The catch

John 21: 3 – 6

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are also coming with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.

But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish to eat, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find the fish.” So they cast it, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great quantity of fish.

The back story is that as far as the disciples were concerned Jesus was dead and this whole revival was a washout. Even if they believed he had arisen, they didn’t know what that meant for them. What were they to do now that the Lord was gone? So, they reverted back to what they knew. They went fishing. Fishing is what they did before they met Jesus.

The disciples fished all night and caught nothing. How exasperating that must have been. They went back to what they knew and failed miserably. The next morning as they were returning to shore, they encountered Jesus standing on the beach. They didn’t know who it was though. He called out to them telling them to cast their net on the right-hand side of the boat. Amazingly, they did as he said which resulted in a great catch.

Imagine their situation though. These fellows knew how to fish. It was their area of expertise. Here they were returning with an empty boat after a long night of fishing. What would your reaction have been if some joker on the shore who probably got a good night’s sleep told you to cast your nets yet again and specifically to cast them on a particular side of the boat? I mean who is this guy and why is he getting in their business?

As you see, they did comply, and the quantity of fish was so great that they couldn’t even haul it aboard. They had to drag the net to the shore. As soon as John saw the enormous catch he said, “It is the Lord!” (v. 7). John knew the blessing of the Lord when he saw it. He knew that catch was the manifestation of Jesus on the scene, so he knew at once who the man on the shore had to be.

What a tremendous story this is, but it also teaches us something. It represents doing things our way versus doing life according to Jesus’ instructions. I will tell you plainly, I am like the disciples. Let’s just figure out what to do and get on with it. However, if we will wait on the Lord and inquire of him, we will receive a tremendous haul rather than having to wash a bunch of nets which netted us nothing. How much energy do we throw at something only to get minimal or even no results? If we would but check in with Jesus first, we can be eating fish instead of washing empty nets.

It also seems that when we do business, ministry, or whatever according to Jesus’ leading and instructions, we get more done in less time. Those boys could have saved themselves a whole night of fishing. One gets the sense from this passage that as soon as they let down their net according to Jesus’ instructions, they immediately took in a great haul. Whatsmore, they did not have to let down their nets multiple times. Just one cast got them a catch so large that they could barely tow it to shore.

So, what sounds better to you, toil or results? Here is what I am saying to myself. Get up in the morning and read my Bible and pray first. Check in with Jesus about the day and let him guide my steps and work. Frankly, my plate is full enough that I don’t need to waste my time on useless enterprises. Jesus, just tell me what to do that I may bear fruit! Now, what do you say?

Goin’ Fishin’

Luke 5: 1 – 11

Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

How about a nice Bible story today? This is like being in vacation Bible school just hearing the marvelous stories about our dear Jesus. You know, there is something to be said for just sitting and listening to stories about Jesus. It is a very simple approach to “church” but one which bears great fruit. Read the story or better still ask for a volunteer to read the story and then just let people express what was significant to them in the story. Here we are merely facilitators and Jesus gets to teach and minister. 

If you asked me to tell what I found most noteworthy in the story today it would be that Jesus did not use Simon’s boat without offering a blessing in return. Peter (Simon) didn’t ask Jesus for payment. Jesus just blessed him; a blessing for a blessing. That preached louder than anything Jesus could say. Notice Simon Peter’s reaction. He understood that the grace and power of God had entered his space. 

Jesus got four disciples that day, James and John, Peter and Andrew, Peter’s brother. In that beginning was the core of Jesus’ team. Some might call the fishing expedition “the meeting after the meeting.” It wasn’t just what Jesus said while sitting in the boat but what he showed afterwards. Remarkably, Luke does not tell us what Jesus said but he recounts the fishing trip and the great haul that resulted therefrom. Very interesting!

I invite you to go to our blogsite and tell us what jumped out at you from this story.