Grace to you!
If anyone believes the resurrection of Jesus wasn’t real—simply a phantom or a product of hallucination, or mere ghost appearance—the story of Jesus’ several appearances in the Scriptures are propelling evidence. The Lord’s appearances weren’t a mere random occurrences. There was a touch of order and strategy to them.
The Risen Lord appeared to many, from individuals to hundreds of people, as I have hinted before, over eleven times. The appearances to seven of the disciples as recorded in the Gospel of John 21:1-14 by the Sea of Tiberias is significant. Pay attention to its details.
Simon and the other disciples went fishing. They weren’t daydreaming or praying in the Upper Room, nor were they deranged people. They knew exactly their left from their right.
The death of Jesus was a deep blow, for sure. Their hoped-for Messiah was dead. Hence, following the call of Simon, all seven returned to their old profession—fishing. They were fishermen.
Then came the appearance of Jesus by the Sea of Tiberias. It’s a vivid proof of the Resurrection. This 3rd appearance of Jesus to the disciples took place at a named location. In fact, it fulfilled the five Ws and one H of any true eyewitness account. Namely: who were involved (the seven disciples), what happened (Jesus’ appearance), where (by the Sea of Tiberias), when (it was morning because the Jewish fishermen at the time of Jesus fished in the morning) and why (to prove he truly resurrected in bodily form, not as a ghost or a spirit.)
The how was evident from the introductory line in John 21: “After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he revealed himself in this way” (Jn 21:1).
The evidence of the post-resurrection appearance by the Sea of Tiberias was so striking that the writer of the Gospel of John could not skip even minutest, commonest details of it. There were details about names of the disciples—Simon, Thomas, Nathaniel, James and John (the sons of Zebedee). Only two of the seven’s names were not mentioned. There were details about Jesus standing on the beach, about their inability to recognize Jesus even after he opened up a friendly conversation with them asking, “Children, have you any fish?” (John 21:5). There were also details about Jesus asking them to cast the net at a particular side of the Sea, and how they made a huge catch.
If these eyewitness accounts were an hallucination, it would be an unbelievable hallucination which took over the minds of seven fishermen on the boat on the Sea.
How about the big catch, the sudden realization by John when he confessed, “It is the Lord”? In addition, there were details about the charcoal fire with fish lying on it and bread already prepared by Jesus. What about Jesus having breakfast with them? Do ghosts eat breakfast?
These are evidence beyond the imagination of the apostles, for whom it was impossible for the dead to appear in bodily form. Yet they saw Jesus. Touched him. Heard him ask them to cast the net in the lake. They also eat with him.
Truth is: Jesus is Risen and alive.
Pray: Lord, let me know you the Risen Lord. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Easter Octave Friday: Acts 4:1-12: Jn 21:1-14]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.