I love that in many translations of this Gospel text from John 21:1-14, the Lord addresses His followers as children. It is as if, now that He is the resurrected Christ, Jesus has more of the perspective of the Father.
With my belief in a Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – I get that Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus. But to address the disciples as children to me means that He is using a term of endearment for His special ones, the first to sacrifice everything and follow Him. They don’t even know yet how huge their sacrifice will be.
And, once again, they do not recognize Jesus initially. And once again, as the patient One, beyond what they deserve, Jesus gently, gradually brings them along. This is the third time He has appeared and I think, quite believably and understandably, they are all still in awe. Jesus is raised from the dead! That is not an every day occurrence for anyone, then or now.
So their shyness and hesitation with Jesus makes sense to me. I love that God calls us His children. I love that we can respond to His love and mercy as if He is our parent. Their actions in this account are all very childlike, as well. And, at the end of it, Jesus is feeding them. He feeds them with some fish and bread He has inexplicably in this narrative brought with Him. He is providing for them before He even speaks with them. And then He asks them to bring some of the fish that they have caught to add to the fire. Perhaps He did not have enough with Him for everyone. But that was alright because He knew the disciples would be providing the rest from the large catch they’d bring in.
I love that Jesus allows the disciples to participate in His generosity and kindness. He asks us to participate still. He could do it alone. But He doesn’t want to because He knows that’s not best for us. Being given everything without any effort on our part makes us lazy and ingrates. Working with God gives us compassion and appreciation and joy.
As parents we have to teach our children that hard work is worth it for any goal they hope to attain and truly appreciate. God our Father is no different toward His children, though it is on a much more global scale. Or at least a much more crucial scale. He wants us to be as thoughtful and merciful as He is. He wants us to be as little children in that we are trusting that God’s in control. Kids don’t worry when they trust their mom or dad. Whether children, sitting in the backseat of the car as their parent drives somewhere or it’s depending on their parents to make wise decisions for everyone’s well-being, ideally children simply trust. That’s how we should be with God.
Let’s pray to be more childlike in our trust and belief in what God promises us. Even if our parents weren’t always able to fulfill the promises they made to us, often due to circumstances beyond their control, we know that God always will.
And what did He promise? That He’d be with us always and that He went ahead to prepare a place for us. He promises His peace and that He loves us so much that that’s why He gave us His only Son to bring us everlasting life.
Brothers and sisters, let us pray…