Read John 21:1-14
1Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3"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.
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. 9When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught."
11Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. (NIV)
John tells us that this is the third appearance of Jesus to his disciples. I find the reaction by Peter to go out fishing is a common response to people who feel like their world has been turned upside down. They are not sure what to do or where to go, we they instinctively do what is an old habit to try and refocus their life. I see this over and over with people who when trying to better their life run into problems, they return to old habits that were not good for them. Peter was confused, so he decided to return to his old way of living to make some sense.
This story is also very close to the story of Jesus dealing with Peter before he became a follower. Luke tells of the story of Jesus telling Peter to put out to deep water and let his nets down. Peter protests saying they have worked all night to no avail. But he does it anyway and catches a huge load of fish that require another boat to come out to help bring it in. This is the moment Jesus tells Peter he will become a fisher of men.
So, we see again, Jesus shares where to cast and Peter agrees to go there and is rewarded with a huge catch. Notice that Peter in his great eagerness wants to be the first to greet Jesus. When we are confused about life, we can turn and rush to Jesus who will not only calm us, but feed us to help us face the future and our calling. It is easy to slip back into old habits as they are comforting. No matter how bad they might have been, we like them because they are familiar with we tell ourselves we know how to cope with them. But Jesus calls us to a greater life and a greater purpose.
And down through the ages, people have tried to come up with why John tells us that the net contained 153 fish and it did not break. Some have offered that the 100 is a full number and it represents the ministry to the Gentiles. We see this in the seed will produce 100 fold and the idea that a full flock for a shepherd was 100. 50 represents the remnant of the Jews, one half of the fullness. And three represents the Trinity that will be the God of both gentile and Jew. Other ideas come around to the same point that God is calling all people to him and since the net does not break, there is room for all people in God’s church. It is a place where we can be fed and sent by Jesus. This is seen in Jesus preparing breakfast for the disciples – he will be the one who feeds us daily to get through each day.
Where do you turn when things are not going right? Have you had times in your life where you wanted to go back to old ways away from God? I think we all do as some point in our journey. Thankfully God is patient with us and continues to call us. Do we see that part of our work here is to help bring about the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth? How do you turn to God daily to be fed by Him? These are things we should ponder every now and then?
Blessings and Peace