Word of the Month

It is the Lord!

February 2009

Holy Scripture relates many events that transpired after Jesus’ resurrection. For example, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, Apostle Paul summarises the Lord’s appearances in what is probably the oldest account on record. Paul professes that Jesus Christ “rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and … was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once. …After that He was seen by James, then by all the Apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8).

The gospels in turn testify that the Lord appeared in various places. Entirely different events are recorded. It is my conviction that not nearly everything of that which actually occurred at the time was recorded. But the little that we can read already has a great deal to tell us.

On one occasion the Lord appeared to His own on the Sea Tiberias. The disciples had decided to do some fishing in order to provide for their daily needs. Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, John and James the sons of Zebedee, and a few others had put out to sea in their boats. They had tried all night to catch some fish but had not had any success. When morning came, the Lord came and stood quite unassumingly at the shore. The disciples did not recognise Him at first. He said to them: “Children, have you any food? … Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” At his word they cast out the net, even though they had waited in vain for a catch all night. They followed the Lord’s instruction to cast the net on the right side of the boat. They caught so many fish that they could barely haul them all in. It was only then that Jesus’ favourite dis­ciple recognised Him and said: “It is the Lord!” (cf. John 21: 1-7).

In the course of our life we make many plans and decisions that affect our natural lives, and that is good. This is as it must be. But often our plans come to naught and things do not turn out as we expected. At times we might feel as though we had fished all night long, so to speak. That is, we may feel as though we had tried everything in our power, but all to no avail. If that is the case, why not try something different? Let us listen to the word of God. Let us listen to what the Lord has to say about our situation. It might be a very simple instruction such as: “Cast your net out on the right side! Go to the one standing at the fringes and speak a kind word.” The fishermen at the time might also have thought: “We already know what to do. We have much better ways of ensuring success – after all we are professionals!” But no: they simply did what the Lord counselled them to do, and succeeded! They then also saw that it was the Lord. If we do what the Lord tells us, success will follow. But we must truly listen to the voice of God and not only think: “I want to do this or the other thing …” Instead, let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Lord. If we fail in our endeavours from time to time, then let us make another start of it. If we continually listen to the voice of God, an abundance of blessing will be revealed to us.

(From a service by the Chief Apostle)