THE VISION OF THE SEVEN FISHERMEN
 OUR Lord had now shown himself alive to
most of the apostles, and to a few others. They
were all able to say that they had seen him
face to face. But there were two who would
not believe, even on the word of all these honest
One of these unbelievers was James, our
Lord's brother. James had never believed that
Jesus was the Son of God. He believed, indeed,
that the King would come, the King of
Glory, but that his own brother with whom
he had played as a boy was the King of Glory
seemed to him impossible. James had not appeared
when Jesus left the carpenter's bench
and began to preach. At one time, he had
convinced himself and his brothers that Jesus
was out of his right mind, and they had gone
to bring him back. None of his brothers believed.
They all loved him: we may be sure
 of that. But their love did not make them his
disciples. All this must have grieved our Lord.
He must often have remembered his unbelieving
family in the midst of his new friends.
And now that he had come back out of the
grave, one of the first persons whom he sought
was James. What he said, and what James
answered, we know not; but after that our
Lord's brothers were always found in the company
of the disciples.
The other unbeliever was Thomas. He had,
as we have seen, a gloomy way of thinking,
and was always sure that things would turn
out for the worse instead of for the better.
"Let us go with him," he said once, "that
we may die with him." Thomas had seen our
Lord upon the cross, and he could think of
nothing but the nails in his hands and feet
and the gash of the spear in his side. The two
came and said, "Thomas, last night at supper
while you were away we saw the Lord. He
came into the room where we were and blessed
us." Thomas answered, "I know that you all
think so, but it is something which I cannot
 possibly believe on any evidence except that
of my own senses. Except I shall see in his
hands the print of the nails, and put my finger
into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand
into his side, I will not believe." So the days
went on till Sunday came again; and that evening
as they sat together, and Thomas with
them, still having the doors tight shut, again
came Jesus, and appeared of a sudden in the
midst of them; saying as before, "Peace be
unto you." Then he said to Thomas, "Reach
hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and
reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my
side; and be not faithless but believing."
And Thomas tried the tests. Down he fell
upon his face, crying, "My Lord and my
God." And Jesus said, "Thomas, because
thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed
are they that have not seen, and yet
Sometimes even those who saw him did not
believe; for though he was the same friend
and master who had died upon the cross, and
had in his body the marks of his suffering,
 yet he was mysteriously different. Two disciples
could walk with him and hear him talk
and yet have no idea who he was. He appeared
and vanished. He lived, but the new life was
not a continuation of the old. He did not
come back as Lazarus did, having the body of
our common human nature. He had now, as
St. Paul says, a spiritual body. Though when
we say that, we are not much wiser than we
were before, for we do not know what a spiritual
At last there came a time when days and
days passed by without a sight of him. Even
on Sunday, which they were beginning to call
the Lord's day, he did not visit them. When
he would come again, they did not know; and
he had given them no directions. They knew
not what to think or what to do. One day,
Peter and Thomas, and Nathaniel, and James
and John, and two others, all fishermen, were
talking together, and Peter said, "I am going
a-fishing." The others answered, "We also
will go with thee." They could not bear to be
idle; they would return to their old trade. So
 they got into a boat and went out upon the
lake, as they had done so many times before,
and fished all night with a torch in the stern
of the boat to attract the fish. But they
caught nothing. And it began to be morning.
A faint light appeared in the east, the
water changed from black to gray, and a dim
line of shore appeared.
And on the shore somebody stood and
called. "Boys," he cried, as one says to
fishermen, "have you caught anything?" They
answered, "No." He said, "Cast the net on
the right side of the boat." So they cast the
net on the right side of the boat, and so many
fish came into it that they could not pull it
over the side. Immediately John said, "It is
the Lord." And Peter, when he heard that,
fastened his coat about him and jumped into
the water, and so swam ashore. The others
rowed the boat, dragging the net with fishes.
As soon, then, as they were come to land they
saw a fire of coals burning on the shore, and fish
laid upon it, and bread, and the stranger standing
beside it. The stranger said, "Bring some
 of the fish which you have caught." Peter
went to help and they drew the net to land,
and counted the great fishes, a hundred and
fifty and three; and for all there were so
many, yet was the net not broken. The stranger
then invited them to breakfast. "Come,"
he said, "and eat of the meal which I have
prepared," and he gave them bread and fish.
All this time they looked at him, and at one
another, and then back at him. He seemed
a very friendly stranger. There was something
familiar, too, about him, stranger though
he was. Indeed, they all knew that he who
stood beside the fire and fed them was the
Lord himself. But was it the Lord, indeed?
They wished to say, "Who are you?" but
they dared not ask the question. It was the
Lord, but they did not know him as they
would have known Andrew or Matthew. They
recognized him with their hearts rather than
with their eyes.
So they breakfasted together on the sand.
And after they had eaten, the Lord turned to
Peter. "Simon, he said, calling him by his
 other name, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest
thou me more than these?" "Yes, Lord,"
said Peter, "thou knowest that I love thee."
But he did not claim to be a better lover than
the others: he had learned the hard lesson of
humility. The Lord said, "Feed my Lambs."
The fisherman was to be a shepherd; the
lambs which he was to feed were to be the little
children of the flock of Christ. He was to
show his love by his great care for them.
Then the Lord said a second and a third
time, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"
And when Peter again assured him of his love,
he answered, "Feed my sheep." Thus Peter,
who had three times denied his master, spoke
now these three times to tell him that he truly