Life Journal (8/19/2015) – Missing Jesus

Scripture      John 21:4-8

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.



  • Interesting how many significant moments occur near dawn (the Resurrection, this scene as timed in verse 4)
  • Not knowing the resurrected Jesus also common!
  • Jesus knows they have caught nothing (vs. 5) and enables a miraculous catch of fish in response to their lack of success (vs. 6)
  • The disciple whom Jesus loved recognizes him (John – vs. 7) – but does Peter? Or does he know it is Jesus because John has said so?


Seeing Jesus can be difficult. Especially when he doesn’t look or act or appear as we expect. In the stories of Jesus’ resurrection (including this one), the witnesses don’t know it is Jesus to whom they are speaking immediately. It is a little unclear in the stories how those present come to realize that it is the risen Jesus but they do eventually come to that realization. Some seem more perceptive than others. Or perhaps more open to this different Jesus who is the same Jesus too? John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) who believed in yesterday’s reflection also recognizes him here and seems to point the way to understanding for Peter and the rest.

One of my childhood memories was of my dad reading the newspaper after dinner. He was not easily distracted from this daily ritual! You could speak to him and he might even respond… but he didn’t hear. I used to say you could run naked through the living room or catch the room on fire and he wouldn’t immediately notice because he was so engrossed in his reading.

Perhaps I am not so different (well I know I am not!) when it comes to the Risen Lord? I am so focused on where I want or expect him to be that I miss his work elsewhere. Worse yet, I may complain or grumble at his absence because he hasn’t acted in the parameters I’ve set or in ways that my filter won’t mute.


Risen Lord, may I see you today. Surprise me as you did the disciples on the beach long ago. Forgive me when I grumble at your absence when you are in fact right in front of me. Forgive my narrowness of spirit that so hems you in that I miss out on so much of you and your work. May I feast on the abundance you spread and the fish that come even when I don’t recognize the bringer of the goodness and the source of the abundance – you. Amen.

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