Summary: After his resurrection and before his ascension Jesus left some vivid memories for his friends that would sustain them in the future. At the Lake Jesus shows them he is with them, and he will provide for their needs.

The message of Jesus has always divided people, just as Brown, Cameron and Clegg are almost equally divided in today’s up to date General Election Opinion Polls. Those who hated Jesus conspired to have him crucified. He could have avoided it but he took the ultimate hit. For two days his friends were in a deep depression; but on the 3rd day Jesus was raised from the dead, showing us that he has broken through the biggest barrier of all – death itself; and Jesus then spent 40 days appearing to his disciples teaching them more about the nature of God’s kingdom, before ascending into Heaven.

We are now 2 weeks into the 40 days that Jesus dedicated to his final appearances and teachings. He was in the business of creating lasting memories that would be vividly remembered, talked about and later written down by reliable eye witnesses (such as John) and by the physician and historian/biographer Luke.

Today’s Bible reading is packed with meaning, but I want to focus today upon the memories that Jesus was creating in the minds of his disciples – his best friends – and what that means for us; but first let’s hear the Good News according to St. John, chapter 21, verses 1 to 14.

(Read the Bible passage)

After a whole night of fishing the disciples had caught no fish (21:3). Jesus stands at the shore, but the disciples in the boat don’t realise it’s him (21:4). He asks them to cast out their net one more time on the right side of the boat; and when they did so they couldn’t pull the net in because it was so full of fish (21:5-6). Fantastic! A disciple recognises Jesus (21:7), Simon Peter jumps into the water, heading for the shore, followed by the boat pulling the net (21:8). Once they reach Jesus he has prepared a breakfast of bread and fish; and they eat together (21:9-13).

Jesus created some vivid memories and lessons for his friends that day and they are important for us too.

After a long, all-night shift of hard work without reward, Jesus was there on the shore. When we are busy at our work, whatever kind of work that may be – paid or unpaid, employed or voluntary – Jesus is there. We will not always have success, but if we follow the promptings of Jesus, and the maker’s instructions contained in the Bible, we can find fulfilment and achievement in what we do. Now, I know that can be a hard message when the boss is terrible, the pay is awful, and the conditions are dingy, but under the direction of Jesus our work will take on a new meaning, and there will be times when Jesus will say the equivalent of, “[Cast your net over there and you will find what you are looking for]” (21:6). Perhaps you’re toiling away and need to hear Jesus speaking to you. If you ask then I believe he will speak, although it may not be what you want to hear!

Jesus created some vivid memories and lessons for his friends that day and they are important for us too.

When the disciples reached the shore Jesus was already cooking fish over a fire and he had bread with him (21:9). He had already begun to provide for their needs! Some of 153 newly caught fish were also cooked, and Jesus shared bread and fish with each of them. Even while they had been toiling away, working hard without success, Jesus had begun to provide for their needs; I believe he does that for us too. If you’re here this morning and you’ve got clothes to wear and shoes on your feet; if you’ve had clean water to drink and food to eat this morning then God has been providing for your needs, just as Jesus did for his friends. He created some vivid memories – such as the number of fish caught after Jesus intervened – 153! He was there at the end of a long shift; he shared his food, and sat with his disciples. After he was gone, his disciples knew he was still with them.

But where is Jesus now? Where is he now that we can’t see him? His disciples knew he was with them always, even as they worked and when they ate food; but what about us? What about you?

A book that I’ve enjoyed reading to my daughter is called, ‘Where is Jesus?’ - By Alan and Linda Parry. There were 18 used copies available on Amazon when I looked this morning!

(Read the book)

Let’s pray together.

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