Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.

10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn.

12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.  John 21:1-14

So many amazing things took place in Galilee during Jesus’ ministry. By the Sea of Galilee is where Peter and Andrew first encountered Jesus and where they had their first miraculous catch of fish after a night of not even a nibble. On the Sea of Galilee is where Peter walked on water at the invitation of Jesus to step out of the boat. On the Sea of Galilee is where the disciples fretted and Jesus shushed the wind and calmed the storm. In and around Galilee is where Jesus delivered many of his parables and fed the multitudes.

Galilee served as Jesus’ base of operations during his three years of ministry. So, it makes sense that this is where he sent his disciples and told them he would meet them after he defeated death and stepped out of the grave in Jerusalem.

It also makes perfect sense that Peter decided to go fishing – he went back to what he knew, back to his roots.

So, is it any surprise that Jesus chooses this moment to appear to them, at dawn, on the beach, in this familiar place? This is also the third time Jesus appears to his disciples since the Resurrection. Three days in the grave, three times appearing to the disciples.

Fellows, have you caught any fish?

After an entire night of fishing {though I cannot imagine their hearts were truly in the effort}, they have nothing to show for their work. And then, a stranger on the shore suggests they put their nets out on the right side of the boat. The haul is so great they cannot pull in the nets.

That it takes them this long to figure out that the stranger on the shore is Jesus makes me smile. Isn’t it just like Jesus to come along, meet them where they are, duplicate a familiar moment for them, and still, they do not catch on right away? I wonder, has he ever done that with you? Because he sure has with me.

standing on the shore
standing on the shore

But the best part of this passage is that moment of realization: John announces that it’s Jesus and impetuous Peter {who is referred to by the name his parents gave him rather than the one Jesus gave him} immediately jumps into the water and heads for the shore. He makes a beeline to Jesus. Just like the first time they met and Jesus said, Follow me. Just like when Jesus was walking on the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a storm and invited Peter to join him and without hesitation, Peter stepped out of the boat.

If I’m Peter, and trust me, I have been like Peter in too many moments of my life – stepping out of the boat and then sinking, saying I’ll go with Jesus even unto death and then denying him three times in the span of less time than it takes the cock to crow three times, racing to the tomb and seeing it’s empty but still filled with fear and hiding behind locked doors – but if I am Peter, I am jumping out of that boat and getting to the shore as quickly as I can because it’s him.

It’s Jesus. The One I denied. The One who died. The One I need. So, yes, I am jumping in that water and I am thrashing my way to the shore because I need him to myself. I want him to look at me. I want him to let me know we’re okay, he and I. I want him to call me by the name he gave me.

And, lo, what does Peter find on the shore? Breakfast.

Jesus is still serving the ones he loves. He has made them breakfast and he serves it to them. He serves them. He serves Peter. He serves the one who denied him and who is probably wrestling with so many demons in this moment.

Peter served by the resurrected Christ. Isn’t that incredible?

Jesus meets Peter’s need in the moment. Peter has been fishing all night, he is tired and hungry and there stands Jesus, inviting him to join him for breakfast. Peter is going to need the energy of food for what is coming, not only right after the meal, but in the days to come.

So, as you walk through these 40 days, as you go about your work in your Galilee, know that Jesus, the resurrected Christ, knows your needs, both immediate and far-reaching. He knows how to help you catch the fish you didn’t catch on your own even when you were out all night long giving it your best effort. He knows how to equip you for what comes next.

And he knows that you will sometimes need him to be there for you just to be the One who knows you and loves you no matter what.

But more than that, he is the One who knows your heart and your dreams even better than you do. Like Peter, you may think that all you have left is going back to fishing and mending nets. But Jesus has something so much more in store for you. And he will show you if you are willing to heed his request, if you are willing to meet him in your Galilee. Because that’s where he is. That’s where he’s waiting for you.

Where will you be heading from your Galilee? If you don’t know, that’s okay. I don’t think Peter knew what he was going to be asked to do at this point either. Just be willing to cast your net where he tells you and don’t be afraid to  jump out of the boat and splash your way to the shore when you realize he’s standing there waiting for you.

I’m pretty sure he’s got something read for you that you’ll need, don’t you?

So, what is Jesus asking you to do today? Share your thoughts on your Galilee and your dream in the comments. I’d love to walk along the shore with you for a bit.

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