Its 39 years ago since I left the fishing industry and many things would have changed during this period. In those days radio contact was on “short wave”. Although we have advanced so with technology where cellphone could be used as satellites are all over in the skies, I am certain they still use radars and sonars. “Sonars send out sound waves or signals into the water that rebound when they strike an object. The fish reflects some of the signal back to the trawler … the remainder of the signal continues to the seafloor and then bounces back to the trawler.” (Lowrance Electronics, Inc.). These disciple never had any equipment other than their knowledge of the weather, nature, sea conditions and experience.
1) It is most likely that these fishermen were disheartened for not capturing a net of fish.
Jn 21:5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” No,” they answered.
That single word in response tells the story. Casting the net by hand. Rowing the boat around where they thought the fish would be, then hauling in the net by hand was a mammoth task. They did not have hydraulic winches or motorized boats. It was hard work and they were disheartened at not getting a haul through the night. In Christian ministry of whatever nature there are many times when we become disheartened because we see no fruit. As long as we work hard and are faithful we are serving God and doing want He wants us to do. He will give fruit in His time. When we planted a Church with another family, I would walk throughout the suburb’s streets almost monthly putting flyers into letter boxes. The weather was either hot, rainy or windy. The 800 houses, because of the vast area took almost all of a Saturday. I was exhausted and very tired once reaching home. For months there was no fruit. I was often discouraged until the Lord showed me that I was serving Him because each flyer was an evangelistic note … and then that was good enough for me. In His time He gave the fruit.
2) Jesus knows where to fish. He is the Creator and His spiritual sonar detects where the fish are all the time. They were there … He knew where “there” was!
Jn 21:6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
However, there was more to it than knowing where the fish were. He wanted his disciples to believe Him. True they at this stage did not know this “stranger” talking to them was Jesus, but they needed to trust. They needed faith and they did … but perhaps, not at first for we read … When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
(1) When they did” seems to tell us that there might have been hesitancy. How often are you and I hesitant to respond to Jesus when He speaks to us through His Word? It might be in our daily devotions; it might be through a sermon or at Bible Study … and we wait … losing out the blessings and serving time.
(2) As soon as they trusted Jesus and did as He said … they were “unable” to haul in the net. There were too many fish in the net. Consider
Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Why is it that we don’t seek to appropriate and enjoy the “every spiritual blessings in Christ” if God has blessed us with them? The disciples, even though they did not know it was Jesus talking, needed to trust the talker … we need to do just that. If we do trust our Lord, without us looking purposefully for these blessings, we will recognize them as we walk in faith and holiness each day!
(3) The apostle John recognized the stranger as the Lord Jesus.
Jn 21:7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
John was the youngest disciple … possibly just into his twenties at this stage. When He writes “the disciple whom Jesus loved” he does not mean he was favored with more love, affection or appreciation … rather, as the human author of the text he never mentions his name. He only says something like … “I’m loved by Jesus”. You and I who are born again have every right to say that we are loved by God.
Jude 1:1 To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: 2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Think through the following question: “What more do you need than the love of God?”
3) Peter’s impulsive reaction. He hears John’s words, puts on his cloak, jumps into the water and rushes to Jesus. As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. Some of us are as impulsive as Peter was, others are not. Why did Peter do this? When you read the post resurrection accounts of Jesus meeting His disciples, you find He meets them on Resurrection Sunday night behind locked doors (John 20:19-23) and a week later when Thomas was with them (John 2-:26-29). To this point there has been no interaction between Jesus and Peter since Peter denied Jesus three times. Although Peter was impulsive, here he needed to get to Jesus as soon as He could because he still felt the weight of denying his Lord the way he did. It will take some time before he is reinstated, but he needed to be with the Lord immediately. The text does not telling us of any engagement until verse 15. May I say that we need to be impulsive once we have sinned and offended the Lord. We need to get to Him as soon as possible and plead for pardon.
(4) A net full of fish.
Jn 21:8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
Even though they were so close to the shore, rowing a boat with a net full of fish being dragged behind them was no mean task. The picture is of six disciples working together, heaving their oars in tandem to get the boat and the catch to the shore to see Jesus … so that they could be with their Lord. All in the boat worked to achieve success. This is the method of work God requires within His Church.
Eph 4:16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Have you ever wondered when Jesus will return?
2Pe 3:11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
We speed that day’s coming through serving as a team.
Father, trusting You is our joy. Amen.