It’s not easy to live in the immediate aftermath of a Good Friday execution and an Easter resurrection. No surprise then that some of the disciples decide that going fishing is preferable to anything else they might do.
The resurrected Jesus, fresh from the tomb, instructed his followers to return to Galilee, their home district, and to wait for him there. They rushed home no doubt, away from the city back to the countryside again, back to what was familiar and comfortable, but there was no sign of Jesus.
So Peter decides to go back to fishing.
Many over the years have interpreted Peter’s decision here to go back to his day job, as disobedience. A kind of loss of faith. But I’m not so sure. There were some things that simply needed to be done. Hungry people needed to be fed. Money was needed to pay the bills. There could be no hanging around while they waited for the appearance of Resurrection Jesus.
There is a lesson for us here perhaps as we face into the stuff of our lives after the miraculous Easter events. This is not a time for us to sit back and wait, but an opportunity to be active and busy. To do the work that needs to be done. To do that work in obedience to Jesus and to expect results. Even miraculous results. So they fish. And the end result is a huge, miraculous catch. And we learn that situations that begin in a GREAT ABSENCE end in a HUGE ABUNDANCE. The rich catch of fish comes from that dark and seemingly empty lake.
For when they see the resurrected Jesus cooking breakfast for them on the shore after a fruitless night fishing, they obey his command to cast their nets over the other side of the boat, and the waters they previously thought barren now teem with life and sustenance.
It is surely worth noting that Jesus is recognised by them in the midst of the everyday. In this case, cooking breakfast. In obedience to Jesus command they learned to look differently at what they were doing, to try again in a different way. It was then that they recognised the Lord. The resurrected Jesus blesses in the midst of the everyday, the boring and repetitive, the apparently empty, fruitless work done in obedience to him.
Thought for the Day, broadcast on Radio Ulster on Easter Sunday, 16 April 2017