At Easter we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and wonder how amazed those first disciples must have been. Surprisingly, in John 21, we read that about two weeks after Jesus rose from the grave and presented himself to his followers, Simon Peter announced that he was going fishing.
Going fishing? What does this have to do with the Resurrection?
My guess is that after his initial joy, Peter was confused and no doubt more than a little disappointed. Wasn't the Resurrection supposed to usher in the kingdom of God? If this was the kingdom, then why were the Romans still ruling the world? Why were disease and death still rampant? Why were bad things still happening?
I think we can identify with Peter's doubt. For Christians, Easter marks the victory of God in Christ over sin and death and hell, yet like Peter, we can look around and it appears that little has changed. Evil seems to be having a field day, and sin and death and hell show no signs of loosening their grip on the human experience. Where is that kingdom we've heard so much about? Jesus is risen, but so what?
John goes on to record that Jesus gave Peter and the gang a little help with their fishing, then fixed breakfast for them on the beach. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him, and three times, Peter said "Yes, Lord." Each time, Jesus responded with "Feed my sheep."
I think Jesus is telling us that the kingdom is found wherever those who love the Lord "feed his sheep."
The Resurrection means that God's promise to remake the world can be trusted, and that feeding the sheep, preaching the Gospel, caring for the "least of these," fighting against injustice and evil, bears witness to our salvation, and that all these things are not in vain.
One day God's kingdom will be revealed in all its perfection and glory, and we show our faith in that coming day by serving one another in love, hope and joy.
The Rev. Ed Rees is the pastor of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church on Wheeler Road