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If Jesus had not risen from the dead, we can expect that his disciples would have chosen one of two options. According to N.T. Wright, the “normal options open” to the disciples following Jesus’ demise were: they could have chosen to go back to fishing and other former occupations, or they could have chosen a replacement as messiah from among Jesus’ blood relatives, like James. As the story goes, they did not choose either option. Instead, according to the New Testament witness, following the resurrection, their faith in Jesus underwent resuscitation.
Take Peter, for example. It looks as if he was already leaning toward the first of the two options Wright presents—Peter went fishing, just like he used to do. He’s not alone. Some of the other disciples joined him. Here’s the account of their fishing expedition recorded in John 21:
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After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing (John 21:1-3; ESV).
The account sounds strikingly familiar. Earlier in the gospels, Peter and his companions were out fishing all night long but caught nothing (See Luke 5:1-11). Moreover, in both instances (Luke’s and John’s accounts), Jesus tells them to throw out their nets again. They did not recognize Jesus at first in the account recorded in John 21, not until they cast their nets and haul in an unbelievably large load, just like in the earlier incident:
Day - Jesus
Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the...
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