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Jesus' selflessness and compassion knew no bounds

 

By Canon Walter Lewis

Think of a misty morning on the Sea of Galilee. Dawn was breaking and there was only one boat to be seen. In it were seven men.

With sunrise, the lights at each end of the boat were put out - no longer needed to attract the fish. There was a quiet exchange of comments between the men after a hard night's fishing, with nothing caught. In the stillness, the voices, though quiet, carried a long way.

As the men were talking, they heard a voice from the shore: "Throw your net to the right side!" They did this and caught so many fish that they had to tow the net to shore. When they made the catch, one of the disciples recognised the person on the shore. "It is the Lord", he said. After much effort, the net full of fish was pulled ashore.

Jesus said to them: "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." There was a fire of burning coals, with fish on it and bread. "Come and have breakfast", Jesus said. Jesus took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.

This was the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

This is a very strange story. We know that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. After that, on Easter Sunday, he appeared risen to Mary Magdalene and some of the Apostles. Soon after, he appeared to the seven on the lake shore at the break of day. It was all very mysterious.

But, there are two things which stick in my mind in that story - the words "Throw your net to the right side" and "Come and have breakfast." They were both said by Jesus risen.

Here were seven men - tired, cold, wet, dejected after a fruitless night's fishing. You can imagine it - nets out, row the boat, nets in, and so on.

Then, on the words of Jesus, a great catch. It was just as though Jesus read their minds and helped them. I am sure they were absolutely thrilled with the huge catch of fish.

Then, you just think, if you'd been up all night, you'd be famished. And there's nothing you'd like better than a lovely hot breakfast around a warm fire. The seven men saw the burning coals, and heard the most welcome words: "Come and have breakfast."

What do we see in these words of Jesus? We see that Jesus, risen, was thinking not about himself, but about his followers.

He helped them with their catch. He prepared breakfast for them on the lake shore at the break of day.

The risen Jesus was the loving, serving Jesus. Jesus' thought was not for himself, but for others.

Jesus could have shouted out from the lake shore, "Look, it is me, Jesus, risen from the dead."

But he didn't. He could have said to them when they came ashore, "Follow me", but he didn't. He was firstly interested in their wellbeing.

Jesus, risen, was on the lake shore at the break of day before the disciples knew it. He was there to show care, thoughtfulness, compassion and love for them. Jesus, the risen and serving one, is among us now to show us his care and love.

May we be filled with those virtues and may we show that same resurrection power to serve others in our lives today.

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