Mornin’ friends and welcome to Sunday School. I hope you’ve come to class today with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.
I know this is a stretch, but I’m going to do my best to make the story recorded in the beginning verses of John, Chapter 21 fit this holiday weekend. So, stay with me please. Here are the facts leading up to this wonderful occasion in the lives of Jesus and His followers.
a) Jesus had been crucified
b) Mary Magdalene discovered the rolled away stone.
c) Peter and John had a 100-yard dash to the tomb and John won - turned and said, "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" to Peter, who made a silly excuse - he'd left his running shoes at home.
d) Jesus, our risen Lord, appeared to Mary, then to the ten disciples, then Thomas and finally to Simon Peter.
e) The reason John wrote this Gospel - “that people may believe and that through believing have life in His name” - is the final verse of Chapter 20. Awesome verse, huh?
Okay, please open your Bibles to John, Chapter 21 - verse 1 reads (in part) . . . er, uh, you DID bring your Bible, right?
“Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias.”
They tell us that the Sea of Tiberias was formerly called the Sea of Galilee - I like saying that word, don't you? Galilee. Feels good just rolling off your tongue. Say it again with me.
All together now?
But its name was changed from Galilee to Tibereas - to honor the head honcho of the Roman Empire. Of course, his closest of friends called him Ti.
But let this be warning to you from this older-than-dirt geezer. If one or more of your friends goes by “Ti,” chances are, his given name is not Tibereas, got that? (That vital bit of info is free this morning. You can thank me later.)
Verse two - check this, please - - -
“. . . Thomas (called Didymus),”
Question: Why would anyone named Thomas be called Didymus? Tom? Yes. Tommy? Sure. Tow-maas, even? Yup. But Didymus? Who ever came up with that one? I wonder how many older brothers his momma must have had to hang that one on that poor little kid. (I don't even what to think what his nickname might have been.)
Years ago - more than I care to remember - ever so often, I’d take my little boat and head out fishing. I’ll have all you golfers and miscellaneous non-fishermen to know that I have scriptural support for that endeavor, thank the LORD! Note verse 3, please.
~ "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they all got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. ~
Those friends of Peter? They broke Fishing Rule #1 and I am not at all surprised that they caught nothing.
Fishing - unlike golf - is a very high and holy calling. No one in their right mind would ever say, “We’re going with you” without an invitation from the #1 lead fisheee. If Simon Peter (S.P.) had invited them? Sure.
However, ever so often, a true fisherman needs to be alone. And I bet this just might have been one of those times for S.P.
He needed to get away - to gather his thoughts - Jesus, his Lord and best Friend had been crucified. After all, Peter had given up his fishing business to follow Him and now Jesus was dead. Or so he thought.
The scene shifts. "Catch" this please. (Sorry about that!)
It’s real early in the a of the m and they’ve been fishing all night.
Please look at verses 4 and 5.
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.
We do not know why they didn’t recognize Him - maybe it was foggy - maybe their minds were groggy from drinking coffee all night - or maybe He didn’t want them to recognize Him - not yet - but I love the way he called them, “Friends.” Don’t you?
Then, Jesus asked them to try the other side of the boat and before they could say “cat fish stink bait stinketh” (King James Version) they had that boat-load of fish they had been talking and dreaming about all night long.
And that morning, there on the sea shore, they had breakfast with Jesus, their risen Lord. What a delightful time that must have been for them.
Fresh fish over an open fire.
Breakfast with Jesus.
Does it get any better than that?
And as He broke the bread, (vs 13) I betcha their minds went back to that Upper Room final dinner with Him.
Now, how does the above incident/story fit into this holiday weekend? Well, it’s very obvious those fishermen had labored all night long.
I’m sorry. That’s the best I can do at this hour.
I sincerely hope you have a super Sunday in Him.
Ps - Isn’t God good?!