Attention to Detail

Rev. Andrew Prin
May 5, 2019
“Attention to Detail”

GodSpeak for the Week of May 5

We continue following the Lectionary schedule this week – with the story of the miraculous catch of fish at the end of John’s gospel.  Far from being a simple story, this episode is filled with important detail which bears close attention.

Day 1…Read John 21:1-14

  • Consider this – particularly when we come across passages from Scripture for which we’re very familiar (like this one), it’s important to slow down and look closely at what the author is including.
  • Answer this – even though you’ve heard and read this story many times before, what new details jump out at you from your reading of it today?

Day 2…Read John 21:2

  • Consider this – as we’ve noted before, names in the Bible often carry important meaning and symbolism.  In this reading, there are many names to consider.
    • Simon – comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to hear”
    • Peter – is a Greek word meaning “rock”
    • Thomas/Didymus – the former is Aramaic, while the latter is Greek…both of them mean “twin”
    • Nathanael – is Hebrew meaning “gift from God”
    • Zebedee – is Hebrew meaning “my gift”
  • Answer this – taken as a whole, what picture emerges about the kind of people Jesus loves and calls because of the meaning of these names?

Day 3…Read John 21:4-6

  • Consider this – it’s “Early in the morning,” when Jesus calls out to the disciples 100 yards away.
  • Consider this – when Jesus tells them to cast their net on the “right” side, specifically, this could have two meanings:
    • …He had the vantage point of being able to see the shadow of a school of fish in the water (which the disciples couldn’t see, because they were too close), and/or;
    • …the right side of something was the place of honor or the side from which authority came.
  • Answer this – given those details, what is John trying to tell us?

Day 4…Read John 21:7

  • Consider this – the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (i.e., John) recognizes Jesus, which causes Peter to jump in the water to wade to shore to greet the Lord…but, not before Peter wraps his outer garment around him “(for he had taken it off),” says John.
  • Answer this – why on earth would Peter PUT ON a garment to jump in the water to greet Jesus?
  • Consider this – in Hebrew culture, greeting someone was an act of religious faith; an act, which required being properly clothed to do.
  • Answer this – therefore, what is John telling us about Peter’s response to Jesus based on these details of his reaction?

Day 5…Read John 21:11

  • Consider this – John offers, here, the very specific detail that the number of fish caught was 153.
    • Scholars have guessed at for years what John meant by offering this detail.
      • One idea is that 153 represents: a) the 100 [i.e., complete number] of Gentiles accepted by Jesus + b) the 50 [i.e., the portion] of Jews who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior + c) 3 for the Trinity.
      • Another idea notes that 153 represents: a) 10 for the Commandments + b) 7 [which is the number of gifts of the Spirit]; which if you add the numbers from 1 to 17 together [i.e., 1 + 2 + 3 + 4…+17] you end up with 153.
    • In the end, though, we just don’t know why John included such a specific detail!
  • Answer this – why do YOU think John included this detail about the number of fish caught?

Day 6…Read John 21:1-14 (in its entirety, again)

  • Consider this – in its broadest sense, John offers us a detailed story of the Lord’s physical appearance to the disciples during a normal day of work for them.
  • Answer this – what is John trying to remind us about the Lord’s being risen from the dead?
    • How does that affect us in our day-to-day lives?