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Lesson 7: Miracles

There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”  

– Mother Teresa

Devotion: Read John 21:1-14. We can appreciate the dilemma the disciples face. Jesus is risen, and they have celebrated his resurrection, but what is their role now?! Their whole world has changed, but they are not sure what to do. So, they do what we all do—they return to the familiar. The fishermen go back to work. 

After three years of following Jesus, with healing, miracles, and empty tombs, they are open to even odd sounding suggestions. Nobody standing on the shore can see where fish are, let alone that they are congregating on one side of a boat rather than the other. But the disciples will try anything. Followers of Jesus need to be open to the voice of God, the movement of the Holy Spirit, to guide us in casting out our nets. Our job is to listen and be led. We do not always need to understand how something works to obey. Are our hearts open to the Spirit when we feel prompted to speak? Will we perform the same actions with grace and humor that have netted no results so far if we hear God say to try again? Is it possible that our “failures” are actually accomplishing something hidden from our eyes? Are we open to obedience to the Spirit when we do not understand or see results?

Personal Worship Option: Read Luke 11:27-28. Through what filters do you run the promptings of God’s Spirit? Some of us ask “will this action I feel led to perform embarrass, cost, hurt, or commit me to a long-term relationship?” What are your filters? What answers cause you to pull back from being obedient to God’s Spirit at work within you?

Dig A Little Deeper:

21:1 This is the only place in the gospels that refers to the Sea of Galilee as the “Sea of Tiberius.” It is the setting for many other powerful moments (Mark 6:32-44; 8:14-21, 66-71). This appearance is considered by many to be the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Mark 14:28; 16:7. 

21:6 Compare this abundance of fish to other, similar passages (Jn 2:6, 3:34, 4:14, 6:11, 7:37, 10:10).  

21:7 The beloved disciple is the first to recognize Jesus, just as he was the first to believe in the resurrection (20:8). The “disciple whom Jesus loved” is not identified, and there are many theories regarding to whom it refers: John, Peter, Lazarus.  

Peter is often presented as impetuous. What are the positives and negatives for faith of such a personality? What are the positives and negatives for faith of being cautious?

21:9 This passage recalls the feeding of the 5000 with loaves and fish (6:9). Since Jesus already has fish on the fire prior to the large catch being brought to shore, his request that they bring fish has been interpreted symbolically as a call to evangelize.

21:11 Because John reports such a specific number of fish are caught, many people believe 153 is intended to be symbolic. However, there is no agreement on what that number might mean. Saint Jerome believed it represents the total number of fish species in the world, symbolically suggesting the church go into the world to evangelize all races (Mt 4:19, 13:47).

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