God just spoke to me afresh this morning from John 21:1-9. Let me share my heart with you… This Scripture takes place on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples are in a miserable mood because of the horrifying events leading to, and culminating in, the death of Jesus. They have gone to Galilee and returned to what they knew best: fishing!
They have to make a living and so they spend the entire night out on the lake. Moisture hangs in the air and thick fog makes it difficult hear a voice calling to them in the early hours of the morning. They have not caught a single fish all night, and the voice says…“Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” It seems so unfishing-like! What possible difference could it make to put the net in on the right side? They are professional fishermen, and they have no idea who this stranger is. But for some unknown reason they unquestioningly take out the nets and throw them into the water on the other side of their boat. Then the Bible says…“When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” They are now stunned at what has happened and it suddenly dawns on them who it is who has been calling to them. It could be no one else. Again, the Bible says, “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’”
Let me say this first…we always meet with Jesus in the miracle. Jesus’ relationship with those disciples begins and ends with a miraculous catch of fish. There are several lessons to be learned from this story, and the first is this: It is important to obey Jesus. Practically speaking…is it fine for professional fishermen to take advice from a carpenter? After all, this was their profession, not His. They knew all about fishing, and were perhaps some of the best fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Besides, what Jesus was suggesting did not make any sense. As I said earlier, what possible difference could it make to put the net on the other side of the boat?
Secondly, there are times in our lives where what we hear from God seems irrelevant and utterly violating our thinking capacity and experience.
We have tried everything. We thought we knew what needs to be done. It worked before, so we think we already know how to do it, and now someone telling us a simplistic answer…and this just drives us up the wall.
God is very simplistic. It may seem like foolish. It is counterintuitive. We’ve been fishing on the left side and now you think fishing on the right side of the boat will make a difference! We have been working all night and you think one more cast is going to change anything?
Here is where the crux is. Jesus did not do it all for them. He tested their obedience so that they could learn that blessings follow obedience. In your relationship with God, success follows obedience, even when what He is asking you to do seems ridiculous to you. You are not smarter than God. You just cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results. You cannot rebel against God, go against what he is telling you, and expect success. You cannot do all the wrong things and expect good things to happen to you suddenly. It never happen that way. Success comes to you as you are willing to listen to Jesus and do what he says.
We cannot rely on our knowledge, experience and training…humility mixed with utter obedience will set us free.
That is why it is crucial that we first become humble. These disciples were not only professional fishermen, they had learned through experience and it is what their fathers and grandfathers before them had learned and taught them. They had to become humble enough to do what Jesus said rather than trusting what they had personally learned in the past. We cannot rely on our knowledge, experience and training…humility mixed with utter obedience will set us free.
Lastly, a teachable spirit will take us far in God! I all my years of following the Master, I am convinced that having a teachable spirit is one of the most important characteristics that you can have in life.
But yet in the Church, there are some people to whom you simply cannot tell anything, because they think they already know it all! They will not take your counsel…nor a ‘word from the Lord’ so they never learn. You have to have humility and a teachable spirit. David in his great repentant prayer said, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing (or a teachable) spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12). You have to be willing to listen to Jesus and do what he says. Then and only then we can meet God. And when we come to the end of our resources, His provisions begin, and that is more than enough for us.
Simon Peter was certainly at the end of his resources. He had boasted that if everyone else left Jesus, he would still be faithful. He failed. He was truly a coward. He fell when he boasted he would stand. When he first met Jesus he was very aware of his sinful heart. Before Peter had been called to be a disciple, at the first miraculous catch of fish, in Luke 5:8…the Bible says, “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’” now at this second miraculous catch Peter would have liked to have said the same thing, but he was too ashamed to say anything…!
When the disciples came to the end of their resources, that is when they had a miraculous catch — 153 to be exact, and all large fish. The catch was so large that they could hardly get the net to shore. But in spite of the pressure on the net, it did not break or tear. And when they arrived on shore, Jesus already had breakfast for them. You have to wonder where Jesus got the fish. They were already on the fire before the disciples came to shore. And there was bread as well.
I will leave that for you to answer yourself. But your miracle awaits you! Will you obey, become humble and teachable? I just did that this morning. I know my provision is on the way. Don’t turn back…go get your own provisions by doing just what He says!