“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” - Timothy Keller: (Christian Pastor in Manhattan)
Gospel Text: (JN 21:1-14)
Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.
Why would the disciples “dare” to ask Jesus “Who are you?” if they realized who He was? The wording of this verse suggests some unresolved ambiguity. While the miracle of catching 153 fish convinced them who He was, there was still some reason for them to ask His identity. His miracle convinced them, but His appearance did not.
So the Risen Jesus, in His glorified Body, was the same person, yet somehow different. He had the same two natures—human and divine—yet He was somehow different. The Resurrection narratives demonstrate some of the ways that Jesus was different after His Resurrection: most famously—as we will hear this Sunday—the Risen Lord had a physical body that could pass through solid matter.
The point here is that in His Risen Body, Jesus appears different to His disciples, different enough to cause some confusion in their minds: at least enough for them to be tempted to “dare” ask Him “Who are you?”
Do you expect the Lord to appear in certain ways, and not others? Do you allow your expectations to have power over your faith?