“Friends, Haven't You Any Fish?”


In our daily meditations, we continue to think about the days after the resurrection of Christ. The Lord told Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples that He would meet them by the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel. While they waited for Jesus to show up, Peter went fishing through the night, and a few of the disciples went with him. John wrote that early in the morning, Jesus called to them from the shore, asking them about their catch in the negative, almost as if He knew that they had no fish:

4Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. 6He 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. 7Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards (John 21:4-8).


The disciples were honest with Jesus that morning and said that they had no fish. Life can be unfruitful without the Lord's help. Even though they did not yet recognize that it was Jesus speaking to them, when the Lord said to try the right side of the boat, they did so. Immediately, they caught a tremendous number of fish, so many that they had difficulty hauling in the net. Instantly, their minds went back to a time some three years earlier when Jesus instructed them to push out their boat into the deep water and recast their nets even though it was daytime. That time occurred after fishing all night at the optimum time and catching nothing. When they obeyed the Lord, they caught so many fish that they filled both boats near to sinking! (Luke 5:4-11). The Lord used that miracle to invite them to follow Him, i.e., they would be catching men from that day forward. At that saying, the four fishermen (Peter, Andrew, James, and John) left all and followed Him.


Now, again, Jesus demonstrated His authority over nature by giving them a supernatural catch. When they saw the number of fish caught at an unusual time, it confirmed to them who it was on the shore. Referring to himself as the disciple that Jesus loved, John said excitedly to Peter, "It is the Lord!" (v. 7). At John's words, Peter hurriedly wrapped himself with his outer garment, just as we would put our shirt on. He was probably naked to the waist due to endlessly casting the net into the sea and then pulling it in again. Being a man of action, Peter could not wait for the boat to come to the shore; instead, he dived in and swam to Jesus.


All Hands Needed to Pull in the Net

After Peter swam to shore and greeted the Lord, he had to go back out to the boat and help the others pull in the net with the fish (John 21:11). All workers are needed to pull in the net. The world is now at a time where we need all hands on deck to pull in the Gospel net. Let no one think that he doesn't have a job. If you know the person of Christ, you have a message that others need.


Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them (Psalm 126:6).


As Christians, if we can't go into the world to share the Gospel, we should do what we can to promote our Lord's kingdom. What is a net? A net comprises many links of string or knots wrapped around one another and pulling together. A torn net is useless. All are needed. We need the whole church to preach the whole Gospel to the whole world. The Gospel itself is a net thrown onto the Sea of Galilee of the Gentiles. Soon, there will be a time when the Lord and His angels will come and separate the good from the bad (Matthew 13:47-50). In other places, the time of harvest is where those who have sown their resources with broken, weeping hearts for the lost will see a time when the wheat, a symbol of God's people, are gathered together.


Many will be lost if we don't join hands to pull in the net, for many millions in Asia and the Middle East have never heard of the Savior. If we don't put our hands to the nets, how will the distant nations hear and be saved? There is no greater need for our energy and skill, and resources. Keith Thomas


Taken from the Bible study in the Gospel of John: 42. Jesus Reinstates Peter