After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
Have you ever gone fishin? If you have, you know you have to have patience. It takes a lot of patience to wait whether you’re fresh water, salt, pole or net fishing. I can imagine that being a professional fisher takes a good deal more patience than those of us who fish for relaxation or enjoyment. It also takes courage (thinking of that movie Perfect Storm) as so many have been lost at sea during storms and rough surf. If one has ever seen where the Pacific meets the Columbia river for instance, just navigating through that stretch is treacherous!
So what does this have to do with our final chapter of the Gospel of John? Well considering that almost 3/4 of Jesus’s disciples were fishermen, it gives a little glimpse into the type of men Jesus was looking for. Patient, courageous and dedicated. They also know how to follow orders and work together. Imagine the time they were crossing the Sea of Galilee when the storm came up.
The last chapter shows Peter and some of the others out night fishing, patiently yet most likely disappointed that they had caught nothing. That is until Jesus told them to try again, throwing the net on the other side.
Do you suppose He was giving them one more lesson on how to be fishers of men?
The fact is, it takes patience and obedience to ‘fish’ for people. But like this last fishing excursion shows, fishers of men can do nothing without the Lord.
I used to feel as though I was ‘doing it wrong’ when it came to sharing the Gospel, because I’ve never “won someone to the Lord”. I don’t like that term because it’s misleading- and produces discouragement and guilt. We don’t ‘win’ people to God. We throw our nets out, sharing, but He does the work of changing hearts. Anyone who may accept Jesus because we’ve told them about Him is because of the Holy Spirit, all we do is tell them about Him.
Fishing is a lot like farming in the sense of sharing the gospel with people. Farming also involves a lot of patience, endurance and sometimes a lot of aggravation. Patience to wait for those seeds to sprout. Reminders that it takes time, watering, caring, tending and even when the shoots begin to show, it still takes a lot of time to tend them to maturity.
Jesus knew that those He chose would learn, and obediently cast their nets, patiently waiting, patiently tending, and going out again and again.
As fishermen, we won’t know until the appointed time how many fish we’ve caught, and as farmers, we also won’t know how many seeds we’ve planted or watered or tended along the way. One of my favorite church you tube sites I watch every Sunday reminded me this past Sunday that the Bible says the Lord of the harvest and He will prepare people… and He will return for the final harvest.
We won’t all “win souls” but we can plant those seeds and cast those lines. But let Jesus show us where to cast them.
Have a blessed day all!