2016-04-10 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato

2016-04-10 – Rev. Dr. Ryan Sato

[ no audio available – – see sermon transcript ]

SERMON PASSAGE, John 21:1-19, Easter 3, April 10, 2016

NARRATOR: After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them,

PETER: “I am going fishing.”

Narr: They said to him,

DISCIPLES (Peter, Thom, Nath, James, John, + 2): “We will go with you.”

Narr: They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them,

JESUS: “Children, you have no fish, have you?”

Disciples: “No.”

J: “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”

Narr: So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter,

JOHN: “It is the Lord!”

Narr: When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.
When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them,

J: “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”

Narr: So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish,
a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them,

J: “Come and have breakfast.”

Narr: Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,

J: “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

PETER: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

J: “Feed my lambs.”

Narr: A second time he said to him,

J: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

P: “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”

J: “Tend my sheep.”

Narr: He said to him the third time,

J: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Narr: Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him,

P: “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

J: “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.”


“Follow me.”

153 fish!

“…and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish!”

Remind you of any other … “wow, that’s a lot….that feels pretty abundant” moments in the gospel of John?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…but I came that the sheep may have life, and have it abundantly.”

“Let anyone who is thirsty come to me…and let the one who believes in me drink…out of the believer’s heart shall flow RIVERS of living water!”

“Six months wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little!” (Philip)
Then Jesus took the loaves…he distributed them to those 5000 who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted…and the disciples gathered up the fragments left over and they filled 12 baskets.

“Sir, you have no bucket…and the well is deep…where do you get that living water?”
Jesus said to her, “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water…now draw some out and take it to the chief steward.”
The steward tasted the water that had become wine and said, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now!”
Jesus did this…the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory.

…We have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

    • Abundance. Rivers of living water. Bread and fish…as much as they wanted.
      Never thirsty. The water in them (us?!) gushing up to eternal life.
      900 bottles of the best red wine for a wedding feast. [$36,000]
      From the fullness of Jesus…we have ALL received…grace upon grace.

Grace upon grace. Fish upon fish.


Do fish take you to a place of abundance?

[ look at Ryan’s “fish picture”]
Maybe it’s not fish for you….anyone want to share a story of abundance?

[share stories here]

As you reflect on your story…do you presently live in that kind of place where you embrace the Jesus-breathed reality that “there will be enough…if not lots?” Does your cup over-floweth??

There’s so much in the world around us that pushes us into places of fear and scarcity… we’re so much like the disciples… instead of running into the future with reckless abandon, we run to those places of comfort and routine, ignoring the fact that there is a living Jesus on the loose in front of us, around us, moving behind the scenes…and we, like this group of fishing buddies, go back to the routine places of our lives saying things like, “shucks, guys, it was fun while it lasted…it really seemed like we had a thing going but I guess our dumb luck finally ran out on us…”

In this 3rd week of Easter, it seems that the story of Jesus and the presence of our Ris’n Christ, would beckon us to a different narrative…

In the midst of scarcity…or scared-ity…the gospel writer offers us 1 more example of abundance. 153 fish. For me, I think back to 72 pike at Horsefly Lake. I remember that feeling? Every cast, reeling in another 22 inch fish. It didn’t matter what lure…red/white stripes, lime green with black dots, shiny copper with red balls hanging off to the side…bite, bite, bite!

Dwell on your image of abundance…

Jesus then says to us… “Don’t get stuck in the glory days…Do you love me more than these abundant life object lessons?”

“Uhhhh…yes, Jesus….I do…”

“I’ve got something life-changing and world-changing work for you to do…feed my lambs!”

“Do you love me?”

“Ummmm, yes, Jesus, I do.”

“Then get your hands dirty…immerse yourself into the lives of people…caring for the other…please, tend my sheep.”

“Do you love me?”

“Sure I do…I’ve said it twice…you know I love you!”

“PLEASE…take good care of my sheep…this is a journey filled with grace and mercy…risk and danger…suffering and failure….knowing and not knowing…
I will not leave you orphaned…because I live, you also will live…I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you….
Follow me!”

And so, this part of the story comes to an end…but we are left holding the bag (the stretched net?) and thus… “so what?”

And we (yes, we!) keep adding to the final verse of this gospel… “there are many other things that Jesus did; if everyone of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

The gospel writer, hands us the unfinished script and says…write away!

One preacher puts it: “For the risen Christ still calls, still feeds, still empowers even doubters & deniers” . . . “the real-life drama of Christ is continuing.” (Troeger)

Week in and week out, the rhythm of our worship is to GATHER in…encounter the living God…and then be SENT out as those who “follow Jesus for the good of the world.”

In our liturgy, every week, near the end we read… “The service of the church into the world…begins again this week” – – maybe that ought to be: “…writes MORE CHAPTERS again this week.”

In a quiet moment, will you live into this story of encounter + abundance, and hear Jesus invitation to “Feed his sheep” ?

Allow the Spirit of Jesus to breath upon us…last week it was “Peace be with you”… this week it’s “Do you love me?…take good care of my sheep.”

Who are those sheep in the world that need your care and nurturing this week?

I’m not trying to get us to do more…or try harder out of guilt or obligation.

But in today’s Jesus encounter, let’s be open to those places and/or faces where our living Christ might be preparing the way for us to feed/tend.
OR…if you are feeding/tending…encounter Jesus…be sustained by the presence of Christ in your midst.

And let’s not forget…there will be enough…fish, bread, water, wine…dollars, joules of energy, creative ideas, welcoming solutions – – whatever we might need to take good care of Jesus’ sheep…Jesus tells us and shows us…AND gives us that love-filled-kick in the rear!

Barbara Brown Taylor puts it this way:
“Three times Jesus replies “Feed my sheep,” which leads you to think that maybe the final answer Jesus seeks from those who love him is not an answer that is spoken so much as one that is lived, that the real truth about who he is for each one of us shows up not on our lips…but in our lives…
… important thing is to try— not only to say what we believe but also to live what we believe—knowing that we are Peter’s kin, and that whether we rise or whether we fall, whether we give the right answer or the wrong one, we too are chips off the old block, pieces of the one true rock against which even the very powers of death shall not prevail.”

Paul the Apostle put it this way:
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

– Pray to God for the sheep that is appearing in your mind’s eye or imagination.
– Pray that out of a heart filled with love for Jesus, you might be open to the ways that you can care for, tend or feed this sheep in the present season of your life.
– In the midst of all the voices of scarcity (you’re not good enough, you don’t have enough)…listen for Jesus’ shepherding voice, assuring us that his abundant presence will be enough.


Lord Jesus, shepherd our hearts as we shepherd and care for the lives of others.
Take us to places we are reluctant to go, to the wounded places, the shattered places, the terrified places. There may we feed your lambs with compassion,
tend your sheep with healing, feed your flock with hope.
We do this because we believe you abide with us & in us, Amen.