Jesus Appears at the Sea of Galilee
October 12 - Nº 285 John 20:24 – 21:25
For some reason Thomas was not in the room when Jesus appeared to the rest of the disciples (see #284 - Jesus Appears on the Road to Emmaus). When he joined them, they excitedly explained what had happened. But Thomas doubted their story. “I won’t believe until I see the nail prints in his hands and place my hand in his side!” he stubbornly insisted. One week later, the disciples were still in the same house, but this time Thomas was with them. Suddenly Jesus appeared. “Peace be with you!” he said. Then he turned to Thomas and said, “Come touch the scars on my hands. Reach out and put your hand in my side. I want you to believe that I am alive!” Thomas immediately fell to his knees. “My Lord and my God!” he exclaimed. Jesus said, “Thomas, you believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who won’t have this opportunity but will still believe!” Several times, Jesus had instructed his disciples to meet him in Galilee after he had risen from the dead (see #274 - The Last Supper and #283 - Jesus Appears in the Garden). Finally, they obeyed! One evening, seven of the disciples were waiting by the Sea of Galilee not knowing when Jesus would show up. Peter suddenly announced that he was going fishing. The others decided to go with him, so they all climbed into a boat. They fished all night but didn’t catch anything. As the sun came up, they could see a man standing on the shore, but they couldn’t tell who it was. “Did you catch anything?” he hollered out to them. “No!” they responded curtly. “If you cast your net on the right side of the boat you will catch some,” the man suggested. They probably wondered what difference this would make, but nothing else had worked so they gave it a try. Suddenly the net was filled with fish! John said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Peter heard this, he jumped in the water and swam to the shore. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net behind them. Once they got to shore, they saw that Jesus had made a fire and was cooking fish and bread on it. “Bring some more fish,” Jesus said. So, they hauled the net in. When they had counted, they realized they had caught 153 large fish. It was amazing the net had not broken. Jesus invited them to join him, and he fed them breakfast. When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, do you truly love me—even more than these disciples do?” You see, just a short time before the crucifixion, Jesus had told the disciples that they would all desert him. Peter had boastfully claimed that even if all the others deserted Jesus, he would not (see Matthew 26:33)! He had implied that his love was greater and more loyal than theirs! But within hours, he had denied Jesus three times! Jesus knew how guilty Peter felt, so he now gave him three opportunities to reaffirm his love and restore their relationship. He asked Peter the same question three times, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter declared that he really did love Jesus. And each time Jesus indicated that he had a special job for Peter to do. Jesus did not want Peter to look back at his failures. Instead, he wanted Peter to focus on the future and the amazing work God had waiting for him.
We are human, and God understands our weaknesses. When we fail, He does not want us to give up. He wants us to run to Him for forgiveness and restoration. He wants to rebuild our confidence and re-establish our value because he has important things for us to do.