Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus ), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. – John 21:1-6
Well since my last post of I have traversed the country with my daughter and two cats in a Toyota Matrix. These are adventure cats and they weathered our adventures well, including one close call in Wyoming where they closed the highway just after we had passed through. I was also blessed to spend 4 days on the coast of Oregon marveling at the beauty and power of the Pacific Ocean. I was reminded once again how big God is and how His voice can be heard over such mighty waters.
I am back where I began my journey and ready to get back to “normal” life again with my walk on water. In today’s passage the disciples have also gotten back to their “normal” lives as fisherman. I am not sure what impact their time with Jesus really had on them at this point. They don’t seem to be seeking in the way Mary was seeking Jesus. Yet He shows up anyway. They apparently still need some more fishing lessons from the Master.
Jesus appears to these men, albeit in a slightly different mode than His previous experiences by, and on, the lake. The disciples are apparently busy fishing and forgetting all the spiritual squalls and signs Jesus shared with them. It is interesting that they were out fishing all night and their efforts were fruitless. It was only with the coming of the day and Jesus that they were successful. Of course to be successful they had to listen to this anonymous man on the shore and “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” This worked so well they had more fish than they knew what to do with.
This story leaves me wondering why they did not recognize Jesus. Were they so caught up in their “normal” lives again that they simply were not looking? This is easy to do. I think it takes spiritual whiskers and keen eyes to see God “on the shore”. Another question that occurs to me is “what is the “right side” of the boat?” How will we know? It seems the fisherman have provided the answers: 1) admit you have no fish; and 2) be willing to listen when God tells you where to cast your net.
Admitting you have no fish is hard in our success-based culture. We all want to have it together and come across as independent and in no need of help. If we are unwilling to admit we have no fish we may never get the direction we need about where to cast our net. In the larger sense “casting our net” is really figuring out what we are supposed to be doing as we make our way along the journey to that River that no one can cross. It is how we invest the 24 hours we have each day. We all have the same time, but as Gandalf said “But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Prayer: God help us to both admit we have no fish and seek Your guidance about where to cast our nets.