Lent Devotional Day 46

Day 46
Saturday, April 8
John 21:1-25

Jesus appears again to the disciples

Later, Jesus himself appeared again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how it happened: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus[a]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.” 

They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus.

5 Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.”

6 He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” 

So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they weren’t far from shore, only about one hundred yards.

9 When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.” 11 Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples could bring themselves to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus and Peter

15 When they finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” 

Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” 

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” 

Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” 

Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 He asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.”

 Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.”

Jesus and the disciple whom he loved

20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. This was the one who had leaned against Jesus at the meal and asked him, “Lord, who is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw this disciple, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain until I come, what difference does that make to you? You must follow me.” 23 Therefore, the word spread among the brothers and sisters that this disciple wouldn’t die. However, Jesus didn’t say he wouldn’t die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what difference does that make to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies concerning these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If all of them were recorded, I imagine the world itself wouldn’t have enough room for the scrolls that would be written.

When I read this passage, it reminds me of Jesus asking us to follow him with faith like
children. The disciples know what they are doing, but it isn’t producing the results
they need. Jesus comes along gently, telling them to try it a different way. They could have
begrudged him, but they were exhausted, so they did as he asked them. Their results
immediately changed. Jesus came in as a good parent does who assess the situation, sees
something the child doesn’t, and offers a gentle solution.

Again, when Jesus speaks to Peter, I am reminded of a parent and child talking. I see Jesus as
I see myself when I speak with my children. Getting at eye level with him, asking him the
question, then asking again and again. Not to exasperate them or the situation but because I
know repetition helps one to remember. I had the same little talk I would tell my kids as they
exited the vehicle every morning for school, “Have a great day. Make good choices. Be respectful. I love you.”

“Feed my lambs, Peter. Love my lambs, Peter. Take care of my lambs, Peter.”
He was not going to forget anytime soon. None of them were going to forget the night they
fished and caught nothing until Jesus came with a helping hand. Just as we remember those
hard lessons that we finally understood when someone wiser gave us a different perspective.
Peter wouldn’t forget the importance of taking care of Jesus’s followers. Even when it didn’t
make sense, Peter would remember those words and continue to be faithful.

It reminds me of my own personal struggle over the last several years. The push of providing
for my family. The pull of wanting more time at home for writing. This continued inward battle I
would have with myself and God. It became exhausting. What I was doing wasn’t bad. They
were good things. And yet, I was exhausted from the longevity of doing things that didn’t fill my
cup. Just as the disciples weren’t filling their nets. I had felt Jesus come to me as well and give
me a nudge for a different solution. I was not as receptive as the disciples were. I was a little
more like Peter, harassed by the continued pressure of nagging questions. December of last
year, I had worked myself to exhaustion. I still felt that pull to something different. To lean into
God, remembering God as a parent who cares for and loves me. I made the change and saw
new doors open.

I pray this season of Lent, where we practice fasting and praying for 40 days, has given you
the repetition and routine to draw near to God. To see into the thinness that exists between us
and the spiritual and to make choices that might not seem practical or normal but are God-led.

By A.R. Stanley

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