TEXT: John 21:1-14
PETER was a fisherman before Jesus had asked him to be a disciple-helper. During the years that Peter had walked with Jesus, he had not had time to fish. Jesus kept him busy being a fisher of men. But after Jesus was crucified and had risen again, He was not with His disciples all the time, and Peter did not know what to do. So one day he and his friends decided to go fishing again.
They did not use a hook and line like we do now. They had a big, strong net they let down into the water. They let it down, down, down, way down deep into the water; and then, when they would pull it up, they would catch the fish that were swimming there.
Peter was always a good fisherman. He had always brought home lots of fish, but this time the men fished, and fished, and fished, and they did not catch any fish. What could be the matter? Where were all the fish? Into the water they would throw their great, big, strong net. Back up it would come, empty. No fish again.
All night long they fished and fished. They were getting tired and hungry now. They felt sad, too, so they started back to the shore. They hated to go home without any fish.
They had fished all night and now it was early in the morning. As the boat came near the land the men saw Someone standing on the shore. Perhaps it was still a little dark because they could not see who it was.
A kind voice called to them across the water, “Children, have you any meat?” He meant, do you have any fish? “No,” they called back. The Stranger on the shore said, “Put your net out on the right side of the boat. You will find some fish.”
The fishermen were tired and they could have said, “Oh, we have fished all night. We have done all we could to catch fish and we did not get any. We do not want to fish anymore.” But they did not say that. They did what the Man told them to do. They put the net down into the water again on the right side of the boat. Deep, deep, deep, into the water it went. Down, down, down.
Up, up, they began to pull the net again. My, but the net was so heavy! It was so heavy the men had to pull real, real hard. There must be lots of fish. Yes, the net was so full of fish they had to drag it. They could not lift it.
Who could that Stranger be who had called to them? It was Jesus! When Peter heard that Jesus was on the shore he could not wait for the boat to land. He was so happy to know that Jesus was there that he jumped right into the water so he could get there faster. The rest of the men brought the boat to the shore. The net was so full they had to drag it all the way. There were 153 big fish in the net.
There on the shore was another surprise for the tired and hungry fishermen. They saw a fire with fish on the coals, and some bread. How good that food looked to them after they had worked so long and so hard! Jesus had made a nice breakfast for them.
Jesus told them to come and eat. Jesus knew how hungry they were. He always knows what we need. The men were probably cold and wet from getting all those fish up to the shore. Now they could get dry by the fire. Jesus is always so good to His friends. He was then, and He is now. Just think they had breakfast with Jesus on the seashore that morning!
We do not know where Jesus got the fish He had already cooked. The men gave Jesus some of their fish from the net, too. Jesus will give us what we need but He wants us to give some of what we have, too. He does not want us to sit and wait for Him to do everything for us. We have to do a little to help Jesus, too.
Jesus hears everything we say. He sees everything we do. Those fishermen did not know that Jesus was anywhere around but He was there. He had two surprises for them — the net full of fishes and the nice, hot breakfast all cooked and waiting.
The disciple-helpers must have been very glad that they obeyed when Jesus said to put the net in again. They were glad they did not say, “No! we are too tired.” They minded Jesus and got the surprise Jesus had for them.
We never know when Jesus has a nice surprise for us. Let us mind Jesus and pray every day so we will be ready for a surprise when Jesus wants to send it.