5/7/2019 2:00:11 PM
Reflection: A Moment of Recognition
Posted under: Commentary New Testament John
Have you ever been heckled by Jesus? That's an odd question because we usually see heckling as something negative. When someone interrupts our speaking as a way to troll, attack, or harass us, that kind of heckling is unwanted, unnecessary, and unChristian. But there is a different kind of heckling that, even unintentionally, ends up distracting us. I bet many of us have had situations where our train of thought was derailed by another person. If you've spent any time around young children, you know what it is like to have your serious thought interrupted by someone noticing the color of your shoes or wondering what unicorns eat. This kind of heckling might feel like a disrespectful interruption. But, in some cases, it really isn't. Rather, it's a reminder that the person we're communicating with isn't only here to receive the words we say. Rather, we are in a relationship that requires our give and take.
When Jesus talked to the disciples (John 21:1-19) while they were in the boat, they had no idea who he was. The disciples, after meeting Jesus in the locked room, had returned to everyday life. They sail onto the Sea of Tiberius (aka Sea of Galilee) in a small 15 foot boat and fish all night long. The work was exhausting, dirty, and everyone got wet. It was normal to work naked or only in your skivvies. After a busy night, the dawn comes and they have nothing. They see a man cooking breakfast on the seashore and the man called out to them, wondering what they caught. The disciples, I assume, were probably feeling a little defeated. They knew they worked hard and had nothing to show for it. Without any fish, they might not have food for breakfast or anything to sell in the marketplace. They might have been dwelling in the defeat of a worthless night. Jesus' question could be considered a kind of heckle, a reminder of their failure. They could have reacted badly to Jesus' question. They could have rejected his invitation for them to try again. But, for some reason, they don't. They toss their nets into the sea one more time and, this time, everything changed.
When the disciples finally arrived on shore, they noticed Jesus cooking breakfast. On a charcoal fire was bread and fish. Jesus had no need for any of the fish the disciples had caught. Instead, Jesus already had everything they needed. When our train of thought is interrupted by a heckle we didn't expect, we are invited to pay attention. The word we receive might be exactly what we need to hear to get out of our own head and notice the relationship of love, grace, and abundance that is already around us.
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