John’s Gospel continues the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection appearances with a scene on the shore of Lake Galilee. While the disciples are fishing, an unrecognized Jesus directs them to a catch of fish. Upon recognizing the Lord, they come ashore and join him for a breakfast. This is followed by the intense conversation between Jesus and Peter, where Peter is asked three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep and to follow him.
The Revelation to John contains visions both strange and wonderful. This vision is of the praise being given to the lamb that was slain- the crucified and risen Jesus – by those who are gathered at the throne of God.
The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of the church as it moves out from Easter, proclaiming the risen Christ. Here we come to the dramatic story of the Pharisee Saul who is hunting down these followers of Jesus, when he is confronted by Christ on the way to Damascus. Jesus recruits the man who is renamed Paul and will take the faith from Palestine to Rome.
Comment: People come to faith in the risen Christ – to praise Jesus as the lamb who was crucified and risen – in a great variety of ways. When that happens, whether our name is changed (Saul to Paul or Simon to Peter) we really do begin a new kind of identity. From that day on we will know of a love that challenges us to the core of our being: “Do you love me?” is not only a question to Peter, but to me and you. How far will we go to honor and praise the crucified and Risen Lamb of God? In one way or another, He asks us to care for his sheep and tend his lambs – and ultimately that means every human being we meet .David S. Robinson, Rector Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church Maple Glen, PA 19002