Summer. I have mixed feelings about it. Some things I love - spending lots of time with friends, long days that allow you to be outside, travel. I don’t love mosquitos, the ever-present threat of sunburn no matter how much sunscreen I apply to my fair redheaded skin, being away from some of the friends that I usually get to spend a lot of time with. In college, I spent summers with friends from high school or in a new city where I had to make new friends knowing I would leave after a couple of months.
As the days have been getting longer recently, I’m more aware this year than I have been in a while of the opportunities that summer brings to grow my relationship with God. Hear me out, I know I have time for that regardless of how much daylight we get. But in summer, my days just feel lighter. Like there aren’t excuses preventing me from carving out time to be with God. I feel like I have so much more time and if I’m strategic with what I do with it, it can lead to so much growth.
As you enter into a new summer routine, I’d love for you to use this devotional to reflect on what the summer could look like for you.
In this passage, we see the excitement the disciples experience as they see Jesus appear to them after he’d already died. This friend of theirs who they lost is back with them. As you read, don’t feel pressure to analyze everything that is happening. Instead, pay attention to the story as a whole and try to imagine what the disciples are feeling.
21 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Questions to Consider
- What do you notice about the disciples’ reactions to Jesus appearing?
- How does Jesus communicate with and respond to them?
- Why do you think Jesus focuses on providing for their tangible needs first?
- Imagine how the disciples might have felt seeing Jesus again. How do you usually feel about spending time with Jesus?
- How do you need Jesus to provide for you as you head into the summer?
How are you coming into the summer? Operating on a college schedule, sometimes I feel like I’m tumbling my way into the summer. If I can just make it until then, I’ll be ok. A lot of the time the first thing I need as the semester ends is time to physically rest and recover. I love that we see Jesus provide that for the disciples here after a long discouraging night of fishing.
Do you need physical rest? It can be easy when setting goals to be overzealous at first. Before you plan out the whole summer, take some time to just rest. What is restful for you? Maybe it’s taking a nap, going on a walk, or playing a favorite sport with friends. After you’ve taken care of what your body needs, start to engage with what your mind needs.
How do you want to grow this summer? If your schedule allows, set aside a day to just be with God. Even if you’re coming into this time feeling really distant from God, you’re never too far away from God to come back. What do you need from God today? Take some time to think about your answer to that question, you can even ask God if you’re not sure what your answer is.
Whatever your answers are to the questions above, may this be a summer where you can make space to connect with God, knowing He is excited to get to be with you.
Do you want to listen to the podcast recording of this devotional? Available now anywhere you get your podcasts! Here is a link to the episode.