Sep 5, 2013
John 21:1-14 KJV
Peter’s suggestion to go fishing was made during a period of doubt surrounding the claims of Christ to be the Son of God. Jesus, who had earlier called him from fishing fish to fish men, had since been crucified, and he along with his fellow disciples were not sure what to make of Him. Certain reports had come to them earlier about Him been seen alive but those soon crashed against the hard wall of skepticism that characterized them. It is with these seeds of uncertainty firmly planted in their minds that Peter made the suggestion to go fishing. The gentle waves of the Sea of Tiberias called to them and the thought of landing some “big ones” stirred up fairly fresh memories, lying just beneath the surface.
The result however did not match the enthusiasm. An entire night of toiling yielded no fruit and nothing in the boat justified the soreness in their limbs. In the early morning hours a voice pierced their depressed mood, beckoning them to cast their net on the right side with the guarantee that they would find. The generous and instantaneous results forced them into the conclusion that it was Jesus who had so ordered them. Marvelous! With one word from Jesus, their barren laborious night was changed to a bountiful and joyous morning. They caught more than fish! Seeing Jesus alive again and observing that His miraculous power had not diminished in the post Calvary era was a big catch. The restoration of their conviction in the divinity of Jesus was a fish, bigger and more pleasing than any of those trashing around in their boat.
We like the disciples of Jesus are all fisher men. We cast the net of our lives in the sea of our activities, looking for the big catch. We cast away through the long night of years with nothing more than the impaired guidance of human wisdom to coach us. We have toiled all night under the direction of our own captaincy and have caught nothing. In the freshness of the dawn of a new year comes a new opportunity. It comes from the most knowledgeable net-caster who ever lived. He cast His net for thirty three years and never once came up empty. His name is Jesus. His words to His first century disciples are still meaningful. “Cast your net on the right side of the ship!” These words are simple but profound. In them is found a gentle but clear call to stop doing things our own way and start doing them God’s way.
We can all use this counsel can’t we? Husbands, who have been ruling their wives by fear, intimidation and threats and have caught nothing, can cast their nets on the right side of unconditional love, kind words and patient service. Wives who have been employing the “nag-him-to-death” strategy with their husbands and have found that it has caught for them neither romance nor respect, can cast their nets on the right side of the meek and gentle spirit, described in Scripture as a priceless commodity. Preachers and leaders who have been on the wrong side of inconsistency and indifference can cast their nets on the right side of caring leadership that says without fear of contradiction “cast your net how you see me cast mine”. Christians who cast their nets on the worldly side of gossip and live by the I-don’t-need-you philosophy ought to know by now that such casting is wrong and catches us nothing. Instead they can cast on the right side of gracious words seasoned with salt that build up rather than tear down.
Christ guarantees a catch for us. Instead of an aimless drifting through life, we catch the fishes of joy, direction and a fulfilled purpose now, and beyond deaths door, we catch the big fish of eternal life.