I. Expressed by Biblical characters
II. Exclaimed by us
John 21:1-14 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the
Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called 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 Simon Peter climbed aboard 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.
In the name of Jesus Christ, who once was dead, but now is alive and victorious,
dear Christian friends,
It probably took twelve years...maybe more! Jesus’ mother Mary and her
husband Joseph burped him, changed him and raised him, but perhaps never really saw
who he was until he stayed behind in Jerusalem and explained that he had to be in his
heavenly Father’s house. It was perhaps after that event at his twelve-year-old status
when Mary and Joseph said to one another, “I can see clearly now!”
I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW!
I. Expressed by Biblical characters
II. Exclaimed by us
“This one— our son!— is the one about whom the Old Testament writers
prophesied and pointed to as Savior for the Jews and Gentiles alike! He is the Messiah,
the Christ, the Anointed One! He is the one who will crush Satan and set us free from
our sins and reign over our father David’s throne forever!”
How many of the five thousand plus who ate of the five loaves of bread and two
fish and were satisfied were able to say, after just one day of being around Jesus, “I can
see clearly now!”? Who would have been more likely to spill the beans about what they
had seen even though Jesus told them not to— the deaf and mute man whom Jesus
healed or the crowd who witnessed it? How long did it take for Nicodemus, a member
of the Jewish ruling council, after his undercover-of-the-night meeting with Jesus, to be
able to say under his breath or evenutally out loud, “I can see clearly now!”? Whether it
was through Jesus’ wonderful work or a wise word, many Biblical characters were able
to see and state Jesus as their Savior because the blindfold of unbelief had been
removed and saving faith was given.
While some like Mary Magdalene, Cleopas and his companion, Peter, John and
the rest of the eleven remaining disciples may have already been thinking and saying
that Jesus was the promised Messiah before Jesus’ death on the cross when darkness
covered the whole land, it seems like they needed the light of faith turned on again in
order to see Jesus as alive and victorious!
Mary, in her lack of understanding regarding Jesus’ resurrection, initially mistook
him for the gardener, but then recognized him as the Master Teacher and could say, “I
can see clearly now!” Cleopas and the other disciple, on their way to Emmaus that first
Easter, first saw Jesus as an out-of-touch out-of-towner, but then could say, “We can
see clearly now!” after Jesus shared the Scriptures and broke the bread with them.
Peter, John and the other disciples first thought Jesus was a ghost when he appeared to
them on Easter evening, but after he ate with them and “opened their minds so they
could understand the Scriptures”, they could confidently express, “We can see clearly
In today’s reading, now more than one week after he first appeared to his
disciples, and at least one day after appearing to them with Thomas in attendance, early
in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was
Jesus. From a distance, at the dawn of a new day, it would not be easy to distinguish
faces or voices. For this reason, or because Jesus did not want them to know who he
was right away (e.g. Lk 24:16), these seven disciples could not see clearly.
So, Jesus did what he did earlier in his ministry— he shows them where to fish.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 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.
By this miracle, Jesus shows them who he is! John catches on right away, saying
to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Peter— always impetuous Peter— is also on board with this
identification, but then goes overboard to get to his Savior as quickly as possible! Seeing
this miracle and having already seen Jesus two other times alive, none of the disciples
dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
It takes a miracle for anyone to be able to say about Jesus, “I can see clearly
now!” And we are no exceptions! By nature, we are blind to the light of salvation,
unable to see the goodness of God, lacking the sight to view Jesus as Savior. This
spiritual blindness means we will walk right into the fires of hell and remain there
This is what makes the miracle of baptism so important and so impressive! Even
though it is simple water, it packs a wallop as the Word of God gives it the power to
bring saving faith so we can see Jesus as our only way out of hell. It washes away our sin
and brings us into the family of God.
I wish I could tell you that with spiritual sight, you will never go blind again or
that you will never carry out deeds of darkness. Unfortunately, the sinful nature
continues in each one of us and the devil continues his work among each one of us and
we go right back into our damning, deceitful, and disgusting ways.
So, I encourage you each day to remember your baptism that brought you saving
faith! Each day, reflect on the fact that Jesus’ forgiveness covers over a multitude of
sins— those of your past, present and future! By your baptism, you can say, “I can see
clearly now that Jesus is my Savior!”
This is also where we see the importance of weekly worship, daily devotions,
Sunday School, Catechism and Bible Classes. These can serve as corrective eyeglasses
for any weakening in our eyes of faith. In each of these areas, the Holy Spirit is at work
to remind us what Jesus has done for us and to renew in us a desire to live a life that is
pleasing to him.
Did you notice that it was John who first recognized Jesus on the shore that day
and then he told Peter? He didn’t keep what he knew to himself. He wanted others to
see what he saw.
It is our role, and our goal, to show others what we have seen! Turn on the light
for the unbeliever by describing for them what they cannot see— how gracious God is,
how good Jesus’ forgiveness is, how glorious heaven will be! As you tell others about
Jesus, trust the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of their hearts so they can also say, “I can
see clearly now!”
For 51 years, Bob Edens was blind. He couldn't see a thing. His world was a
black hall of sounds and smells. He felt his way through five decades of darkness. And
then, a skilled surgeon performed a complicated operation and, for the first time, Bob
Edens could see! He found it overwhelming saying, "I never would have dreamed that
yellow is so...yellow," he exclaimed. "I don't have the words. I am amazed by yellow.
But red is my favorite color. I just can't believe red. I can see the shape of the moon--
and I like nothing better than seeing a jet plane flying across the sky leaving a vapor trail.
And of course, sunrises and sunsets. And at night I look at the stars in the sky and the
flashing light. You could never know how wonderful everything is." (Max Lucado, God
Came Near, Multnomah Press, 1987, p. 13).
This is what it was like when we came to see Jesus as our Savior— from darkness
to light, from wickedness to wonderful, a complete transformation! This is what it will
be like when others come to see him that way, too!