Seven men in boat. Don't you love to picture the Word come to life before your eyes? I love reading the Word and imagining myself right there. Here in John 21 we get to see an image that is life changing. So many lessons jam-packed into one chapter!
It's early morning. The disciples get the idea to head out and fish for a while. Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James and John, and two others all gather into the boat. Can you imagine the tight squeeze? Here they are with their nets expecting a big catch. Never expecting to see the sight before them. Don't you just love our Unexpecting God? He does the unexpected and we are left in awe of His greatness.
They are putting in their nets and coming up with nothing. Empty nets do not make for happy fishermen. I can relate. Fishing takes patience. My dad loved to fish and I'm sure that's where I have gained my love for fishing as well. Have you been fishing? Friends gathering together to fish makes for a wonderful portrait. Imagine the conversation around them. Picture the images they must have seen. A cold early morning and there on the edge, feet in the sand, comes a sound. "Men, you don't have any fish, do you?" (John 21:5). "No", they answered."" (John 21:5). Can you imagine them as they are wondering who in the world is speaking to them on such an early morning? Then Jesus says, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you'll find some." (John 21:6). What do you their nets became heavy with fish! Jesus knew right where they should be fishing. He had their attention and they followed His command. When we follow Jesus never will be led astray.
But the story grows. Jesus isn't finished. He has more to share. Always! Our Jesus always has more to share with us. Then John leans in and speaks to Peter. "It is the Lord."(John 21:7) Sometimes when we can't recognize what's right before us the one next to us can. You gotta love sweet friends. This is all Peter had to hear. It didn't take Peter long to plunge in and head for shore. (John 21:7)
This is what I love. Peter didn't care the water was cold. He didn't care if the others were going to follow. All he knew was that he was getting to His Savior as quick as possible. He jumps in with excitement! How often do we jump in? Too many times we are waiting for someone else to take the lead. We are too worried about what others are going to think about us. Peter had it right on this day. Nothing was standing between him and his Savior. He had already denied Him. He had already made mistakes. He wasn't about to make them again. He knew the love of the Savior. He knew His grace, mercy, and forgiveness. He was ready to see and touch his Savior, his friend, once again.
The rest make it to shore and Jesus says, "Come and have breakfast." (John 21:12) Breakfast the most important meal of the day. Friendship at its best. I love imagining this scene. They are once again seeing their Savior. Now they will break bread and enjoy fish together. What a beautiful sight for us to imagine. Jesus is still inviting. He is waiting to break bread with us and enjoy breakfast together. Sharing breakfast is intimate and wonderful. There is a closeness and a bond here that should stir our hearts.
We next can envision the conversation between Jesus and Peter. (John 21:15-23) What I love is that this is John writing what he has witnessed. He sees his Savior and friend together, once again connecting in a way like never before. They are speaking about love and Peter is not denying his Savior here. He is accepting all of Him. Peter is ready for whatever is to come. He has grown so much as a man and an apostle. He is growing into his faith. A beautiful sight. Peter has come back to His Savior and isn't afraid of missing an opportunity to spend with Him.
In John 21:20 the conversation begins to change. Peter sees John and looks to him as he asks his Savior, "Lord, what about him?" Another huge lesson for us!! Don't miss this life lesson that brings us to the very core of who we are. Jesus answers Peter and says, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is it to you? As for you, follow Me." (John 21:22) Peter was wondering about John and his mission, what was ahead for him. Peter wasn't to worry about anyone but himself! Can you see it? How often do we do this? We are so concerned with what others are doing or not doing that we miss our opportunities! We need to be concerned with our walk with Jesus and let Him take care of others. What a lesson for us to grasp along our journey with Jesus.
These men were extraordinary. Some were fishers. Others had different occupations. Jesus met them right where they were and took them on a lifetime journey of change. Every time He got together with them He was teaching them. Preparing them and most of all loving them.
His love for them was great, but let us not mistake that His love for us is just as great. He has fish for you to catch! He will show you where to release your net. But friends, we have to ready and willing to jump! Let us not be afraid or timid. Let us stand strong and grow into our faith.
It doesn't matter who is in the boat with us. We have to be willing to jump to Jesus whether anyone else is willing to get wet with us.