Note: This is again adapted from a Running Toward the Goal podcast. When I chose the podcast for today it was just too “now” so I had to use it.
1After these things Jesus revealed himself again to the discples on the sea of Tiberias. Now he revealed himself in this way: 2Simon Peter and Thomas called Didymus and Nathaniel from Cana of Galilea and the (sons) of Zebedee and two other disciples. 3Simon Peter says to them, “I am going fishing.” They say to him, “We’re coming with you!” They went and got in the boat, and they caught nothing that night. 4But when it was already becoming early morning, Jesus stood on the shore, yet the disciples didn’t know that it was Jesus. 5Then Jsus says to them, “Children, do you not have anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” 6And he said them, “Cast the net on the right hand side of the boat, and your will find some.” So they cast it, and they were no longer able to draw in the net because of the quantity of fish. 7Then the disciple that Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Then Simon Peter, hearing that it was the Lord, put on his coat, for he was naked, and he threw himself into the sea, 8but the other disciples went with the boat, for they were not far from the land, but about 200 cubits. 9Then as they disembarked onto the land, they saw a fire laid, and a little fish lying on it, and bread. 10Jesus says to them, “Bring some of the fish that you just caught.” 11Then Simon Peter came up and drew the net onto the ground, filled with big fish, 153. And even though there were so may, the net didn’t tear. 12Jesus says to them, “Come, and have breakfast.” But none of the disciples dared to inquire of him, “Who are you?” Because they knew that it was the Lord. — John 21:1-12
It has been a rough couple of weeks. Weâ€™ve been through the crucifixion, the empty tomb, the appearances of Jesus. The promise of meeting. But is he really back? Does it mean anything?
So Peter, the fisherman, decides itâ€™s time to go fishing again. Remember, this is the same Peter that Jesus said would be fishing for men. But what exactly do you do with everything that has happened? What does it all mean? So heâ€™s alive. Weâ€™re glad.
But he doesnâ€™t stick around and talk to us. He doesnâ€™t behave the way we want him to. It doesnâ€™t seem like weâ€™re going back to old times traveling around Galilee with the master.
What shall we do?
Like many of us, Peter decides itâ€™s time to return to the familiar. This fishing men stuff doesnâ€™t seem to be all that exciting. In fact, Iâ€™m not quite sure what it all means. So Iâ€™ll tell you what. Iâ€™m going fishing. Fishing for the scaly kind of fish, good for breakfast, lunch dinner, sale, whatever. Good, familiar, predictable, manageable, undemanding fish!
And all the disciples around him said, â€œWeâ€™re going too!â€
Have you ever noticed that when the call comes to move forward into some new place God has for you or your church, it takes much prayer, persuasion, and argument? Where will the money come from? Who will be in charge? Is this really going to work? Why should we do that? Weâ€™ve never done anything like that before!
But when you say, â€œLetâ€™s go back and do the same thing we used to do,â€ thereâ€™s a pack of volunteers.
Peter says, â€œLetâ€™s go back to fishing,â€ and the band of disciples, called to be apostles, starts heading back to the boats. â€œFish!â€ they say. â€œWe can handle them. Why didnâ€™t we think of that!â€
But when God isnâ€™t in the plan, there are often problems. And so it is with the disciples. The old way, the fishing, just doesnâ€™t work. So they labor all night trying to get away from Godâ€™s call. And they donâ€™t catch a thing.
But Jesus is waiting on the shore. The amazing thing about Jesus is that even when you try to run away he doesnâ€™t say, â€œThat oneâ€™s too flighty. Unstable. Letâ€™s find someone else.â€ When you get back in from the fishing boat (or nowadays it might be the office, or the computer keyboard) there he is, waiting on the shore. â€œYou didnâ€™t catch any fish?â€ he says. â€œThatâ€™s no problem for me. Here, I have some fish. And I still have a job for you.â€
When God calls you away from something he doesnâ€™t plan for you to go backwards. Heâ€™s always calling you forwards. You just need to remember the call. Heâ€™ll take care of the rest.