Many men I know like to go fishing. Others like to eat fish, which is considered to be healthy for the heart (Omega 3 oils?). Yet others are known for loving a sea-food diet. What that often means is that they love to eat all the food they see!!
Since Sri Lanka is an island Nation, fishing is done as a vocation by a lot of people in my country. If one were to travel along the coast in the early morning hours, you would see fisher folk coming back to shore by boat, or maybe spreading their night’s catch on the beach. Some do stilt fishing as well.
One of the favorite memories I have is that of an opportunity our family had, to go fishing on Philip Island, during a visit to Australia 2 years ago. The memory is a precious one because my son Sheriah (8 years at that time), actually caught a fish, and I helped him reel it in!!!
We read about a failed ‘working’ day in the life of some of the Disciples, in the story in John 21. As we look at the story, we can learn the following precious truths from this passage.
1) Their Human Efforts Had Failed (vs 2-5)
Motivated by Peter, 7 of the Disciples, had gone fishing that night. This was their trade and they had years of experience behind them, but they caught nothing!! I can only try to imagine the disappointment and discouragement they were going through.
If Peter and friends were living in today’s world, they would have most probably called their wives on their mobiles to express their disappointment. Maybe they would have sent a text as follows;
‘Sorry Honey, no fish today. Not sure how I’m going to feed you all for the next few days’.
‘No fish to sell at the market love. Can you believe it? Not one! We will have to ask for time, to pay the children’s school fees and buy the school books’.
‘I was depending on today’s catch to pay off our credit card and utility bills. Not sure what we can do now’.
When they return to shore, funnily, Jesus asks them “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” (Vs 5) As if He didn’t know already?
Illustration – Talking about failed human effort, I remember the suffering I went through for years as a child, since I had chronic asthma. My parents did everything possible to get me healed but to no avail. All human effort failed. But when I met Jesus and His mighty hand touched me, my life was changed forever. As a bonus, I was subsequently healed too!!
If all your human efforts have failed and the nets you have cast have caught nothing, consider what I have to say in the next point of this sermon.
2) They Obeyed Jesus’ Instructions (vs 6)
At first, Jesus’ words “to throw your net on the right side of the boat”, may have sounded absurd to the Disciples. They were the experienced fishermen, not Jesus! They knew the waters better than Him. They knew that the fish were not biting that night. Hadn’t they toiled all night in vain? Yet, they obeyed what was an amazing prophetic word from the Lord.
“You will find some (fish)”.
Today, if you are struggling maybe because of some challenge or struggling with some sin, would you be willing to obey the instructions Jesus is waiting to give you? He says, “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). There are many voices in the world trying to give people guidance today but only the words of Jesus can give true life and purpose! He is waiting to give you the guidance you need and it’s available in God’s Word!!
Illustration – When David Wilkerson obeyed the voice of the Lord in ministering to troubled and violent youth, he would never have known where that decision would lead him. Today, the ministry he started (Teen Challenge), as he responded to God’s voice, has touched young lives all over the world. The full story could be followed in the book, ‘The Cross and the Switchblade’.
If God could guide David Wilkerson, He can guide you too!!
3) They Experienced a Fishing Miracle
When the net went into the water in obedience to Jesus’ instructions, it began to fill with fish. A miracle had taken place and they probably had the ‘catch of their lives’. 153 large fish in all (vs 11)!!
God’s miracles often happen in the day to day activities of our lives. If I may say it in another way, ‘It’s all in a day’s work!’. Someone said,
‘The day of miracles is not past, because the God of miracles is still present’!!
Can you see God’s miracle for you in the struggles of your daily work? Can you trust God for a supernatural intervention in your life today?
4) Jesus Invited Them For Breakfast
I know many guys who are experts at doing a barbecue. Well, it looks like Jesus was pretty good at it too!! He had already lit the charcoal and got a ‘Fish Barbecue’ going on the beach (vs 9). He then invited them to a time of fellowship, with a breakfast of bread and fish on the beach (vs 12). For good measure, he also added some of the fresh fish they had just caught (vs 10)! Was the bread and fish a gentle reminder of the miracle of the loaves and fishes? Was the fire a reminder to Peter, about the time he betrayed Jesus around a fire (John 18:18 and 25)?
In today’s world too, Jesus invites everyone to fellowship with Him. He says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20). Will you accept His invitation? You may have failed like the Disciples, like Peter, but He still invites you to fellowship with Him because He’s a loving, forgiving Savior, full of grace. Bring your broken dreams, hurts and failures to Him today.
Illustration – The actor/singer cowboy Stuart Hamblen, after a successful but unfulfilled life, accepted Jesus’ invitation and had a life-changing encounter with the Lord. As he started to live by God’s Word, it led him to write and record one of the most loved Gospel songs of all time. It said;
“It is no secret, what God can do / What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you”
Do you need to accept the invitation that Jesus is extending? Are you ready to receive the amazing guidance, miracle and fellowship he wants to provide? Can you imagine yourself, like the Disciples, having ‘Breakfast on the Beach’ with Jesus?!!
God bless you abundantly!