Closure in the Cross of Christ
In the atoning work of Jesus Christ, death has been conquered and the new creation has come.
“After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing’” (John 21:1–3).
“After this.” In the joyful aftermath of that first Easter, we are bold to ask why Peter, fisherman by training, returns to that vocational undertaking. Isn’t there urgent apostolic mission work to be done? Old habits die hard. It’s a new dawn, but we prefer what is known and comfortable. Yet, Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
Things come full circle in the resurrection. From the mouth of that opened tomb comes closure: The old is gone, the new has come. They go out, fish all night, catch nothing. But in the morning, there is the risen Jesus, standing on the shore, saying, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some” (John 21:6). It is an echo of the day when Jesus said to four Galilean fishermen, “Follow me.”
John recognizes Jesus. Peter throws himself into the sea. The other disciples haul in a load of fish. Someone counts them, and John records the number. None of this is myth or legend. It is a closure that satisfies; it derives only from the factual reality of the crucified Christ, raised from the dead. Coming ashore, they feast with the living, reigning Jesus as host — another satisfying, joyful echo of the days when Jesus fed thousands in the wilderness.
He’s the Lord of creation. Death is conquered, and the new creation has dawned. Then comes the best news: You don’t have to wait for the kingdom of God to come; it has come to you. Now, the mission is urgent indeed while we look to the coming resurrection of all flesh. We pray for the fervent use of every Means of Grace that is given to us as His saints, so we never miss such resurrection glory.
In His hands,
Rev. Kevin D. Robson
Chief Mission Officer, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod