Sermon Summary for Sunday, April 10th
The Restoration, Rebirth & Resurrection of Simon Peter
In this week’s gospel, John 21:1-19, we find Peter, who has returned to the sea to his former profession as a fisherman. The last time we see Peter is in the tomb when he discovers that Jesus has risen. Why do we find him back in his “old job?” Is he running away from his past? Is he hiding from Jesus? Is he searching for a place where he can “fit in” and forget the past? Jesus tells him that he will deny him three times and Peter does, which sets into motion a series of events that fulfill Jesus’s prophesy. He is crucified, dies and rises from the tomb. One can only wonder how Peter felt after discovering that Jesus had risen from the tomb just three days after dying.
What we know is that Jesus appears to Peter and the group on the shore of the ocean where they have not caught any fish. Jesus, who the men do not recognize, prompts them to cast their nets to the right of the boat and the nets immediately fill with so many fish that they cannot pull the nets in. When Peter sees that the man is Jesus, he puts on his clothes and jumps into the ocean and swims to shore. He is greeted by Jesus who has a fire and food to eat. Why is Peter fishing without clothes? What point is John making with the nakedness of Peter, immersion into the ocean and ultimately the bookending of the crucifixion story with a meal? Could the nakedness of Peter be symbolic of him being born again out of the ultimate forgiveness by Jesus? Could the immersion into the sea be symbolic for Peters baptism and renewal? Is the breakfast meal Jesus has prepared for him on the shore representative of the break in the fast that Peter has endured since the Last Supper? Jesus waits until after Peter is reborn, baptized and fed the holy spirit before he allows him to answer three questions:
John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”
He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep."
With that, Jesus has given Peter his mission.
Respectfully submitted by Floyd Braid