by Duane Maust
John 21: 1-19
April 22, 2007
At church we have a cross on the back wall; today we have a Bass that Nathan caught to remind us of the big fish Jesus helped them find in the verses today.
This is a good passage to study at Pine Lake Camp. Here we are talking about fishing and we are out here by the lake. It sounds like Peter wanted to get away from everything and just go fishing for the night. Apparently that was when they would catch the most fish. When the other disciples heard that Peter was wanting to go fishing, they wanted to join in on the idea. They needed a break too. There ended up being 7 of them going fishing that night.
This is sort of like the plans that my nephew and I started to make. Jonathan and I thought it would be fun to ride motorcycles around Lake Huron. That is up through Michigan and back through Canada. I think the last count is at nine that want to join us. The more the merrier. It was like that that night going fishing. They enjoyed being together. The disciples were through a lot together the last couple of weeks and they just wanted to be together.
When they went fishing, they would throw a net over the fish. The net would have weights on it that would pull the net down over the fish. They were throwing that net all night and did not catch one fish. I bet that was discouraging. You want something to show for all your work.
One time I remember a fisherman using a fly rod in our pond on the farm. It was so graceful looking to see him swing his rod back and forth. That day he found a bed of bream and had his son just behind him to unhook the fish and put them in a bucket. They had a real rhythm going.
The nets that Peter was using worked like a fly rod. They would drag it through back and forth until they caught something. They would cast them back and forth.
We have a fisherman here with us this morning. He and his dad were fishing here at Pine Lake this past Tuesday. Zachary Shelly, would you come up so I could ask you some questions?
First question- Did you catch any fish?
How big was it?
How many did your dad catch?
How big was his?
What were you using for bait?
What would have you done if you caught 153 big fish at one time?
Thanks, Zach. I hope you can show your dad how to get the big one next time.
Back to the Bible story. Here we have the disciples fish all night and have nothing to show. Not a good fishing story, is it?
They have this guy from the shore telling them to throw the net on the other side of the boat. They were just several hundred feet from the shore. So they try the other side. When that net hit the water, it was so full of fish they couldn’t pull it up. If they did try to pull it up it probably would have torn the net.
Read verses 5-7
How did Jesus know where the fish were?
What I have pictured here next is that Peter just jumped into the water and pulled the net along up to the shore with the boat following. I bet they were doing some hollering.
When they got to the shore they realized Jesus had a fire already for them for breakfast. Jesus had bread and fish already for them.
(Read John 14:21) The disciples obeyed.
We are going to have a fish fry here. When we eat this noon, maybe we can think about those fish Jesus had ready for them that morning when we eat the fish today. I was thinking about the volume of fish they had that morning. They had 153 large fish. I would guess that they might have had ten times the amount of fish we will eat today. Then there is a turn from fishing. Jesus gets personal to Peter.
Let me read these last verses again. Vs 15-19 from the Message
Jesus asked this question three times; and there was a reason for that. It was three times that Peter denied his Lord, and it was three times that his Lord gave him the chance to affirm his love. Jesus allowed Peter three times to declare his love to Jesus.
In the Barclay Bible Commentary it says that we should note what love brought Peter. It brought him a task. “If you love me,” Jesus said, “then give your life to shepherding the sheep and the lambs of my flock. We can prove that we love Jesus only by loving others. Love is the greatest privilege in the world, but it brings the greatest responsibility. It brought Peter a cross. Jesus said to him: “When you are young you can choose where you will go; but the day will come when they will stretch out your hands on the cross, and you will be taken on a way you did not choose.”
The day came when, in Rome, Peter did die for his Lord; he too, went to the Cross, and he asked to be nailed to it head downwards, because he said that he was not worthy to die as his Lord had died. Love brought Peter a task, and it brought him a cross. Love always involves responsibility and it always involves sacrifice. We do not really love Christ unless we are prepared to face his task and take up the Cross.
Our crosses can take a lot of shapes. Raising children, teaching, camp counselors, what is Jesus calling you to?
Peter knew how to follow Jesus’ instructions on where to find the fish. Peter knew what being fisherman for the kingdom was all about. It cost him his life. Here he has Jesus with him after he saw him die a couple of weeks earlier. Peter was ready do anything for Jesus.
Are you ready to try your net on the other side just because he told you? Or maybe it is not just a net he is asking you to change. Are you ready to change the direction he is asking of you?