“Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “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. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. 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. Then 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. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Simon 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. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. (John 21:1–14, NIV)The last few days for the disciples have been a whirlwind. They walked into Jerusalem with Jesus in a triumphal entry. People lined the street and palm branches were laid at their feet as the jubilant crowd called out for Jesus to be their king. This was a glorious day and one the disciples had long anticipated. The Messiah has come and He will reign forevermore.
But as soon as they crested the hill of rejoicing and entered the city of Jerusalem, they began a descent into a pit of despair. It began with treachery of Judas - a trusted friend and fellow disciple. His seed of deceit would being in a harvest of betrayal as the crowd who called out to have him crowned as a king now turned and demanded his crucifixion as a criminal.
The disciples were lost in despair, Peter denied his association with Jesus and they all wondered what just happened as the One they believed to be their Savior now hung on a cross. His life had impacted so many but His death was not helpful to anyone…or was it.
Three days after having kneeled at the cross, they now stood at an empty tomb. This was even more confusing to the disciples than the crucifixion. But then the resurrected Jesus appeared to them in the upper room and even Thomas was able to verify that Jesus would have the last word. He had risen from the grave trampling over death by death.
But what now? There was silence in Jerusalem and the religious leaders walked proudly I the streets with a haughty smile. Peter couldn’t take it anymore and so he went to do what he knew best in hopes that he could get back to life as he once knew it. Something simple and predictable again. Fishing.
He launched his boat onto the Sea of Galilee. He had not done this in the past 3 years but it all came back very naturally to him. Peter cast his nets, one after another, and pulled them into the boat. But like the emotion in his heart, they all came up empty.
And then a voice called out from the shore with instructions for the fishermen in the boat. They did as the strange man suggested and the nets where filled with fish and their hearts overflowed with joy. The man on the shore was not a stranger…it was their Savior.
He had not forgotten them after all. This was not the end of the story. In fact, as they sat and listened the risen Messiah, they would learn that it was only the beginning.
We too reach those moments of despair, where life seems confusing and our expectations of our Savior don’t match our experience. We may even find solace in the routine – something simple and seemingly meaningless. And yet, that is where we find Him. Our nets are empty but He can make them full. Our life is aimless, but He gives us direction. Our circumstances seem desperate but His life gives us hope.
Don’t just stand there! Jump out of the boat and go sit with your Savior. He is waiting for your fellowship and He is willing to feed your soul.