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Go Fish!

We celebrated Easter a couple weeks ago, which is the greatest time of the year for a Christ-follower! The truth that Jesus was crucified on Friday, but rose from the dead on that Sunday morning, is the heartbeat of the Good News! (Jn 3:16-17; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9). Later, after His resurrection, Jesus would meet His disciples on a beach in Galilee where He would help them catch a boat-load of fish and have a life-changing conversation with Peter, one of His closest disciples. (John 21:1ff)

Notoriously, Peter had denied that he even knew Jesus on the night before He was crucified, not once, but three times, just as Jesus had said he would. When Jesus showed up on that beach, Peter couldn’t wait to see Him. In fact, when he realized it was Jesus standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he jumped out of the boat to get there first! 

After enjoying breakfast with His disciples, Jesus turned his attention to Peter, asking him a heartfelt question: 15 …“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” John 21:15. 

What do you think Jesus was referring to by “these?” Some say He may have been referring to the other disciples. Others say He was referencing the fish they had just caught. I could make an argument for either, but I think it was the fish. 

Peter had gone back to fishing while he was waiting on Jesus in Galilee. Why did he do that? Maybe Peter was just trying to make a living or preparing for the ministry ahead. Maybe he was stressed and wanted to do something that would settle his nerves. I can think of a lot worse practices for dealing with stress than fishing, can’t you? 

By the way, do you have a healthy way to deal with stress and anxiety in your life. Can I suggest taking some time alone to pray when you find yourself overwhelmed, anxious or really busy? Jesus seemed to do that often when His life was at its busiest and most stressful. (Luke 5:16)

But with Peter, maybe he went fishing that night because he had lost focus after all the drama and trauma he had experienced over the previous couple of weeks; after all he had really let Jesus down at some key moments on the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. 

So it’s possible Peter went back to fishing that night because he was discouraged or distraught and just needed to do what he did best, fish. Yet, on that fishing trip, Peter and his fellow disciples had caught nothing; then Jesus showed up and everything changed! The truth is, Jesus didn’t really have that kind of fishing in mind for Peter. In fact, Jesus had called Peter from being a fisherman to be a fisher of men! (Matthew 4:19).  

If you’re a Believer, you’ve been called to fish for people too! As Christ-followers, we are called to reach out to lost people… to build bridges… to foster relationships… ultimately, for one sole purpose… to make disciples! (Matthew 28:18-20)

Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Each time Peter answered yes. Why three times? Maybe to give Peter a chance to make up for his three denials; maybe to emphasize how important it was for Peter to love Him with all HIs heart in order to endure the arduous ministry journey ahead for him. But at the end of that conversation, after Peter affirmed his love for Jesus again and again, Jesus said to Peter… 17 …“Feed my sheep. John 21:17c

What did this mean? For Peter, and all who believe, it is a call to make disciples. This was Jesus’ command in the Great Commission for HIs disciples and for us. (Matthew 28:18-20). 

The great news for Peter was that despite the fact that he had let Jesus down in some critical moments, Jesus knew his heart, his commitment, and his faith; and Jesus was not done with him! Peter truly became a fisher of men, helping to lead thousands to surrender their lives to Christ as Savior and Lord. (Acts 2:14ff) And God can use you too in a big way; so go fish! 

For much more, including some vital “fishing lessons” from the disciples fishing trip in John 21:1-14, click here to listen to: Risen - Part 3 - Go Fish! 


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