(My final blog through the gospel John)
October 14, 2016
I find myself standing at the beautiful Sea of Tiberias. Seven of the disciples are there. They have gone ‘back to work in the darkness’ as Simon Peter said, “I’m going out to fish.” They joined him in the daily task of providing a living and I must say, I find myself smiling as they catch nothing . . . during the night. No, I’m not smiling because they caught no fish that night. Instead, because I see the play of night and day, of darkness and light once again here in John’s gospel. Granted, much of the fishing occurred at night in those days. Cooler temperatures and such, but there is also the spiritual nuance of revealing that while man is in darkness, Jesus comes bringing Light. Therefore, when does Jesus show up? When does Jesus reveal Himself to the disciples? At the sunrise (v. 4). Jesus calls them “children” (v. 5) and offers them an invitation to express their faith by casting their nets ‘on the other side of the boat.’ Another sign for them to believe that Jesus is there for them, that He will provide for them, and lead them into an abundant life of being fishers of men.
Ever wonder about that number of fish? 153 fish were caught. It could simply be a large number of fish. Or, it might be reflective of the miracle in the sense that the number 153 is quite an interesting #. Search for Curious Properties of 153 on the web and you will see some interesting characteristics, such as it is the smallest number which can be expressed as the sum of cubes of its digits; the sum of digits of 153 is a perfect square, and more. Perhaps the amazing significance of this number is, according to an article on biblestudy.org, Jesus directly blessed a total of 153 people in 48 separate incidents.
More important than the actual number 153, the ministry of Jesus comes to His disciples to say, live in the Light. Jesus restores Peter as three times He asks Peter if he loves Him (vv. 15-19). Notice, there are nuances in Jesus’ words which I won’t go into detail here. But with each of His invitations, and after each of Peter’s affirmative responses, Jesus tells Peter to Feed His Sheep. For every time Peter denied Jesus, Peter was restored and invited to participate in the ministry of Light and Love. For every time Peter said he didn’t know Jesus, that he wasn’t one of His disciples, Jesus offered Him mercy and grace so that Peter would not live a life in darkness. For a cool song about this, check out Steve Camp, For Every Time.
The final account in John’s gospel reveals, once again (I believe), a little tension between him (John) and Peter. Jesus basically tells Peter not to be concerned with John’s future but to be concerned with his own and to follow Him. I also find it interesting that this account in the gospel refers to an event back during the Last Supper (v. 20). Furthermore, the famous painting of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci taps into this as well. In the painting you’ll see the figure to the left of Jesus (on His right) as being John, leaning against Peter, who holds a knife in his hand (remember what happened in the Garden?). Keep in mind John, the youngest disciple, one Jesus loved and cared for, was painted by da Vinci in a soft, gentle manner, with long hair, softer skin, and no beard. Again, he was young. If you are familiar with author Dan Brown’s fictional book, The da Vinci Code, it states that John’s figure in the painting is actually Mary Magdalene. Yes, the figure is feminine looking, but we see biblical evidence that the one leaning back upon Peter is actually John and I trust da Vinci used this truth in Scripture as part of his painting. Granted, Dan Brown wrote an intriguing book that was a best seller; however, the Truth of Jesus, the miracles He performed, the ministry He fostered with His disciples, these and more made for the ultimate best-selling book, the Bible, because God is the author. Through His people He reveals still today the story of Life, Light and eternal benefits. For this I’m grateful to read, study, and ponder while seeking God in prayer and gaining strength to live for Him.
As I wrap up this 21-Day challenge of working through the gospel of John, I’m chuckling to myself. Why? Because I’m wrapping this blog up at 6:15 A.M. Just before sunrise. J Let the light come! I’ve been blessed in this journey through the gospel of John. If you’ve read through it, I pray you have too.
PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for Your Son Jesus, in whom I have eternal, abundant life, to which I’m connected to, even today. As I await my final day on earth, help me to live daily in Your Light of Love and testify to Your good work. Bless my family and friends and all who’ve read my words. May they be lead closer to and deeper in Your Word to know You and the One You have sent. In His name I pray. Amen.