An important day in a young person's life is the day on which he becomes convinced that this is the only Friend who will not disappoint him, on whom he can always count."” ( Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (New York: Knopf, 1994).
 
But suppose there is something even more personal in the text, something for each one of us, that goes beyond the more obvious and general meaning.
 
What if the story of the lake and the fishermen suggests something to us about our own stories, about the way we may have been fishing a long time without any luck, without catching any fish?
Some of us have, haven't we?
 
Some of us have been plodding along in our jobs week after week, year after year, with no sense of reward any feeling that we are getting anywhere.
 
Or we have been coming up with nothing in our personal relationships.
 
Or maybe we haven't been getting any return on our spiritual efforts. We have been praying or going to church or listening to religious programs -- or maybe all of the above -- and nothing has been happening, our nets have been coming up empty.
 
You get the picture. . . .
 
Barrenness. . . .
Emptiness.
Nothing in the nets.
 
And we are tired, the way these fishermen were tired after fishing all night. We are tired of life, tired of trying.
 
Nothing ever seems to happen for us. It happens for everybody else, but not for us. Our lives are empty and unfulfilled.
 
But, but! Jesus says, "Cast your net on the other side of the boat," . . . and you will be surprised what happens to you.
 
How could it? You say. I mean, who knows more about your life than you do? Don't you know how to do your own fishing? Besides, how could there be any fish that close to your boat on the other side, anyway, when you've been fishing where you have for so many years?
 
But what if Jesus is right? What if there's something tremendous and exciting merely waiting for you if you make a l-i-t-t-l-e adjustment in your life: adjust where you're letting down your nets, adjust how you perceive your existence. What if it's only a matter of learning to fish in a new place?
What might that mean, in your life?
Rev. Rosemary Stelz
 
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