Recognising Jesus (17.04.20)
Updated: Apr 18, 2020
A Bible Reading: John 21:1-4, 12
Afterwards, Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. "I'm going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast."
Why is it that in the gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus, his disciples consistently fail to recognise him? Mary mistook him for the gardener, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus failed to recognise him, and now, by the side of the lake, the disciples again fail to recognise him. Various explanations are given. Maybe Jesus’ resurrection body was in some way different to his earthly body. Maybe Mary was too consumed with grief and not actually looking at him. Maybe God prevented the two on the road to Emmaus from recognising Jesus. Maybe the disciples in the boat were too far away to recognise him. Whatever the reason, behind them all is the fact that none of them expected to meet Jesus where they were.
I wonder how many times we fail to recognise the presence of Jesus with us? Like Mary, do we sometimes get so consumed with our emotions that we fail to hear Jesus calling our name? Do we sometimes get so engrossed in a difficult journey or an awkward conversation that we fail to recognise that Jesus is walking with us? Do we sometimes get so distracted in our work that we fail to notice that Jesus is calling us to stop and to meet with him?
Holy Spirit, give me the spiritual discernment to recognise your voice speaking to me when I am upset, to recognise your presence walking with me through my day and to recognise you calling me to make space in my busyness and to come and eat with you.