93 – Appearance in Galilee
Where: Sea of Galilee
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The Apostles and disciples that had traveled from Bethany, Judea, arrived in Galilee by Monday April 17. Some went to Capernaum and others went back to Bethsaida. Over the next two weeks all went about reorganizing their lives. They began to work in order to support themselves and their families. They attended synagogue on the Sabbath. They met as often as they could, trying to make sense out of the last two and a half years. But they lacked a guide, a goal, and a vision. Everything they had believed depended on the person and leadership of Jesus.
But on Saturday night, following the Sabbath of May 4/5, the Apostles Peter [Andrew had decided to stay in Jerusalem], James and John, Thomas and Nathaniel, and two other disciples, went out fishing on the lake. Thomas and Nathanael were working for Peter rather then living in Cana, in order to be near each other. They had spent the night fishing in hopes of selling them at the morning fish market. But they had wasted their time. They had caught nothing that they could sell.
When they sailed southwest from the delta of the upper Jordan River, where they had been fishing, they went past Capernaum. They needed to clean and repair the nets, so when they were past Capernaum they came to the cove where they had often done this work, and where Jesus had taught the crowds from the boat [model].
It was almost half an hour after sunrise when they arrived off the shore of the cove. As they approached the shore, they saw a man on the beach waving at them. They did not recognize the man, but he did not appear threatening. Maybe he just wanted some fresh fish. Sounding disappointed, the man called out loudly, ‘You didn’t catch anything did you?’
Peter was frustrated. Here was easy money, but they had nothing to sell. Peter answered that they had no fish for sale and then went back to the task of bringing his boat safely to rest.
But the stranger cupped his hands around his mouth, spoke loudly, and suggested, ‘If you want to catch fish, then cast your nets off the boat toward the rising sun.’ Peter furrowed his brows. That sounded familiar. So he decided that it would do no real harm to try.
As they began to draw in the net, they found that they had captured a large school of fish. The net was filled to capacity. When John became aware of the “chill going up his spine”, he looked at the stranger and said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ Peter again looked at the stranger, remembered another large catch of fish, and agreed with John. Peter quickly put on his tunic, tucked it in, jumped into the water, swam and waded to shore. While he waded to shore the others on the boat finished bringing in the fish and brought the boats in to shore.
There, already prepared, was some bread and fish. The Christ wanted Peter to remember this catch, and so asked Peter to get some more fish for breakfast. Peter had to count them first so that later each man got his share of the profits from the sale. Peter was surprised that there were 153 large fish (he did not count the small ones that would not sell) and yet the net had held them all without breaking [The Church would hold people from all over the world and yet would not be destroyed]. The Christ, and the Apostles and disciples, ate their fill of fish and bread next to the Sea of Galilee where, to the south, the 5000 Jews had been fed, and, to the east, the 4000 Gentiles had been fed.
After breakfast, The Christ went walking alone with Peter. The Christ talked as they walked. God had granted The Christ full authority. Now it would be the mission of the Apostles to go to ALL nations and offer them the same opportunity that God had offered to them. To become aware of their sin, to ask for forgiveness, to repent, to be baptized into God’s family, and to become disciples of the kingdom.
As Peter and The Christ sat down on the hill just north of the cove, and overlooking the lake, The Christ continued to instruct Peter. ‘You Apostles and disciples must teach these new brothers and sisters what I have taught you,’ said The Christ, ‘to live by faith, and to serve God and love our neighbor, and thus live as a new family. Remember, I will always be with you in spirit.’
Then The Christ looked Peter in the eye. There were some things that Peter needed to understand. But first Peter had to come to understand that he was to be a leader, and would need a vision of the future.
‘Peter, do you love serving God more than you love those people?’ asked The Christ. Peter thought for a moment. ‘Yes, I love God more’, he said. The Christ responded, ‘Then it will be your job to feed the spirits of these leaderless lambs.’ To which Peter responded, ‘I will.’
But The Christ asked Peter again, ‘Are you sure?’ and Peter responded immediately, ‘Yes, I am sure.’
Yet, after a quiet pause, The Christ asked Peter, ‘Do you understand what I am asking?’ This brought back to Peter’s mind the three times he had denied knowing Jesus. ‘Lord’, Peter said, ‘you can be very sure if it.’ The Christ pressed the point. ‘Even if it means that you will ultimately follow me in every way?’ he asked. Without a moments hesitation, and with a very serious look on his face, Peter responded, ‘Yes Lord! In every way!’
The Christ and Peter sat together in the morning sun for a while. Peter noticed that John was walking toward them. Peter knew that John was strong in the faith. ‘What about him?’ asked Peter, nodding toward John. ‘That is not your concern’, said The Christ. ‘He and I will work out his life.’
Then The Christ was gone. After some thought, Peter realized that The Christ had made it his responsibility to help the Apostles and disciples to form a new family and a new community, such as Jeremiah had spoken of.
To form that community, the Apostles and disciples needed to go back to Jerusalem immediately. There they would meet together with the Apostles and disciples who had remained there. And so they prepared to leave for the journey south. They would plan to leave in the morning of Tuesday, the 8th of May.
No questions have been asked yet.