“Then as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish on it and bread.”   John 21:9

This particular interaction chronicled in John has so many aspects to it.  There is of course the reinstatement of Peter after his denial of Jesus after His arrest.  There is the commission to go out and feed His lambs.  Yet there is another aspect that intrigues me that I have not heard spoken of much.

For Jesus at this point has already shown Himself as the Risen Lord.  To His disciples there can be no doubt that He is the true Son of God; the Christ.  With that sure and true knowledge, it would seem only natural (that is to say worldly) that Jesus should command more tribute and outright servitude.  Although they had not caught any fish, they were probably still dirty from the activity of letting out and bringing in the nets.  Being a dirty profession, they were also minimally if not shabbily dressed.  Once they realized that it was their Lord Jesus Christ, should they have not been compelled to go somewhere and bathe and put on clothes more appropriate for being in His presence?  Especially after all Jesus had done for them; had He been an earthly king, He would have demanded a response from them that showed a much greater amount of respect and servitude.

So let’s explore how Jesus Christ actually handled this.  First, He did not summon them to some great audience with Him.  No Jesus Christ came to them and in fact He waited for them to finish their task of fishing, before He made His presence known.  Next, Jesus did not command that they come into His presence with gifts of great tribute or presents of great wealth.  No, Jesus knew that they had come back from their quest empty handed.  Jesus Christ again wanted to teach them; through blessings, the difference between human centered effort and Jesus centered effort.  For on their own, they had no fish.  Once they followed the direction of Jesus Christ, their nets were over flowing.

Finally, and this is the part that I find so blessedly generous as well as surprising (although based on Jesus’ life and teachings I probably shouldn’t be surprised), Jesus did not demand that they fall on their knees, drop everything and serve Him.  Later Jesus would lay out for Peter the direction of service that He wanted Peter to fulfill out of Love.  But what did Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God do first?  He served them.  Jesus, the Creator, had food waiting for His created.  There was a fire for warmth, as well as fish and bread waiting for them to fulfill their earthly need for sustenance.  Is that not amazing?  The disciples would end up giving life long, love filled and all inclusive service and worship (as they and we should) to Jesus Christ.  However, even as He did throughout His pre-death life, Jesus, the Risen Lord provided the humble example of serving them first.

Dear brothers and sisters; what are we to take from this?  I believe that we can take great assurance from this interaction with His disciples.  Remember how just a few days earlier, Jesus had prayed for Himself, prayed for His disciples, and then prayed for all of us who would come to believe in Him as well.  Out of His Amazing Love, Jesus will provide abundantly such that our “nets” will be overflowing.  I believe that Jesus stands ready to be in relationship with us; to serve as needed.  But here is an equally vital point for us to understand.  Jesus Christ does this out of Love; Love that is in Him and that He has seen from the Father.  He does not do this because we are deserving of His blessings and service.  Thus we should have no since of pride or entitlement based on Jesus’ actions.

It is critical, for our sake, that our response should be that of humble, total worship and love in return.  Jesus knows that we are not capable of a perfect response.  He knows that our actions in response, even our repentance would be imperfect.  He died to perfect it.  That does not, in any fashion, relieve us from the responsibility, which we should undertake with joy and thanksgiving, to live a life of service and repentance in response.  It is in that life so lived, that we bring the justified praise to the life of Jesus Christ and to the Name of the Father, whose plan Jesus Christ carried out.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that You, the Creator, would consider us, Your Creation.  We are in awe that You not only consider us and our lowly state, but that You sent Your Son to live among us, to provide us the perfect example of service to You and each other.  Through Your Spirit, help us to live out that example of service in our lives; reaching up first to You in all that we do, and then reaching out in service to each other.  That the lives we live would bring praise to You we pray.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

 

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