The 40 days that elapsed between the time of our Lord's Resurrection and His ultimate Ascension into heaven are shrouded in mystery. It is evident that He spent a great portion of this period instructing His disciples in the "things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). According to the Gospel, Jesus patiently "opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45).
The Scriptures show us that Christ's appearances during these 40 days were selective and somewhat secretive, thus explaining why belief in His rising from the dead was far from being universally accepted as truth. It is interesting to note as well that when our Lord appeared to His Own Apostles, they often DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM initially!
Today's icon depicts one such appearance. Several of Christ's beloved followers, including Peter, James and John, had spent the night on an unsuccessful fishing excursion on the Sea of Galilee off the coast of Tiberias. The next morning, Jesus appeared to them on the shore, asking for some food! Upon hearing that they had not caught any fish, their Master instructed them to cast their nets off the boat. After catching so many fish that their nets were breaking, the Apostles finally realized that it was Jesus with Whom they were speaking. Peter was so eager to join Him that he dove into the sea and swam to shore!
This appearance of the Risen Christ and the miraculous catch of fish by His disciples symbolizes their great commission to become "FISHERS OF MEN." This incident reminds US, as well, of OUR commitment to seek out others and bring them to Christ and His Church.
The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin – Cliffwood, NJ