John, The Love of God
When we are sad, frustrated, overwhelmed, mourning the loss of someone, or in transition between jobs and ministry, as humans we have a tendency to go back to what we knew well and do that for a while until the next door opens. I have done it a few times and I bet you have, too. Going back, to what we knew how to do and be, soothes our troubled minds, restores our confidence and peace and allows us to not sit in a stagnate pool of self pity.
Peter knew fishing. When Jesus called to him to follow him, Peter was fishing. To catch fish was his livelihood. It fed his family. His enthusiasm to get up and go fishing was contagious. Some of the other disciples who were also missing Jesus and missing his daily companionship decided to jump up and follow Peter when he declared, “I’m going fishing!”
I don’t think it mattered if they caught anything, but they had to DO something. They fished all night. They caught nothing. When the sun rose in the morning sky, they see a man waving to them from the beach. He yells a typical question to fishermen, “Did you catch anything for breakfast?”
Then Jesus reminds them of when they were first called to follow him in ministry by asking them to cast the net off the right side of the boat and “see what happens”. Flashback! They caught so many fish they needed help to pull it in. John says to Peter, “It’s the Master!”
Peter (in Peter fashion) immediately jumps into the sea and swims to Jesus, leaving the fish behind. Once again. To see Jesus!
Jesus serves a breakfast of fish and bread to his disciples, also reminiscent of their past ministry together when they blessed a few fish and loaves of bread and fed thousands. Can you hear the conversation and laughter. “Remember when…” they say.
Jesus, only Jesus, can come to us in the “stuck in neutral” times in our lives and remind us of the how He taught and invited us to His work in the past. Jesus has a way, still today, of “serving us a breakfast” of encouragement just when we need it most. He has for me. I pray He will for you…just when you need it most. Maybe it is even today.
Use the good thoughts of how God helped us in the past to move us forward with encouragement for the challenge of future ministry. After breakfast and just being with Jesus, He then challenges Peter with what lies ahead for him. Read and be blessed and encouraged.
Jesus loves us all very deeply. He loves us where we are right now. He loves us enough to always move us forward. This relationship between Jesus and you (and me) is very personal. He singles us out, like Peter, and speaks to individual hearts. Listen….to Him. Be restored (like Peter), blessed and encouraged. Let’s go fishing!
John 21, The Message
21 1-3 After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.”
3-4 The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.
5 Jesus spoke to them: “Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?”
They answered, “No.”
6 He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.”
They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’t strong enough to pull it in.
7-9 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!”
When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.
10-11 Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn’t rip.
12 Jesus said, “Breakfast is ready.” Not one of the disciples dared ask, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Master.
13-14 Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead.
Do You Love Me?
15 After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”
17-19 Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.”
20-21 Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”
22-23 Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?”
24 This is the same disciple who was eyewitness to all these things and wrote them down. And we all know that his eyewitness account is reliable and accurate.
25 There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books.
On a personal note…
This passage of that tells us of the relationships between Jesus and his followers is very personal to me. I can recall quite a few times when Jesus has “served breakfast” to me to encourage me to look back only long enough to see how God works so I could get up and “go fishing” once more.
Dear Heavenly Father,
In Jesus Name, Amen