John 21: unable to haul the net

Our pastor has been bringing us God’s word from the book of John.  It has been an incredible journey to learn from.  I have been reading John 21 all week as I have been preparing my heart to sit and hear his word from the last chapter as our church closes out the book of John today.

I love how alive God’s word becomes the longer you sit in it and dissect each little particle.  Alive is exactly the word that I would use to describe what John 21 verses 1-14 did this week as I read over and pondered the amazing truth’s of God’s word.

Read the text from John below: as you read, understand that you are reading about Jesus’ encounter with some of the disciples just a few days after His miraculous death and resurrection.

John 21:1-14: Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”  “No,” they answered.  6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” 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. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.  10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.  (bold added for reference)

Wow! There is so much to learn from those 14 verses that I can barely compartmentalize all of the truths flowing from the Holy Spirit as I read this.  Over the next few days, I would love to share with you 3 amazing truths the Lord used to speak to my heart as I read these words.  I will write about the first truth today:

The disciples were out in the boat fishing all night long and caught nothing. Not a single fish took a bite and hooked onto their poles.  I am sure this was not a pleasure fishing trip for them.  Perhaps this trip was “work” for some of them as fishing was their livelihood.  On a very small-scale for comparison, I can relate to what it feels like to not catch a single fish.  We took our kids fishing yesterday and after a few hours of throwing out the pole and reeling in the line… not a single bite.  The only thing my kids caught was their daddy (twice) and an enormous tree limb.  We were only out fishing for a few hours and fishing is not our means of supporting our family, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to us, but I can’t imagine the frustration of the disciples as they fished all night long and caught NOTHING.  I can assume they were tired, weary, desperate and full of despair.

BUT THEN, the scene drastically takes a turn.  In walks Jesus and everything changes for the better.  He appeared to His friends and simply tells them to put their nets to the RIGHT side of the boat and we all clap and give hooray’s over what event occurred next.  THEY WERE UNABLE TO HAUL IN THEIR NET BECAUSE OF THE LARGE NUMBER OF FISH!!! Can you even stand it?  What an amazing miracle.  I love that Jesus was already a step ahead of them preparing the way.  I also love that He tells them to put their net on the right side of the boat.  Do you ever feel like you are fishing on the wrong side of the boat?  You may not be far off from the treasure, but just enough to not even be able to see or feel it.

Jesus called out to them and asked “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” He already knew the answer.  He already knew what miracle He would next perform.  He already had everything under control and a perfect plan to bring them more treasure than they could even carry in.  However, He wanted to hear from his friends.  He wanted them to trust Him, to obey and follow His commands.  Following His command at times requires a lot from us and more sacrifice on our part than we think we can muster up.  Other times, all He needs us to do is move over to the right side of the boat just a smidgen.  Either way, the end result will always lead us to victory.  I am so thankful that Jesus is always a step ahead and prepares the way to great and amazing treasure!  Is that Him calling out to you now?  Are you ready to haul in that net full of fish?


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