A new vocation

Week 7 – Easter Day

Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord.


John 21.1-19

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

After these things 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.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

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 lake. 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.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, ‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’ So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast.’ Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Jesus and Peter

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’


Resurrection is hard to believe. It was much easier for the disciples to return to something solid, concrete and familiar, life as they knew it – fishing. It is hard to know what to do with something completely new. What did they talk about as they fished? The puzzle of the resurrection? Or shame that they had not stayed with Jesus, or even denied him? How do you pick up the threads of life, old or new, with the heavy burden of a broken relationship?

Going back is not an option. Jesus cooks for them on the beach, caring first for their bodies, reminding them of his promise of abundance, of feeding the hungry. But they cannot simply go forward. The past looms too large. Truth is needed before restoration; love and justice must walk hand-in-hand. So Jesus reminds Peter of his threefold betrayal, by asking three times, ‘do you love me?’ Peter must confront the past to walk freely into a better future. His new vocation – to feed Jesus’ lambs – rests, not on his strength and success, but on his acknowledgement of failure, and experience of grace received. And there lies the heart of the Gospel.

As you move into a time of remembering the resurrection, where do you think your own calling lies?

Who might you be called to feed?


God of grace and mercy, we rejoice at your presence with us, and bring to you the whole of our lives that you may shine light in the shadows. May we walk in grace and hope as we share the good news of your resurrection. Amen.

Today’s family challenge

Celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead!

Join Christians around the world meeting together to celebrate God bringing new life out of suffering – overcoming evil with good.