April 22, 2012

posted 20 Apr 2012, 09:10 by C S Paul   [ updated 20 Apr 2012, 09:38 ]
April 22, 2012

Sermon of the Week for Second Sunday After Easter

by Rev. Dr. V. Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil

Subject: "The Miraculous Catch of Fish"

Gospel reading is from John 21:1-14

Gospel Reading:

1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:

2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.

3 "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.

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, Friends, haven't you any fish? No, they answered.

6 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.

7 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.

8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.

9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught."

11 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.

12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.

13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21:1-14)


In today's gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples for a third time after the resurrection at Lake Tiberius, the Roman name for Lake Galilee. The disciples were in a depressed mood because of the horrific events that took place and culminated in the crucifixion of their leader, Jesus Christ. They have returned to Galilee and started their livelihood of catching fish.  

Jesus stood at the shore, observing his disciples. The disciples did not recognize him. They were busy doing their job. They had spent the whole night fishing but got nothing.

Jesus asked them if they have caught any fish. They answered they haven't. Jesus said, "Throw your net out on the right side of the boat and you will catch some." They had no idea who the stranger calling them from the shore was. For some unknown reasons, they followed his instructions and pulled the net back and threw it on the right side of the boat. 

As the Bible says, "When they did that, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. They were astonished at what has had happened and suddenly questioned in their minds who it was calling them. Peter suddenly guessed and said loudly, "It's the Lord."

When Peter found out it was Jesus standing at the shore, he immediately jumped into the water, and made his way to the shore. The disciples followed him on the boat. When they came to the shore, they saw a fire with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus had prepared a meal for them. Jesus invited them to eat.

The lesson in this story is that when we come to the end of our resources, we meet God. When the disciples didn't catch any fish, Jesus came to their aid. They had a miraculous catch of fish. The catch was so large that they could hardly get the net back to the boat. In spite of the pressure on the net, it didn't break or tear. And when they arrived on the shore, Jesus had already prepared a meal for them.

One thought that may surface in every body's mind is: Why couldn't Jesus make all the fish swim over to the other side of the boat and made the disciple's life much easier? If it happened that way, it wouldn't have involved the aspect of those fisherman's "obedience." Jesus did not do it for them. He just tested their obedience. 

Success comes to us when we are willing to listen to others and do what others sometimes say. Obedience is a form of humility. Humility is the willing spirit to obey. Jesus wants us to have humility which is probably the most important virtue one can have in life. 

There are those who won't listen to others because they think they already know it all. They wouldn't want the advise of others. We all need humility and a willing spirit to learn from others.

When everything in life turns out to be a failure, Jesus can make out something out of our failures. He creates fish and bread for those who are hungry. He gives health where there was sickness. He gives strength when there was weakness. He gives life where there was death.

He gives hope where there was despair. He gives forgiveness where there was shame. When we come to the end of ourselves, Jesus brings us to our beginning. History reveals that life is a cycle for everyone.

Each and every family over the years, slides through five different cycles:

1) wealthy man
2) pleasure seeker
3) extravagant
4) poor man
5) hard worker)...and then back to wealthy

Wealth never stays within a family for ever. Life will turn around for those who have little today. It may take the effort of one, two, or even three generations to slide from one cycle to the next.

Whatever kind of failures we experience, no matter how deep it may be, regardless of how many times we all have experienced it, Jesus Christ is able to turn those failures into success, those defeats into victory. Like Peter, victory could be ours today.