Focus – Embrace the Sunrise

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Anne Pickup

by Major Anne Pickup –

“Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the Sea of Tiberias.” John 21:1

Salvation Army history is colored with unique people and dramatic testimonies of lives changed by the redeeming work of a resurrected Christ. One lady, of another generation, stood in an Army meeting and testified, “Because of Jesus, I don’t sweep the dirt under the carpet any more!” A simple testimony of a life impacted by the resurrection.

Easter has passed. What impact has the resurrection made on our lives? What difference has it made knowing that one glorious daybreak, the rays of the sunrise embraced an empty tomb?

John 21 is a post resurrection appearance of Jesus to seven of his disciples. “Afterward,” some time subsequent to two other resurrection appearances, Jesus encounters these men on the shore of Galilee.

I. “I’m Going Fishing”–were Peter’s words. This statement was evidence of going back home, back to familiar places and activities, back to a comfort zone. The resurrection of Messiah had been witnessed, but they returned to fishing. Leaving Jerusalem, they went home to Galilee. They were not changed by the resurrection.

Psychologists say when we experience stress we tend to fall back into safe places and manageable scenarios. These places may not be right, but at least we understand them. The disciples had certainly experienced traumatic events and lived through stressful times. Back in their “safe” place, Jesus confronts them with the life changing force of the resurrection.

II. “Throw your nets on the right side of the boat”–were the instructions. Jesus appeared “early in the morning,” at another sunrise, introducing himself through a miracle. After fishing unsuccessfully all night, what could throwing their nets out on the other side accomplish? Obediently, or in exhausted compliance, they dropped their nets on the right side of the boat. One hundred and fifty-three fish filled the nets!

Peter recognized Jesus and jumped out of the boat to join him. A warm fire blazed on the beach and fish were frying. Jesus offered a simple invitation, “come and dine.”

III. “Do you love me?”–was the poignant question. Remembering his denial, Peter dare not answer hastily. This was not just a question of loyalty and love–it went deeper. The question really was–Peter, will you believe in the resurrection and embrace the sunrise? If you embrace the sunrise, the empty tomb, the resurrection–you can never be the same again! You can’t go back to things as they used to be…because nothing is as it was before!

“Just because everything is different doesn’t mean anything has changed,” said Irene Peter. How sadly true her words! So many Christians, after celebrating Easter, after receiving Christ as Savior, return to their normal lives.

When Jesus said to Peter “Follow me,” (vs.19) it was to follow him into the sunrise of the resurrection. To embrace a new life in all its fullness. Peter the fisherman became leader of the Church. Impetuous Peter became a man with a rock solid nature. When he embraced the sunrise, Peter was changed.

Morning has broken! Follow Jesus and embrace the sunrise.

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