Remember when you were a little kid and your Mom or some other family member taught you to play the card game Go Fish? As I recall, the object was to collect as many pairs of cards as you could in the hopes of defeating your opponent. Well recently, our son, Andrew, and I have been playing a different kind of Go Fish. We have been doing just that – literally. Earlier this week, we spent some time on the water fishing for bass in central Kentucky. I was down in the area on business but we took some time to try something different as father and son – something we haven’t tried before – some time on the water trying to catch an abundance of fish.
We had a good time – not as many fish as I would have liked, but I am not sure that I would have been satisfied with whatever we caught. It was Andrew’s first time fly fishing from a boat and we savored the experience. There were times that we were very successful and other streaks where we went several hours without catching much at all.
I can’t help but be reminded of the disciples and how many of them were fishermen. Peter and many of the others were experts in their chosen field. However, there are several stories in the Scripture where we learn that even with all their experience, there were times when the apostles were totally dependent on Jesus to help them. For example, one time they were crossing the sea and a storm came up when Jesus was sleeping. The disciples were concerned that they may drown and woke Jesus – terrified that they would die. Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves, calming them. The disciples marveled at the miracle and wondered who this was who could control nature. Later in the ministry of Jesus, another event, almost the same, occurred but this time the disciples had learned that Jesus was, in fact, the Son of God and they worshipped him rather than question him.
That event showed the way that they had learned more about Jesus during their time with Him. However, there were times when they still doubted Jesus. For example, when they went fishing and didn’t catch anything. Jesus requested that they throw the net on the other side of the boat and when they obeyed his word, the catch was so large that they could barely get the boat to shore with all the fish. Even though the disciples were the expert fishermen, they listened to Jesus and obeyed Him based on their love, admiration and belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
Fishing can be a strange sport. One minute, you are coming up empty handed and the next moment, you are on a streak. The apostles learned that lesson the hard way. How many times had they depended on their expertise for their livelihood? Yet Jesus, who wasn’t a fisherman by trade, knew more about how to ensure a good catch than any of the disciples.
The verse for tonight highlights the fact that Jesus knows what our needs are. The apostle John, one of the inner sanctum of Jesus, tells us in his Gospel, that Jesus ordered the fisherman to try a different approach one day. They obeyed – John 21:6, “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.”
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus always knows what our needs are. My prayer is that you will become a fisher of men, just as the disciples did more than 2000 years ago. In that way, we can all help advance the kingdom of God on earth. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…