Which Side of the Cross ?
Daily Reflection – 4/26/19
Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathaniel from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead. (John 21:1-14)
When life gets difficult, when we become lost, confused, and afraid, when the changes of life are not what we wanted or think we deserve we tend to run away. We try to go back to the way it was before – to something safe, something familiar.
Peter and six others have returned to the sea. They have left Jerusalem. They have come home to the Sea of Tiberias, the place where it all began. It is familiar and comfortable. Perhaps it takes him back to life before Jesus. The others are quick to join him.
My hunch, however, is that Peter is not really trying to catch fish as much as he is fishing for answers. What have I done? What were those three years about? Who was Jesus? Where is he? Who am I? What will I do now? Where will I go?
We have all spent time dark night fishing; asking the same questions as Peter, looking for our place in life, seeking peace, and some sense of understanding and meaning.
“Children, you have no fish, have you,” Jesus says. This is more a statement of fact than a question. He is commenting on the reality and emptiness of Peter’s and the other disciples’ lives. Peter is living in the pain and the past of Good Friday. He is fishing on the Good Friday side of the boat and the net is empty.
Wonder if we have been fishing on the wrong side of the boat? Jesus seems to think so. “Cast your net to the right side of the boat,” Jesus says, the resurrection side of the boat. This movement of the net from one side of the boat to the other symbolizes the disciples’ resurrection. It is the great Passover. Jesus calls us to move out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life. In so doing we see and proclaim, “It is the Lord,” and emptiness gives way to the abundance of a net full of fish, large ones, a hundred fifty-three of them. Darkness dawns a new day with new light.
The last supper has become the first breakfast. Confessions of love overcome denials of fear.
“It is the Lord.” Dark night fishing is over. This is Easter. Good Friday is real. Pain, death, sin are a reality of life. But the greater and final reality is Easter resurrection. “Follow me,” Jesus says, “and live as resurrected people. Follow me and fish in a different place. Follow me.” “Follow me” is the invitation to examine where we have been fishing. On which side of the boat do we fish? On which side of the cross do we live? Good Friday or Easter resurrection.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you are the Resurrection and the Life. Increase my faith in the power of your resurrection that I may never doubt your word nor stray from your presence.”
The Lord Jesus reveals himself to each of us as we open our hearts to receive his word. Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life and do you receive his word with faith?
- Posted in: Reflections