Resurrection Steps

Resurrection Steps
   Watch that first step; it’s a doozy! First steps can be fearful. They take us into unfamiliar territory, places where we are unsure of ourselves. I remember my first step into public speaking in the second grade. I do not remember why I was in front of the class or what I said; all I remember was this tightness in my right pant leg that I had not noticed before. As I was talking, the bulge in my pant leg began to move from my thigh down to my knee and then slithered down my leg and presented itself on top of my tennis shoe. To my horror, it was yesterday’s white and blue stripped underwear that I had left in my pants the night before!
   It is no wonder that first steps can be so intimidating. We put them off and put them off, sometimes making circumstances take the next step for us. Leaving a toxic work environment or a lifeless relationship is not so easy. A lady in my church talked with me about her husband’s alcoholism many times. When I asked why she didn’t leave him, she said, “At least with him I know what to expect.” The fear of the unknown kept her from taking the first step to freedom.
   Jesus’ disciples didn’t know how to take the first steps into living the resurrection life either. Although Jesus had revealed his resurrected body to them several times, they were still reluctant to take the first step. It took a bad fishing trip to move them. (This is recorded in John 21.) Most fishermen will tell you that a bad day fishing is still better than a good day at work, but in this case, fishing and work were one and the same. These professional fishermen fished all night and caught nothing. For guys used to catching fish, this was a blow to their egos. To add insult to injury, the risen Lord showed up on the beach and shouted to them: “‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’” Jesus knowingly predicted their failure (John 21:5). When you don’t take the first steps to live the resurrection life, you will be left empty. Embarrassingly, they had to shout back for all to hear “No!”
   First steps are not easy, but Jesus sweetened it by telling them to throw their nets “‘on the right side of the boat’” to find some fish. “When they did, they were unable to haul in the net because of the large number of fish” (v. 6). It was then that the first steps to living the resurrection life began. They learned that with Jesus in your life anything is possible. Impetuous Peter stripped down to his underwear and jumped into the water and swam ashore. The other disciples rowed the fish-filled boat to the beach (vv. 7-8). It was here they took the first steps to living the resurrection life.
   To begin living the resurrection life, you must come to Jesus. Take the first step, swim, row, or run, but come to Jesus. He is waiting for you, and once you take the first step, the second step is even easier. All you do is commune with him and enjoy resurrection life now!
-Rev. David Mansfield, retired Disciples of Christ pastor