Ep. 10: A Moment of Clarity...or Easter 3C

Primary scripture – John 21:1-19


1)      Connection with Luke- John makes is a resurrection story (in Galilee)

    a.       Why would John convert Simon’s call story into a resurrection story? 

    b.      Are we to see it as our own call story now?

2)      153 Fish – does this matter?

    a.      Maybe...but probably not

3)      Jesus- was he present physically or spiritually?

4)      Miraculous Feeding

5)      Eucharist

The Miraculous Catch

·         The Miraculous Catch is found near the beginning of Luke’s gospel – Luke 5:1-11.  In Luke, it is the call story of Simon, James and John – the Zebedee brothers.  This is one of the stories that Crossan uses as evidence that the writer of John had read Luke.  In both stories, Simon ignores the huge amount fish,  that was presumably worth a lot of money.  Why would John convert Simon’s call story into a resurrection story?  Are we to see it as our own call story now?

·         153 fish – what is the significance? If any?  David Ewert cites speculation that 153 was the number of recognized nations at the time of John’s writing.  Jerome’s theory was that 153 was the number of difference kinds of known species fish at the time. (Harvard Theological Review, 1949)    This was also an allusion to Matthew 13:47 “The kingdom of God is like a net that is cast and catches fish of every kind.”   John Wesley asserts that the number wasn’t important, but the quantity – it was enough to supply them with their basic needs as they begin the job of spreading the gospel.

·         153 could also have been the size of the early Christian community at the time of the resurrection.

·         What Jesus truly present? Or did they experience Christ in their midst as they ate breakfast together after the resurrection and this story was combined with the Luke story to creat John 21? – Stephen Patterson discussed this – What does this say about fellowship and resurrection?

·         This is a Eucharist story- the earliest celebrations of the Eucharist consisted of bread and fish, not bread and wine – earliest iconography pictures fish and bread, not bread and cup.

      o   There is an argument that Paul- being Hellenistic emphasizes the bread and cup as it would in the Greek tradition

      o   Didache does mention vine and cup as well as a meal, but nothing in relation to Christ’s death


1)      Traditional – Promises vs denials

2)      Greek – love and greek knowing – interesting- don’t bet the farm on it

3)      Feed- faith and action


·         Traditional interpretation sees parallel between three questions of Jesus and Peter’s three denials.  Peter given the chance to “overpromise” as he had done before.  Does not say “more than these” this time. 

·         David Ewert looks closer at the Greek uses of the word “love,” saying that the first two times Jesus asks Peter if he agapes him, and Peter says I fillio you.  In other words, Jesus asks, “Do you fully devote yourself to me?” and Peter responds, “I am your friend.”  Then Jesus asks “Are you my friend,” and Peter says, “You know everything, of course you are my friend.” Instead of being a reinstatement of Peter, this reveals that Peter’s love is still not full.  (This could reflect the rivalry between the Johnanine community and Peter’s Jerusalem community).  Yet despite Peter’s imperfect love, he is still entrusted with the primary task of feeding Jesus’ sheep.

     o   The above is not necessarily true- See The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary by Gail O’Day

·         Progressive Involvement asserts that beyond the different words for love, there are different words for knowing.  At first Peter says that Jesus knows (oida) this.  Oida is common, every day objective knowledge.  On the third question, Peter says that Jesus knows (ginosko) this.  Ginosko is a deeper, spiritual kind of knowledge. 

o   The above is not necessarily true- See The New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary by Gail O’Day

Secondary Scripture –Acts 9:1-20

1)      Who is the main character

2)      Conversion – change of heart, change of perspective, not always a change of knowledge

     a.       Can is blind- only when blind can he now see

     b.      Stories blind beggar - Luke

3)      Community

4)      Conversion- desire or need for a Damascus moment?

     a.       Born into or converted

     b.      “Faith inferiority”

     c.       Think Prodigal Son?

5)      Laying on of hands


Secondary Scripture –Acts 9:1-20

     §  Separate from the Corinthians account- multiple stories were circulating about Saul’s conversion

     §  Importance of laying on of hands – ordination- when else do we do this? When should we?

     §  How does Paul become a theologian? How does he learn of the Way?

     §  Conversion- change of heart, change of perspective

     §  Growing up in the church, converting – which is “better”

     §  Who is the main character? Not Paul but God – God can change people