Easter 3 St Petri 14/04/2013
Text: (John 21:1-14)
Big events are important change points in our lives
Lots of preparation in the lead-up
Everything leads to vintage in the wine industry – the whole year’s work, planning, energies, all is focussed on producing an enjoyable & saleable wine at the end.
Also Christmas, Easter – whole seasons of Advent and Lent leading up the main event.
Aftermath is often a kind of deflating experience
Marriage doesn’t always continue at the excitement levels of the wedding day.
Anticipation of a birthday or a date or a trip often turns out to be better than the reality!
And yet what comes after is often more important than the lead-up or the actual big event – how a couple grow their relationship over time is much more important than what the dress looks like on the wedding day.
What comes after Easter?
Back to normal life
Peter goes fishing.
Back to what he knows best, the familiar, the tried & true.
Or does he simply not know what to do next – marking time?
Or is he recovering from the disappointment of Jesus’ failure to establish a new kingdom? An escape from the harsh realities of life.
It doesn’t work – no fish – he can’t even get that right.
An encounter with Jesus
Jesus is in fact alive – they had already met him.
They don’t recognize him at first – why not? Perhaps he’s not where they expect to find him.
God is in heaven ruling the world, not cooking a BBQ, in church, not at the Vintage Festival.
But he knows them – starts a conversation with them, engaging them where they are.
Life after Easter always involves a meeting with Jesus in the real world.
This is happening at this very moment.
Free to try something new
The fish are on the other side of the boat? Doesn’t make sense.
They try it anyway – why? Well, why not? They can’t do any worse than before.
We are not condemned to repeat our past mistakes.
We can try something new after Easter… try a new recipe that you have never cooked before… try not biting back when someone says something that annoys you… try talking to a stranger at church… try inviting someone to dinner… try showing kindness to someone who has hurt you. It might not make any difference, but it’s worth a try.
You never get new results by doing the same thing.
Resurrection life has power to change things.
On the other side of the boat, the fish come swarming in without tearing the nets – all 153 varieties!
John now recognizes Jesus – who else could have achieved this transformation of their dismal night?
Jesus offers to cook breakfast – invites them to a meal, and this is where transformation begins – not just shared food, but shared relationship.
He uses part of their catch – draws in their contribution, even if it was his gift to them in the first place – he reaffirms their work, their normality
Insights for us in that – what is the contribution from you that Jesus wants to invest in?
After Easter, Jesus also transforms us as people
He forgives Peter – 3 times to undo the 3-fold denial.
Not comfortable for Peter, but liberating.
Forgiveness frees and empowers people.
The shared meal empowers Jesus’ people.
As we share in the sacrament – he imparts resurrection life to us.
More amazing – he commissions Peter – entrusts to him leadership and ministry.
This is new life for Peter, even though death is there.
Every Sunday we gather here, on the first day of the week, on the day Jesus defeated death, not just to recognize that this risen Jesus is our God, not just to praise and thank him, not just to take a pause from the hectic round of our daily, but crucially to receive resurrection life for a new week.
We become new people.
New life in the normal
Yes, tomorrow we go back to school, back to work, or maybe back to holidays, back to the joys and challenges of life in a family and a community.
Normal life is transformed because we are new people.
You have in fact been raised from death to new life – that’s the whole meaning of baptism.
Things only stay the same if you insist on it.
You take yourself wherever you go, you can’t escape yourself, but resurrected people don’t need to escape.
Normal life is transformed
Your work is no longer just a means of filling your day or earning a living, but becomes a means, in Jesus’ hands, of transforming the world.
Translate that for yourself into the other aspects of your daily life.
This newness is real and lasting
You are now free from the power of death – that makes you free indeed.
New relationship with Jesus.
New relationship with your family, your neighbours, your congregation.
New relationship with yourself.
New faith, new confidence, new courage.
New relationship with life.
That newness and freedom are real – the Triune God calls you into a partnership to help transform the world, and God wants to know how you would like to do that.
You can be creative – everything is new, and there are literally millions of ways to live well in this resurrection life.
There’s only one wrong way…… but we’ll talk a bit more about that next Sunday.
Pastor Graham Harms