The Reading: John 21:1-8
“It is the Lord” (v.7) RSV
Peter arrived first at the tomb. He and John had run there in response to the women’s message that the tomb was empty. When he arrived, he went in but didn’t know what to think. Now we read of him fishing on Galilee, hearing from John that “It is the Lord” (v.7), and consequently plunging into the sea in order to reach Jesus as quickly as possible.
All the disciples in the boat saw Jesus, and yet it took one of them, John, to recognise him with certainty: “It is the Lord” (v.7). There is a significant sentence that sums up this ambivalence of faith, “None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord” (v.12). What was their problem? Quite simply the evidence of their eyes was not sufficient. With their minds they questioned, but with their spirits they believed.
What had opened the eyes of their spirit? It was the miracle: the catch of fish. They recognised the Lord by what he did. They saw the ‘finger of God’ (Luke 11:20) at work.
We too have to live by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We do not see God and yet we recognise his presence by his activities. This what Jesus said about the Spirit; his presence is like the wind – felt and effective but unseen (John 3:8)
The catch of fish was not a coincidence, but a result of hearing the word of the Lord and obeying. The catch could be explained no doubt in many ways, but to the believer it was a direct activity of God. It was proof that it was “the Lord” (v.7).
It took one person to see and to have faith: John. The others caught his faith and his conviction. We thank God for people who inspire faith, and long to be such people ourselves.
Sometimes I long to see you, Lord, and one day I will. But now help me to see you in your handiwork and in your people, and to come running to you in gratitude. Amen.
- Who wanted help to believe, and who helped him?
2. Who inspired his servant to see the unseen?