A little over three weeks ago, we heard of the Twelve, gathered with Jesus in the upper room, celebrating the Passover for the last time together. Jesus tells them that he must suffer and die, and Peter proclaims on behalf of all of them, that they would suffer and die with him if necessary. But, of course, when the rubber meets the road, they all scatter. Peter himself says not once or twice, but three times that he is not only not one of them, but that he has never heard of the man, this man who had been his friend for three years.
Now the crucifixion is history and Jesus has risen from the dead, and the Eleven have no idea what to do. So they go back to their former way of life. They’ve given up, they are dejected and broken and it seems like their last three years have been wasted. So they take up what they knew best: fishing. Only, that doesn’t go so well for them either. They have caught nothing all night long, these men who grew up knowing how to fish and had made their living on it.
To these men who have completely failed at everything now, Jesus comes and helps them reel in a catch large enough to be a vision of the men and women they will gather in for the Lord in the future. They share a meal and are fortified for the mission ahead. They are healed and lifted up and given strength to do what they’ve been created for. Even Peter gets not just one or two chances, but three chances to proclaim his love for his friend, this man he had denied three times just three weeks ago.
To all of us who have messed up in life, all of us wounded disciples who have been confused and dejected and disillusioned and have even denied our Lord, these Eleven show us great promise. Our Jesus is a Lord of second chances. And even third chances. Our God never gives up on us, even if he has to catch us in a net with 152 other fish.