Day 81: Jesus in the Ordinary

Read: John 21:1-14

Growing up, there was something about Christian testimonies that always bothered me. The way they were told at church camps and conferences always seemed to follow the same formula. A person was living really deep in some sort of  “really bad” sin. Then some crazy Damascus road thing happens to them—they have a radical encounter with Jesus that changes their life forever and they never deal with that sin again. Not that I want to discount these kinds of radical life transformations, but honestly that’s never been how it was for me. Escaping sin and coming to Jesus has always been more like an ebb and flow—more like being on the ocean than being thrust down a one-way, raging river.

If you relate with this, believe me, your story is not unusual. Our reading today finds us with the same disciples again, after Jesus has appeared to them twice. You’d think they’d still be flipping out. Their Teacher was alive, and He was walking through walls, and teaching like He used to! If I were one of the disciples, you’d either find me jumping for joy or signing up for some first century psychiatric help.

Despite all the evidence, our story opens up like any other Monday. In a malaise, Peter decides to get up and go do what he’s best at, and the disciples can’t think of anything better to do. The disciples were simply going back to the comfort of their familiar work environment, as if nothing had happened. But even this escape doesn’t bring any relief. After hours of fishing through the night they can’t catch a thing. Then, with the dawning sun, Jesus enters the stage. In an almost comically mundane scene, the risen and glorified Jesus uses His divine power to subtly key His disciples in on who He is by recommending where they should fish. The moment they realized it was Jesus, the dull, ordinary haze broke and it was all hands on deck to get to Jesus. 

How similar we are to the disciples! Jesus works miracles in our lives, both big and small, and then we shrug our shoulders and return to everyday life as if nothing had happened. Thank God that He is not so other from us that He doesn’t enter in on our mundane lives. Instead, by his great mercy, He meets us in the ordinary, sitting down with us in the quiet and intimate hours of the morning to have breakfast. In his grace He continues to work, and calls us into deeper intimacy with him.      

Christ is alive and moving among us. Take some time to consider Jesus’ tone in these passages. He’s not bombastic or harsh, He is gentle, understated, and intimate. When His followers are downtrodden and weak with the ceaseless bombardment of anxieties, He happy to sit with us in the calm of the early morning. Jesus doesn’t just want to come into your life in extraordinary ways, but also in the ordinary. Seek God in the ordinary today; invite Him prayerfully into your daily tasks and thoughts, knowing that He is at your side. 

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