The Uniform Series text for Sunday, April 8 is John 21:1-14. Here are some questions we might or might not want to consider in class:
Verse 2 lists the names of the disciples, including two unnamed members of the group. What difference does knowing the names of the disciples make in the way we hear this story? (e.g., do we have a more vivid image of the scene?) Why is that, do we think? Does anything we know about these particular disciples affect what we think this story might mean? What is that (e.g., that Thomas is called “doubting Thomas,” that Simon Peter is thought of as the first leader of the church, other …)? What effect does that have on our thinking? Why?
The text doesn’t say why Simon Peter decides to go fishing. Readers have had many ideas about this (e.g., that he doesn’t know what to do next, that he is returning to something familiar, that he needs “to blow off steam,” …) What difference does Simon Peter’s motive here make to us? Does it affect the way we understand the story? How? Does it affect what we think the story means for us? How? Do we think his decision to go fishing was a mistake? Why do we think that? What do we think he should have been doing instead? Why?
In verse 3, the disciples fish all night and catch nothing. In verse 6, they catch an abundance of fish. Does what we are told in verses 4 & 5 explain the difference in the outcomes? What are we told, and how does that explain the difference, do we think? Does how we answer this question make a difference in what we think this story means for us? What difference does it make? Why?
Notice that in verse 6, the disciples follow the instructions given by the man on the beach before they recognize him as Jesus. Why, do we think? Does this affect what we think is happening in the story? How? Does it affect what we think this story means for us? How? Why?
In verse 7, the “disciple whom Jesus loved” recognizes the man on the beach as “the Lord.” In verse 12, all the disciples recognize the man as “the Lord.” What seems to allow them to recognize Jesus? Why does that allow them to recognize Jesus? What does that mean for us? Why? [More personal] Have we ever recognized Christ’s presence or involvement in something we are doing? What allowed us to recognize Christ in that situation?
What does it mean that the disciples eat breakfast with Jesus? Does it matter that Jesus shares his food with them? How – what does that mean?
[More personal] Does this story support, or challenge, the way we think the results of our work are related to divine presence, approval or assistance? How? Have we ever worked hard, with few or no tangible results? What have we thought that means? Why have we thought that? Have we ever had surprising results from our efforts? What have we thought that means? Why have we thought that? Does it make a difference how we answer this question? What difference? Why?