Friday, April 16, 2010

Breakfast on the Beach

I have heard some people say that they enjoy fishing even if they never catch a fish. They say that they just enjoy the peace and relaxation of fishing. I will have to confess, it doesn't sound like much fun to sit in a boat holding a fishing pole without ever catching any fish. How about you?

Imagine that you have been sitting in a boat fishing all night without catching a single fish. As the sun begins to come up you can see someone standing at the edge of the water.

"Hi!" he calls out. "Have you had any luck?"

"I haven't caught a thing," you answer.

"Well, if you would put your fishing pole on the right-hand side of the boat, you would catch a lot of fish."

Would you try it, or would you say to yourself, "That's the craziest thing I've ever heard. What difference does it make which side of the boat I am fishing from?"

Well, that is almost exactly what happened one day to Jesus' disciples.  Several of them were gathered beside the Sea of Galilee. The group included Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

Suddenly, Peter said, "I'm going fishing."

"We'll come too," the others said. So they got in the boat and they fished all night, but caught nothing."

As the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn't make out who it was. Jesus called out to them, "Have you caught any fish?"

"Not a thing," the disciples called back.

"Throw your nets on the right-hand side of the boat and you'll catch some!"

Did they do it? Yes they did! Did they catch any fish? They caught so many fish that they couldn't even pull the net into the boat!

Then the disciple that Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Lord!" When Peter heard that, he jumped into the water and headed for shore. The others stayed with the boat and dragged the loaded net to the shore. When they got there, they found Jesus cooking breakfast -- fish over a charcoal fire and some bread.

"Bring some of the fish you've just caught," Jesus said. Peter dragged the net to the shore and there were 153 large fish. "Now, come and have some breakfast," Jesus said. Then Jesus served them fish and bread.

Oh my! It just doesn't get any better than that. Breakfast on the beach with the risen Lord! What would have happened if the disciples had refused to throw their nets on the right-hand side of the boat? They would have missed out on a wonderful breakfast on the beach with Jesus. What happens when you and I refuse to do the things Jesus has called us to do? We miss out on the wonderful blessings that he wants for us!

Father, we know that you have wonderful blessings in store for us when we faithfully follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that we will always be obedient disciples. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Surprise! It's Empty!

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. Luke 24:1-3 (NIV)

Have you ever played with a Jack-in-the-Box? I'm sure you have. The Jack-in-the-Box has been around for hundreds of years and most children have either had one or played with one. When I was a child, the Jack-in-the-Box was one of my favorite toys. I can remember sitting and turning the handle, waiting for the moment when the lid would open and Jack would pop out. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was always surprised, and perhaps even a little frightened, when Jack popped out of the box.

The Jack-in-the-Box reminds me of a story in the Bible -- a story about a very special surprise.

Early in the morning, on the Sunday after Jesus was crucified, two women went to the grave where Jesus had been buried. When they arrived, they found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance and the grave was empty. They were surprised to find an empty grave and wondered what had happened to Jesus.

While they were wondering about this, suddenly, two men in dazzling bright clothes appeared to the two women. Now they were not only surprised -- they were also afraid. The men spoke to the women and said, "Why are you looking for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here, he has risen just as he told you he would."

When the women heard these words, they remembered that Jesus had told them that he would be crucified, but that he would rise again on the third day. Now they were no longer surprised at finding an empty grave. They rushed back to tell his disciples -- and everyone else what they had seen.

Some surprises, like playing with a Jack-in-the-Box, make us happy, but the best reason we have to be happy today is that the grave is empty, Jesus is alive, and he loves us very much! That is what we celebrate today!

Dear Father, we praise you! Jesus has risen -- just as he said he would! Amen.