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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, April 7

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing."
—John 21:1-3

This is the beginning of a great story. After Peter pronounces that he is going fishing, the others decide to go, too. We are not told what kind of mood they are in, but it isn't hard to imagine. Their beloved leader, the one whom they thought was the Lord, has been crucified in Jerusalem. They are flat, defeated. Most of them are fishermen anyway, so they might as well go back to business as usual.

They fish all night without catching anything, but just after dawn they see a man on the beach and hear him call to them, telling them where to throw their nets. They oblige, and haul in a net full of fish. One of them screams, “It is the Lord!” and another, Simon Peter, jumps into the water fully clothed and heads to shore. It is Jesus there, waiting for them. He has made a charcoal fire, and is cooking fish over the coals.

They have that First Breakfast by the Sea of Galilee, the very place where many of them had been called by Jesus to follow him. Peter, who had denied the Lord three times, is singled out, but not for a scolding.  Instead, Jesus tells Peter to “feed my fish.” Headstrong, impetuous Peter must have been on the verge of tears as his beloved Master and friend sends him forth on a whole new path. His life, his dream has been restored.

The Bible is overflowing with stories. The problem is that we often hear them read to us or preached about, but never TOLD to us. Recently, I was blessed with just such an experience. I heard renowned scholar and writer Phyllis Tickle tell a story. She did not stand in the pulpit, she did not read from the Bible, she did not preach a sermon.  She told a story.

The people who heard her on the two days she spoke said they had not been so touched, so moved in years. Over and over, I heard people say, “No one has told me a story like that since I was a child. I loved it. I long for more.”

Gracious God, you create us in your image, and we long to know more about you. Grant us the wisdom to seek out the stories of our faith, to listen to stories about our history with you. And, if it is your will, help us to tell the story ourselves.  Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.