“Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.” – John 21:1-13
Happy Easter everyone! Jesus Christ is alive forevermore! Today we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of our savior. The gospels give a beautiful, tragic and ultimately victorious account of Christ’s death and resurrection. Reading through the Gospel of John, the account above really stuck out to me this year. Trout season has begun with the beautiful weather we have been enjoying this year. Reading through this passage, verses 3 – 4 told an actual honest fishing story: “…and that night they caught nothing.” I can visualize these men in my mind walking on the banks of the Sea of Galilee talking to one another saying something along the lines of “Well, he’s not here yet and I’m hungry… let’s go fishing!” That’s exactly what they did, and by the time it was done they and Christ can teach us even today some very important lessons.
Here are a few things that this passage reminded me of that I wanted to share:
- Verse 3: You don’t have to change everything about who you are after you come to Christ. He will clean you up and remove the parts of your life that aren’t honoring to him so long as you seek him. Amazingly, he can and will use the rest of you to uniquely bring his light to the world if you allow him to change you. As shown here, several of the Disciples of Christ were fishermen before they became disciples so it was only natural for them to be out fishing on the sea come morning. (Read Matthew 4:18-22 for more!)
- Verses 4 – 6: The net may be good, the weather beautiful, the water crystal clear and you just KNOW that there are fish in the sea… however, if it’s not in the Lord’s timing, our efforts will falter and we’ll come up unsuccessful. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to pull in the nets and head to shore. It just means that we need to stay on the sea a little longer and keep the nets out and wait to hear His voice. Somehow we get it in our minds that we’re going to make things happen, but these were professional fishermen and look how it turned out. That night of failure was in God’s plan for them to show Christ’s power and glory come morning.
- Verse 7: After you’ve spent enough time with Christ, you’ll start to recognize him through the fog and mist of life’s adventures long before anyone else (sadly, they may not even see him at all). By putting the time into building a relationship with him, you’ll be like John and notice him when things aren’t working out in your own power and understanding. (Read Luke 5:1-11 to see why John recognized Jesus first!)
- Verse 10: This miracle was Jesus’ last recorded miracle AND the only recorded miracle after his resurrection. More importantly than those facts however, is that it completes a long list of miracles that show us that God uses what we have in our lives to honor him. Often, what we have in our hands is all that we need to serve him. We don’t have to go out and buy a brand new ‘whatchamacallit’ or have a fancy title before or after our name to be a vessel that honors the Lord. You must only be willing to give yourself and what you have to serve him.
- Verses 12-13: These verses tell me clearly that Jesus is concerned for the needs of his own and will supply those needs. He knew that these men, who he loved dearly, had gone all night without catching fish. He knew that they were frustrated after a night of fruitless fishing (their answer when asked if they had any food was only one word… “No”). He had prepared some breakfast for them, and accepted the fish they brought in at his command.
Finally, and most importantly to us, is that this passage shows that Christ wants to care for his followers. He wanted to have breakfast with them so he himself prepared it. Before the day started, he wanted to spend time with them. On this day, as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we encourage you to spend time having the Lord feed your spirit. If we are going to follow his command in Mark 16:15 (“…Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone”, we must slow down and seek him out before the journey. The sun is cresting over the horizon, the coals are smoldering down and breakfast is ready… will he be feeding you today?