5th Sunday of Easter May 15, 2022
188, 200, 203, 199
Hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) unless otherwise noted
+ In the Name of Jesus Christ +
Prayer of the Day: O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Having rescued your faithful people from the peril of everlasting death, grant us perpetual gladness and eternal joys; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
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. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. (NIV)
Grace and Peace to You in the Name of Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ:
What did you have for breakfast this morning? Cereal? Bacon and eggs? Oatmeal with lots of butter and brown sugar? That’s one of my favorites. Of course, maybe you’re one who usually skips breakfast. But if you did have breakfast, with whom did you have it? Your brother or sister? Your Mom or Dad? Your husband or wife?
Let me ask you this: Did you have breakfast with Jesus this morning? Yes, of course, He was there. Didn’t He say: “I am with you always”? But what I’m asking is did you make the conscious and deliberate effort to start your day with Him?
In this Easter season we take special time to celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive. Our Lord rose bodily from death; but do we always recognize that the Risen Savior is a living presence in our day to day lives?
This morning we join the Living Lord for breakfast. As we do, we want to make this very important and obvious point that perhaps we sometime forget. It’s simply this: CHRIST IS ALIVE IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE!
Our text brings us to a time sometime between Easter and Ascension, sometime during the forty days in which Jesus appeared many times to His disciples. Seven of the disciples are together somewhere by the Sea of Galilee. Peter, ever the man of action, is restless. He decides, “I’m going out to fish!” It sounds like a good idea to the rest. “We’ll go with you,” they say.
Remember, Peter, James and John are professional fishermen. They’ve been around the lake a few times, and they know that nighttime is the best time for catching fish. With our mind’s eye we can see them throwing their nets over the side of the boat, letting them sink, and hauling them back in. Over and over again they cast their nets into the water, pull them in, and toss them back out. But what did they get for all their hard work? Nothing. Nothing, that is, but stiff backs, sore muscles, and a lot of frustration. They’re skunked. Their nets are empty.
After a long, hard night, morning finally dawns and with bleary eyes they notice someone standing on the shore. It’s Jesus, only they don’t recognize Him. He calls out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” Jesus knows they didn’t catch anything. He asks the question to make them think. It’s as if to say: “Now why do you suppose it is that you don’t have any fish? Why are you all worn out with nothing to show for it? Did you forget to bring ‘Someone’ along with you who could have helped?”
It’s like if your wife sends you to the store with the pointed reminder to make sure you don’t forget the list she carefully made out for you. You, of course, rush out the door with the list still on the kitchen table. You come back with only half the needed items. She greets you at the door with the list in her lovely hand, saying, “Did you forget something?” The implication being, of course, you forgot something. If you would have taken the list as instructed, you wouldn’t have had to go back to the store to get what you forgot.
Whether the disciples got the point or not, we don’t know, other than that they have to admit: “No, we didn’t catch anything.” But Jesus comes to their rescue. “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they give it a try. Imagine the expressions on their faces when, half-awake, they almost get pulled headfirst into the water. What a catch! So many fish that they can’t pull the net into the boat. Later on we hear that the total count is 153 large fish!
Finally, John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, puts two and two together. Taking another look at the stranger on the shore, he exclaims, “It is the Lord!”
Well, of course, it’s the Lord. Who else could it be but Jesus?
So what’s the lesson? Is the lesson that we should not forget to ask Jesus to bless our fishing trips? Yes! But, of course, it’s more than that. Jesus is alive! He’s not rotting away in some grave. He lives, and He wants to be a living part of each and every aspect of our lives. Jesus loves you. He lives for you. He wants to help you and bless you in your work life, your school life, your married and family life, your dating life, your financial life, your witnessing life, your physical life, your thought life, your spiritual life, your eternal life. You name it. He wants to teach you how greatly He can fill the nets of our lives when He is an active part in everything. Yes, sometimes He allows things like hardship and heartache to fill the nets of our lives. But those are blessings, too, coming from the hand of the One Who knows exactly what we need and when we need it.
We don’t always remember how very much alive Jesus is in our everyday lives. Let’s ask ourselves, when we begin the day do we turn to Him and say, “Lord, I need you! I need you to be with me today and help me!” Do we take the time to read His precious Word every day? When we have a question or an issue at work, at home, at school, when something frightens us, when our sins torment us, when Satan tempts us, do we look for answers in His perfect Word?
How very sad it is when we try to fight our own battles, when we make decisions without Him, when we try to deal with our sins with excuses or by blaming others, when we live as though He were still in the grave. Friends, shame on us! Yes, we’re sinful creatures, but shouldn’t we know better by now?!
Jesus is alive! The Risen Lord who came with a blessing to His disciples that day on the shores of Galilee is the very same one with you today! He’s the one who shed His blood for wretched sinners like you and me so that our sins are removed as far as east is from west. He’s the one who has swallowed up death and spit it out so that your body will be raised and you can spend eternity in heaven with Him. He’s the One Who, at the Father’s right hand, comes to your defense whenever you sin. He’s the Almighty One, Who governs all things for the benefit of His redeemed and baptized people. Jesus is alive and He’s there for you each and every day of your life.
There’s a humorous old story about two young boys, brothers, who were placed in a reform school. Well, they got into some trouble, and were hauled to the headmaster’s office. For a long time the stern, old headmaster stared at the two with hard, penetrating eyes. Wanting to put the fear of God into the two young delinquents, he finally broke the silence with an ominous question. He said, “Where is God?” At this the older brother looked at the younger and said: “Wouldn’t you know it. They’ve lost God, and they’re trying to pin it on us!”
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, “Where is God…in my life?” “Where is His Word in my day-to-day activities” The God-man Jesus is our very best Friend. He loves us so much! In love He asks, “Haven’t you any fish? Are there some empty areas in your life that I could help you with?”
What the hymn writer says is so true:
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart!
When you sit down to breakfast tomorrow morning, remember your Living Jesus is right there at the table with you, and He’s just aching to spend the day with you and to bless you in every way! AMEN!
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.