A few pastors came over on Tuesday, December 4 for devotions. Our text was John 21:1-14.
This was a familiar text, the story of the resurrected Jesus meeting the disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and giving them a second “miraculous catch of fish”.
Familiar texts are difficult for me to receive a word from as they are too familiar; I think I know what they say and so I don’t look as hard. Reading in a group often helps overcome this familiarity. One thing that helped overcome it this time was the devotions leader, who said, “No detail seems unimportant to John.” What he meant was that John records a lot of detail that seems superfluous to the “theological” content of the passage. Here those details were Peter’s putting on his clothes and jumping overboard, the disciples struggling to get the catch of fish to the shore, Peter’s rushing back to help them, the number of fish caught (153), etc. After the leader said this, I started looking at these details and realized that the disciples were acting chaotic. Peter was jumping overboard and running around; I imagine the others were criticizing him for abandoning them and he was criticizing them for not being as devoted to Jesus as he was (imagination, to be sure, but not a huge leap based on what we know about the disciples); there was a huge catch of fish and a boat to take care of.
What I really noticed, though, was that Jesus was unaffected by this chaos. The disciples weren’t. They were in the middle of the chaos. They were creating the chaos. They were driven by the chaos. But Jesus was unaffected by that chaos. He stood apart from and above it. He even had His own fish, which He was quietly cooking, and some bread as well (where did those come from? I don’t know; maybe He created them, maybe He got them from some person not recording in Scripture; either way, I bet it is an interesting story). He was moving slowly, calmly, confidently, and was just waiting for the disciples to drop down to His speed so He could speak with them.
What I see in this are three related things: 1) My Lord doesn’t need whatever it is I’m trying to bring Him (again, He had his own fish), 2) My Lord isn’t affected by chaos as I so often am, 3) My Lord is waiting for me to escape the chaos, slow down, and sit with Him. This was a great comfort to me. The truth that my Lord is not as “double-minded” and “tossed back and forth by the waves” (James 1) as I am encourages me with both the understanding of His power and the opportunities His power gives me.
And that’s what I saw on December 4, 2018.