May 1, 2022

Welcoming Even Doubters and Deniers

Pastor KJ Kim

John 21: 1-19

Today’s story is likely placed as an epilogue, a story that has unfolded before us. If we read this epilogue closely, we can find several things that are still worth pointing out and telling us about who we are, and what we have to do when Easter vibes have been fading out.

First, hearing that the disciples cast their net on the right side of the boat as the risen Christ instructed them, we may be stirred to remember that the disciples never catch a fish in any of the Gospels without the help of Christ. In addition, it still resonates with us that we must need the risen Christ guiding and feeding us if we are going to fulfill God’s given-missions.

Hearing that none of the disciples at first recognized the risen Christ when he appeared on the shore and called to them, we remember that Mary Magdalene mistook the risen Christ
for the gardener when she first encountered him at the empty tomb. The epilogue warns us that there is always a good chance we will be as slow and obtuse to recognize God’s presence
as the disciples in the boat.

Lastly, if we have wrongly concluded that Christ’s abundant generosity and miracle belong to the past and not the present, the epilogue reminds us that the risen Christ continues to bless us and feed us; by extension, such kind of generosity and miracle still may be seen and carried with us no matter how big the numbers we bless or feed.

I believe most churches and their preachers try to recapture Easter, trying to keep it going or to get it back. Today’s passage as the epilogue is a dramatic appeal to us not to reduce the risen Christ and the wonders of his ministry to a story in the past, not to leave the gospel in a time and place long ago and far away.

Like the disciples in the passage, we have lost something and some time. We have felt guilty that we do not remain excited by Easter. Perhaps, the epilogue awakens our memories of the darkness—the darkness of our hunger, the darkness of our denial and betrayal, the darkness of our failure to recognize the risen Christ.

However, at the same time, today’s passage affirms that none of this darkness has overcome the light. The risen Christ still comes to us; calls us; still feeds us; still waits for us; still empowers us--even doubters and deniers--for the ministry.

Perhaps, the epilogue tells us that the curtain may have come down on John’s narrative. However, the passage invites us to the dynamic of prologue for our real-life stories of Christ continuing again and again.

Do we love God?

Let’s keep feeding God’s people physically as well as emotionally and spiritually.