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Back in the Boat Again
by Judy Webb
"I will strike the Shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered." (Zechariah 13:7)
If we remember the text from Sunday (John 21:1-13), the disciples were out fishing. They just spent three years with Jesus learning all he could teach in that short amount of time, and here they sit, back in the boat again. Jesus was preparing them for a new vocation, but when he died, as he said he would, they panicked and fled their new life for the familiar one.
Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'” (Matthew 26:31)
Fear and grief took over as these men gathered together to comfort each other and to embrace what they knew. Now that Jesus was gone they were at wits end, lost and floundering. Jesus said he would rise again in three days, but that was just too much for them to comprehend. How often do I doubt that Jesus has me firmly in his grasp? When life falls apart and our plans crumble in a heap before us, what do we often turn to? The familiar – we get back into our boat – forgetting all we learned before the grief.
“Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” (Matthew 26:56, Mark 10:50)
This is very difficult to believe. How could these men who loved Jesus so much, simply turn their backs on all they experienced and climb back into the boat? It is interesting that once again, they caught no fish. It is sort of where this story began. And now Jesus is on shore waiting for them. He still plans to convert this band of unlikely followers from fishermen to shepherds. And then it begins…they recognize Jesus and rush to Him. A few short days ago, they shared a last meal with Jesus before he journeyed to the cross. Now they share another meal with Him as a new era begins. Shepherds are poised to begin a new life.
Are you on the verge of a new life? Is your nest emptying, retirement looming? Can you see the brand-new opportunities opening before you? Take the time to mourn what is lost but then embrace the next chapter with gusto.
Dear Jesus, it is so hard sometimes to turn that page, end that chapter and begin a new story. But we are called to spread your Word to all the world and I can't do that when holding on so tight to what was -- avoiding what new thing you might have waiting for me. Give me courage and help me take that next step into a new life with you.