8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish. 9 So when they got out on the land, they *saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10 Jesus *said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus *said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
There are three main points I noticed in today’s passage. If you will recall, the men set out to sea at the behest of Jesus (not knowing it was Him) and received a miraculous catch, despite the expertise of the fishermen. Here we see that it actually took 2 boats to haul the catch to shore. What can we learn from this story?
Jesus doesn’t need us.
I try to plug myself into the stories of the bible as often as possible. This is my way of understanding the situation. I imagine being one of the fishermen. So, we set out after being out all night and catching nothing and this weird guy on the shore who said to go let out our nets. Next thing we know we are overcome by our catch and I realize it is a supernatural occurrence and the man clearly is divine, most likely Jesus Himself. I call over my friends to help bring it in and what do I see? The guy (Jesus) is sitting there cooking fish! Despite the excitement of being with the Lord again, I’d be a little ticked off. Why did you tell me to go out and catch fish if you didn’t need any? Because the fish weren’t the point. Jesus doesn’t need what we can bring to the table. Certainly, He asks things of us, but it isn’t about the stuff. It isn’t about the check in the Sunday morning offering plate. It isn’t about what you build or create for Him or to Him. It is about being obedient. It is about doing what He says without questioning Him. It is about following orders immediately. In the military we learned that discipline is the, “immediate following of all orders without questioning.” What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? Listen for what He is going to say to you and then follow through with what He says. In my experience it is more than a possibility that it is going to “go against the grain” of what you think you know; it WILL be contrary to what you think is best. In the end, however, it always turns out to be the best course of action and I’m always grateful that He told me and that I obeyed.
Jesus doesn’t give us more than we can handle.
I have always been intriguing to me that the number of fish were counted. 153 fish in this net. Now we can certainly research to see what the nets were like back then, what kind of fish were in that area, their average weight, etc. etc. These details, however, were given by expert fishermen. They were grown men in their 20s and 30s who grew up fishing. They knew what was and wasn’t possible. I think the fact that they needed an extra boat to drag the net to shore is a good indication that they were certainly overloaded. What does this mean about God’s call on our lives? Jesus instructed them to go cast down their nets. They obeyed and were seemingly overloaded with this burden. Certainly, as fishermen it was a “good” burden, but it was a burden nonetheless. Although there were so many, the net was not torn. Even though we think we are going to break, despite human wisdom and perceived common sense, we are only given what we can handle because He knows what He is doing.
Jesus wants to spend time with us.
I don’t know if you have ever witnessed the activities on a fishing dock. Maybe you have seen it on a TV show or movie. What do fishermen do when they reach the shore? They unload their fish and take care of them, right? I can imagine the urgency if they have had a good day…there is a lot of work to be done and plenty of money to be made. I can even imagine the thought process of these disciples who once before thought it best to sell an expensive alabaster jar of perfume to give the money to the poor. These guys probably had big plans for their profits and ideas of how they could serve the community. Maybe they would just give all the fish away instead of selling it. What does Jesus tell them? “Grab a couple for yourselves and come spend time with me.” If I’ve learned anything these past 5 months in missionary school it is that the most important thing in life is to spend adequate time with God. In our relationship with God, the most important thing is to spend time with Him. It isn’t about what we do for God, it is what we do with God that matters. We can see this in any relationship. I could spend every waking hour of my day going to work, earning money to provide for my family, but if I don’t spend time with them on a personal level, the relationship will never grow and in fact will wither and die. It would be like doing my best to constantly gather and store up food and water for a plant I have, but because I’m so busy making sure that I bring enough “stuff” I never take the time to interact with the plant by actually feeding and watering it, the plant will die. Our relationships are the same way, especially our relationship with God.
Are you constantly working on your relationship with God or are you too busy doing things for Him?