Simon Peter said to them “I’m going out to fish” and they said, ‘We’ll come with you.’ So, they went to the lake and took the boat. But all through the night they didn´t catch anything. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. (The Gospel of John 21:3 + 4)
The dream was finished. Jesus has been crucified, he died, and he had been buried. And with Jesus´ death, the hope of the disciples has died and was buried as well. Their hope, that something new and great was about to begin. The hope that the world could become different. Could become better, more just. So what to do? Peter sees quite realistically what must be done and had priority now: To go back to work again. There is no alternative to this. There will be no more miraculous multiplication of bread. Jesus will never turn water into wine again. So what to do? Start to work again! Secure existence! Return to everyday life. The Jesus` dream was over!
"When a dream dies, nothing is worse than the sense of loss and the fear of not knowing if anything will ever replace that dream" (James B. Scott). In front of my eyes, I can see Peter and the others standing in the boat, silent, their thoughts still with Jesus and full of grief over his death. It is the night of mourning and hopelessness. It is the night of futile labor. They seem to be paralyzed by the fear of the many nights still to come. It is the fear of the futility of life.
But suddenly Jesus is standing on the shore. The risen Christ is there! Jesus has overcome death. He lives. He lives imperishably, eternally. Death could not hold him. Death has no power over him. But the disciples were not yet ready to realize what had happened. They were still living in the past! The future is only slowly dawning like a fresh new morning when the sun finally rises over the horizon.
And what does Jesus do? He first brings his people back into his presence. He picks them up where they are right now in their life´s crisis. He asks them about a breakfast, "Children, don't you have anything to eat?" Jesus doesn't give a long sermon about death and resurrection. The resurrected Lord Jesus simply asks what his children lack right now. He addresses them as “Children”. For He cares for them like a father, like a mother. He knows what these men need now after this long, desolate night.
After this he lets them experience concretely that he is risen and alive. He shows them all his love and care on that Easter morning. He asks them to cast the nets once again, as they did some time ago. And again, the miracle repeats itself: they catch a huge number of fish again. And finally: They realize who is standing in front of them: Jesus, the risen Lord! So Jesus heals their pain. Jesus heals the wounded souls and takes them back into his community. He is and will always remain with them. That is Easter!
The risen Christ knows our terrified nights and our unanswered questions. He knows our doubts and hopelessness. But He picks up each one of us right where we are now. He takes us into His loving presence. He cares for us like parents’ care for their children. Jesus lives and is very close to us, even if we cannot see Him. But he is only a prayer away. He asks how we are doing. And we may tell him. We have reason for joy and gratitude that he hears us! HE wants to help!
For Peter, this encounter with the risen and eternally living Lord Jesus Christ results into a turning point in his life. That dark and meaningless night will no longer repeat itself. Peter becomes a "fisher of men". Peter is commissioned to build the church. The fisherman disheartened and in despair becomes a passionate Jesus-man.
Does the joy of the resurrection also touch your heart? I wish it to you that you may experience the joy of Easter!
I kindly invite you for a prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, you have overcome death and brought incorruptible life. Like the rising sun after a long and dark night, the light of life dawns with you. I thank you for seeing me. I am glad that you ask for me. I thank you that you love me. Fill my heart with your peace and your Easter joy. Fill my heart with your divine light.
We pray with all Christians for peace in this world. Overcome hate and death by your presence. We pray for an end to violence in Ukraine. We pray that the weapons will be silenced, and that mercy will prevail. Have mercy on every person who suffers. Restore humanity to petrified hearts. Have Mercy on all of us. Amen.
Thank you for joining me. God bless you in spirit, soul, and body.