Sunday, April 10, 2016

Feed My Sheep

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 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. 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.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." 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. 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 sea. 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.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 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. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.
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." 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." 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. 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." (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, "Follow me." 
 John 21:1-19

Sometimes we are sent in directions we do not like or understand. We can look up from our work and wonder how we got here. I sometimes look back and understand now where God was leading me, although then I had no idea. We as humans are often puzzled and confused. When we do we often go back to the things that are familiar, things and practices that soothe us. We seek out familiar waters and safe harbors.

The disciples are in the place where they don't know where to go or what to do. They go fishing and are terribly unsuccessful. Fishing was so familiar but even that could not bring them calm and peace until Jesus showed up on the shore. His direction to the other side brought them abundance and fullness. They also recognized their Lord. But he did not leave them with full nets. He sent them out to feed the sheep, although few of them, if any, were shepherds. Peter particularly struggled against the demands of his Lord, and he ached to understand why and where he was being sent. His love for Jesus was the reason to go to the unfamiliar, the needy, and those on the margin. When we find ourselves without direction, lost and fearful, we can trust that Jesus will bring abundance to us. And we will be asked to move for the love of others, change our approach and ideas, all for love's sake.

Today I ask God to help me trust in the Jesus who stood on the shoreline and brought full nets. May we all be ready to be empowered to serve others, knowing that we will be sent to strange places, carrying the love of God. May we all let go of comfort and follow the risen Christ.

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