Monday, April 16, 2007

Reconciliation and Resurrection John 21:1-19 Easter 3C

We function in a world with rules and expectations. Death and taxes, we hear (repeatedly in mid-April), are unavoidable. There's fatalism in this kind of world view. It limits us only to things as they are and not as they could be. Such earthbound eyes see hurting people and see no possibility of hope. A person mired in sickness or addiction would be expected to stay in the muck in a world without reconciliation and resurrection. It's a brutal way of seeing life that ultimately says once we are dead we are supposed to stay dead. It's a tough way to live; to live like completely nothing new ever could happen.

The Good News breaks in on our earthbound views. Jesus rose and because he rose death isn't the end. His resurrection signals more than just the possibility of new beginnings. His rising announces that the new beginnings started 2000 years ago.

In John 20:19-31 Jesus comes to see his friends and reveals his new form. They tell one of their own, Thomas, who was missing and he dismisses them. Jesus came again and this time Thomas was there and Jesus didn't chastise him for his disbelief. Instead he invited him to come and see the marks from the nails and the speer.

In John 21:1-19 Jesus came to his friends again and this time he sat with them and ate fish. Then he sought out a moment to speak to one of them, Peter, who in the night of Jesus betrayal, had denied that he even knew him just hours after promising that he would go with him even to death if needed. Jesus sought Peter ought and he didn't dig into him or rip him apart with venomous words. He came with a question for his soul, “Do you love me?” Jesus asked him 3 times. And the first two times Peter said, “Yes.” But the Third time Peter spoke as a hurting soul who anguished in the question, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” John 21:17 (NRSV). Jesus chose to offer him a mission and not judgment that day. Peter was commissioned to feed the sheep and the lambs. Here the resurrected Christ offered reconciliation to Peter. He did not wipe away the past but offered something new to Peter, a new mission to proclaim the resurrection.

Resurrection didn't take away Jesus scars, nor does reconciliation hide ours. But we do, in Christ, have a chance to see new things happen. Jesus' rising from a tomb redefined everything. He rose and immediately started living boldly. He announced forgiveness and even sought out those who doubted and denied him. For what purpose? Only God fully knows; but in the love of the risen Jesus for Peter and Thomas we see the love that God chooses to reveal to all of us.

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