It seems, at times, that we are alone. The situations in our lives have played out and we think we know the ending. I’m assuming that’s how Mary Magdalene felt as she stood weeping outside the tomb. Alone and disappointed. And then…he was there. Jesus appeared…looking somewhat different than she remembered, or expected. And likewise, the disciples felt abandoned and alone inside their locked doors and self-induced seclusion. And yet, Jesus appeared, twice, to his beloved disciples to remind them that they are not alone. Slowly, at least some of the disciples begin to emerge from their seclusion and they return to their pre-Jesus lives as fishermen.
READ: John 21:1-13
Finally…Simon Peter worked up the courage, either out of confidence, hope, or boredom to go fishing! But even as that first day back on the water drew to a close, they yielded no catch. A long, probably uncomfortable, questioning night that thankfully came to an end with daybreak. They heard a fatherly voice from the shore: “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They didn’t know who it was, but it was a voice that seemed to understand something about them. Then, the voice gave them advice…the advice that they didn’t even know that they needed. The voice told them to put their nets out to the right side of the boat. They were in the right waters, but were approaching it the wrong way. When they obeyed and saw how much fish they caught, the Person behind the voice was revealed. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved knew it first! It was Jesus! And true to form, the impulsive Peter jumped into the water to get to his Lord first of all!
Jesus was there…on the shore all along. I even wonder if he was there the day before in their frustration of a day without a catch. Was he there waiting and hoping that they would notice him? Was he there ready to offer advice, if only they would ask? And then, that second morning, he spoke, only they didn’t know it was him. It was after they obeyed his voice, and saw that it was trustworthy, did they see that he was actually there all along.
Are there times when you are discouraged? Do you think that you’re fishing in the right waters, but things aren’t yielding the result that you’re expecting, that you’re praying for, that you know should happen? Is it possible that Jesus is there, all along?