Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
John 21:7 NIV
This painting is a reflection of one of my all time favorite passages of scripture. Jesus, having resurrected from the cross, is standing on the shore of the lake with a fire started and breakfast cooking for his friends. One of the first things that Love did was make breakfast! What a glorious breakfast that would be!
The disciples have come up completely short as they tried to turn back to what they knew how to do. The last three years of learning from Jesus, healing the sick, and ministering to those on the margins had come to an abrupt end, and they must’ve figured that fishing was the next best thing they could do.
If I were one of the disciples and this man had been shouting, almost taunting me from the shore as I came up with empty net after empty net, I would most likely be frustrated and down on myself as they were. Jesus was gone, their days as disciples and healers were over, and now they couldn’t even fish!
But then, something beautiful happens. One of the disciples shouts out that he recognizes the man as Jesus. Impulsive, denying, sword swinging Peter tosses on his outer garment and dives to swim for shore. At the moment he realizes that Jesus is alive, that everything he had devoted his life to was not lost. His rabbi was alive, the Messiah had risen!
There are times in our lives when things seem lost. The beautiful truth is that sometimes all it takes is to catch a glimpse of Jesus, maybe even to be reminded of his presence through a friend or family member (thank goodness for the Johns of the world that can point out Jesus in our lives when they see Him) to turn a season of empty nets into breakfast with our Lord and savior!
I hope and pray that we could all find the passion and excitement to jump out of the boat and swim with all of our might to the shore where Jesus is standing, searching, calling out to us to once again drop our nets and live in relationship with him.
Who is your John? What is keeping you in the boat? How can you point out the presence of God to the people around you so that they might dive in, leave it all behind, and seek to be in relationship with the Lord forever and always?
Shalom, Y’all –