Some people are fans of fishing. While I’m not a big fan, I don’t mind it probably because when it comes to those kinds of things I’m an optimist. I always think that the next cast of the line will be the one where I catch a big fish.
We read in John 21 an incredible story of a big fishing haul. It was only 3 and a half years before the moment captured in this passage, that the same group of men we read about here had been walking by these same shores and had met a man named Jesus – who called out to them and told them to follow Him. They started the journey with so much hope and expectation – perhaps they did not quite realise what they were getting themselves into, but there was something different about the man who called to them that day. They knew the promises of the scriptures – the Messiah was prophesied to come, perhaps this was the moment and this was the man who would set them free from the Romans.
Here in John 21, the disciples had found themselves back by the water in Galilee after the turbulent few weeks that had followed Christ’s death and resurrection.
It is not hard to imagine the disappointment they now felt. They had imagined the Messiah as someone who would set them free from earthly oppression, but that hadn’t happened. Life as they had once known had been put on hold for years, and now they were back to it. I am sure they asked themselves: what now?
Peter, who had frequently proclaimed his love for Christ, had failed so spectacularly and carried that failure as a heavy burden. I am sure he too asked himself, what now? Can I ever come back from this?
As the disciples walk along the waters edge, Peter makes a suggestion (John 21:3)
3 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.
4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows,[c] have you caught any fish?”
“No,” they replied.
6 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.
7 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 exchange that follows tells us all about how Jesus leads and encourages us when we deal with failure, disappointment and the unexpected.
I encourage you to listen along as we explore some practical tips together.