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the right hand of God.”2 And so the Lord Jesus. He is well aware that grief and trial and tribulation are the lot of many of his own people. But he sees also the heavens opened, and the earth receding: -- earth receding, with all its load of sin and misery ; and the heavens opening with all the glory which is to be revealed :—and therefore he says, Blessed are they that have believed ; for there shall be a performance of those things which were spoken of the Lord.
These are the thoughts which may animate the faithful disciple of Christ under all the trials and difficulties of his earthly warfare. His Lord, who knew them all, has pronounced him blessed. And he is blessed. Blessed now in the favour and support of Almighty God : and—what is alone important in the sight of infinite wisdom—blessed for eternity
One thing only remains : but it is all important. Have we believed ? Not having seen, have we believed ? Not having received the promises, but “ having seen them afar off, and been persuaded of them.” Let our hearts reply, and our lives prove this : that the Spirit of God may witness with our spirit,” that we are " sealed by him unto the day of redemption.”
2 Acts vii. 56.
CHRIST APPEARS TO HIS APOSTLES, AND MAKES
A PARTICULAR ADDRESS TO SIMON.
John xxi. 1-17.
1. After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias ; and on this wise shewed he himself
2. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, und entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
4. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
6. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes:
7. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, ( for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
8. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
9. As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
10. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
11. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three : and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
12. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou ? knowing that it was the Lord.
13. Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
14. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
The time was not yet come, when the apostles were to enter upon the work intended for them. For employment and for subsistence, they had recourse to their former avocation, till “ the promise of the Father” was sent upon them, and they were “ endued with power from on high.”.
Whilst thus engaged, their Lord appeared to them for the third time after that he was risen from the dead. First he had been seen by them on the evening of his resurrection. Then after eight days had passed, he satisfied the doubts of his unbelieving disciple Thomas. And now he stands on the shore near which they were labouring : but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
His address is familiar and gracious. Children, have ye any meat? May not this remind us, that he is interested in the circumstances and wants of his disciples? May it not justify St. Paul's assur
1 Luke xxiv. 49.
ance, My God shall supply all your need ;” careful for nothing?"
At his command they cast their net once more : and the success was like that which had astonished Simon Peter three years before, and first displayed to him the power in which Jesus came. S
Here also was a lesson for them in their future vocation as “ fishers of men.” They might toil long, and take nothing : yet in the end receive an ample recompense. It was a significant emblem of that company which shortly after gladly received the word of Peter, and were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus : " and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”4
At once they recognize the author of their unexpected success, who had thus provided for their wants until the predetermined time, “ the day of Pentecost, was fully come.” John, that disciple whom Jesus loved, saith unto Peter, It is the Lord.
15. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thouknowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16. He saith unto him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me ? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? and he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
2 Phil. iv. 19, and 6.
3 Luke v. 1-ll,
+ Acts ji. 41.
The apostle who is thus pointedly addressed, had always shown a ready and forward zeal towards his Master. "
Lord,” he had said, “I will lay down my life for thy sake.” “I am ready to go with thee both to prison and to death.
“ Though all men should be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.”5 Our Lord now intimates, that his love and zeal will hereafter be put to the test, and have full scope for their exercise. “Simon, lovest thou me? Lovest thou me more than others ? More than these thy companions ? Hitherto there has been no proof of this, except thy ready professions : for when “ all the disciples forsook me and fled,” thou didst not remain at my side : yea, with an oath didst thou affirm, thou “ knewest not the man.” If, however, thou lovest me, behold the way in which it may be shown. Feed my lambs.
Feed my sheep. It was the purpose of our Lord, in taking our nature, to gather a flock out of the wilderness of this world, and bring them to everlasting life. He foresees the time, when there should be such a flock : a flock of every age, and of various degrees of strength : young and old, learned and unlearned, weak in the faith and strong in the faith. And these he bequeaths to the care of his zealous follower : and after him, to all who shall be partakers of the same love. Feed my lambs. Fulfil the prophecy which went forth concerning me,-“ He shall gather the lambs into his bosom. Feed my sheep. Let it not be said to thy reproach,
5 ch. xüi. 37 ; Luke xxii. 33; Matt. xxvi. 33.