by Bob Wickizer

Bob Wickizer
Ezekiel 34:11-16; Psalm 87; 2 Timothy 4:1-8; John 21:15-19

In order to grasp the ''feed my sheep'' gospel, we need to wind the clock back to the all night fishing trip that takes place just before today's scene. In fact we will start even earlier on the night before the crucifixion.

It all starts with a charcoal fire. Jesus prays in the garden so intensely that drops of blood fall from his forehead. He returns to the disciples and finds them all asleep. They go to the courtyard of the high priest in those pre-dawn hours where the servant at the door recognizes him by his Galilean accent as ''one of them.'' She asks Peter if he was one of Jesus' disciples. Peter denies it. Next the high priest asks Peter if he is one of the disciples. Peter denies it again. Finally one of the servants of the high priest and a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off earlier asks Peter if he was in the garden with Jesus. Peter denies the third time and a rooster ushers in the new day.

It has been a month or so since those tumultuous days of Passover, the crucifixion and his appearances to the disciples twice before. Jesus is still preparing them, teaching, guiding, directing. Peter has gone back to fishing. They've been up all night without any success. It is just before dawn again. A stranger appears on the shore suggesting that they might find some fish casting on the other side of the boat. Of course they make a big haul and Peter recognizes the stranger. ''It is the Lord'' he shouts as he jumps out of the boat to come ashore.

''Come have breakfast'' the stranger shouts over the water. They all know it is Jesus but they are afraid to acknowledge it. The charcoal fire is there again. Fish are roasted. Bread is broken. It is a shore breakfast for fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. It is Holy Eucharist. This is the third time they have seen Jesus after the crucifixion.

After they have eaten breakfast, Jesus commissions them or better, he R ...

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