Feed Me, Seymour: A Search for Real Meaning (Heretic’s Guide)

Feed Me, Seymour: A Search for Real Meaning

(Heretic’s Guide: April 14, 2013)

 

Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!)

Gospel

John 21:1-19
Jesus’ third appearance to the disciples after the resurrection. They’re not catching fish; Jesus tells them to try the other side of the boat and they catch hundreds.

First Reading

Acts 9:1-6
Paul (called Saul until he converted to Christianity, then renamed Paul), the erstwhile professional Christian assassin, encounters Jesus on the road to Damascus. This is a pretty big deal for Paul, and the turning point after which he becomes one of Christianity’s most influential leaders.

Psalm

Psalm 30
King David sings a Psalm (song) of praise to God as part of the dedication of a new temple. God has given David’s life meaning, and he calls out to God for continued help and strength.

Second Reading

Revelation 5:11-14
A fantastical vision from John of Patmos, author of Revelation, wherein every creature on earth is praising Jesus.

 

WTF? (Breaking down scripture in plain language)

Sea of Tiberius – Also called the Sea of Galilee. It’s actually a freshwater lake, and it’s the biggest on in Israel. Jesus spent much of his ministry at or near this lake. Various miracles took place here, including the miracle of the fishes and loaves, Jesus walking on water and Jesus calming the storm.

Lamb – Lambs were really valuable back in Jesus’ day. They were a source of food, wool, milk, and they even helped fertilize fields with their poop! They symbolized lots of things in the Bible. For example, they were used in sacrifices; thus, the references to Jesus being the Lamb of God. They also represented innocence and vulnerability, like when Jesus tells Peter to feed his lambs. He didn’t actually want Peter to feed sheep. Instead he wanted him to care for the most vulnerable of God’s people.

Amen – There are lots of possible translations of this word, but generally, it’s a word of affirmation or agreement. It can be understood to mean, “may it be so,” or “this is true.” Kind of like saying “true dat” or “hellz yeah” today. Well, sort of.

 

Navel-Gazing (First Thoughts)

  • There’s so much in this Gospel account, it’s hard to know where to start. First, there’s the mater of numerology. It’s explicitly noted that this is the third time Jesus has appeared to the disciples after being resurrected. The number three is important, as are lots of repeated numbers throughout scripture. Oh, and PS: why the heck is Peter fishing naked with other guys???
  • Jesus has fish and bread for the disciples on the shore. The scene can cause us to think back to the story of the miracle of fishes and loaves. Also, Jesus hits on this number “three” again by asking Peter if he loves him. It’s a kind of “un-doing” of the three times Peter denied Jesus before his death, but (spoiler alert!) it’s also foreshadowing Peter’s own death as a martyr.

CLICK THROUGH to Heretic’s Guide to the Bible for tons of extra content on this study, including the following in-depth sections:

Digging Deeper (Mining for what really matters…and gold) 

Heads Up (Connecting the text to our world) 

Prayer for the Week 

Popping Off (Resources in pop culture related to the readings)

Plus join us for a LIVE CHAT Wednesday, and watch for special “Year D” Bonus content, coming soon. 

Click to check out the new Heretic’s Guide to the Bible Blog HERE

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.


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