My article this week for the Natoma-Luray Independent of the Russell County News.
Easter Triumph, Easter Joy
St. John 21:1-14 recounts how after Jesus’ resurrection the disciples, led by Peter, went fishing. All night they caught nothing, but in the morning they saw Jesus on the shore, and He told them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat, and when they did so, their nets were filled with fish.
The curious thing about this reading is verse 11; which tells us that they caught 153 large fish.
To be honest, that is a strange thing to tell us: 153 fish? The fish are not the point of the reading, Jesus is the point of the reading; and yet the text takes special care to tell us that the nets were not breaking and that they had 153 fish.
Oddly enough, telling us that they caught 153 fish does tell us something about Jesus. It tells us that seeing Him was such a memorable thing, that they remembered the number of fish they caught, even when that might otherwise seem like a strange thing to tell us or when such a matter as the number of fish they caught would be easily forgotten when it is overshadowed by the sight of Jesus.
Seeing Jesus is so memorable for the disciples that they remember everything about the day down to the most obscure detail, including the number of fish that were in the net.
You know what it feels like to be excited about seeing Jesus, where you remember every detail of the occasion, no matter how small it might seem. Perhaps you were alone and particularly depressed one day, and you suddenly felt as though you were not alone, and things began to look up because Jesus was with you. Or maybe you were reading a passage from the Bible and the light suddenly went on, and you saw how that passage was speaking to you at that moment. Or maybe there was a time when you were in church, singing a hymn or listening to the sermon, and your life in Christ suddenly had new meaning to you.
When you see Jesus, you remember not just the event, but even the smallest details of that event such as the chair you were sitting in, the text that was preached, or even the date. They all work together in pointing you to Jesus.
The disciples were not expecting to see Jesus when they went fishing, but when they did, it turned an ordinary day, into an unforgettable day. When Jesus appears to you, whether it is in the Word or in the sacraments, or even in the ordinary occurrences of daily life, it makes the ordinary into the unforgettable. God Bless! Pastor Schmidt