The Risen Lord Sends His Disciples On Mission
THE Resurrection of Jesus is yearly celebrated at Easter, which is the oldest and most solemn Christian feast and considered the center of the Liturgical Year. But what is the meaning of the raising of Jesus from the dead? Admittedly, every New Testament writer has his own distinctive understanding of what the Resurrection of Jesus is all about, but in John, one of its meanings is mission. In John’s story of the Lord’s appearance on the shore of Tiberias (John 21:1-19), that significance derives, as in Luke 5:10, from the symbolism of the fishing scene. It may be recalled that before he was raised, Jesus promised that he would draw all women and men to himself (John 12:32). Since he has been lifted up, he could now fulfill his promise. If the Matthean Christ commanded the Eleven to make disciples of all the nations (Matt 28:19), that account has an equivalent in John in the instruction to throw the net. And the meaning of the symbolism of throwing the net is made clearer in another metaphor: the commissioning of Peter to feed the lambs/sheep (John 21:15-17).
Of course, the mission remains the risen Lord’s. The disciples are simply his instruments. Christ takes the initiative and sustains it. For this reason, the success of the mission does not depend on the quality and effort of the disciples. A doctorate degree, a high IQ, one’s being honed at Harvard Divinity School, the ability to attract huge crowd—all this does not guarantee automatic success. Rather, it rests entirely on their obedience to the word of the listen Lord. By their own effort the disciples could not catch fish (21:6). Which reminds us of Jesus’ saying that “without me you can do nothing” (15:5). One may work in the mission with much effort, but without the presence of the Lord, that mission would be fruitless. Continue reading here.