Real, Relevant, Raw and Radical!

Day 37 – Fish Language

 

John 21:1-14(NLT) Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.” “We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night. 4 At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. 5 He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. 9 When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread. 10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus said. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and dragged the net to the shore. There were 153 large fish, and yet the net hadn’t torn. 12 “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish. 14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.

 

Jesus speaks your language. There is no other person in the universe that understands you better than Jesus. That should bring incredible comfort to our hearts but also inspiring awe. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. He made us, created us and has a specific purpose for us. He knows how we think and feel. One of the greatest examples for us is our friend Peter. I like Peter. He is very relatable. What you see is what you get with Peter. There is no hiding of his emotion or camouflage of his intention. If Peter thinks it, you will hear it. If Peter disagrees he will tell you. He does not hold his opinion to himself, he just blurts it out. It might even come out as a cuss word. Peter is a salty sailor with a knack for the impulsive. He feels deeply and carries his emotions on his tunic (sleeve).

 

Jesus’ disciples were a motley crew of fishermen, tax collectors, zealots and tradesmen. We are not sure about all of their occupations but we know quite a few of them were fishermen. Just like his loud personality, Peter is written about more than any of the other disciples in the New Testament. Peter stood out. We know he had a fishing business as did James and John with their father Zebedee. We see the first interaction that Jesus has with Peter is at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is preaching and the crowd is growing. Peter (Simon) is fixing his nets, minding his business. Jesus noticed the boats that were left behind. So Jesus gets into the boat and asks Peter to push Him a little deeper and then Jesus continues speaking from there. When Jesus finished speaking Luke tells us the following: Luke 5:4-7(NLT) When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

 

Peter is very reluctant and reminds Jesus that they worked hard all night long with no results. They were mending their nets and if they use them again to fish they will have to redo everything that was done. Especially since they did not catch any fish the first time. Plus they were fishing at night when you are supposed to fish. We know the rest of the story. They catch so many fish that the boat almost sank and they had to get the other boat and both boats were on the verge of sinking. Peter’s response is immediate, one of repentance. The preaching did not affect Peter but when Jesus spoke in his fishermen’s language, Peter clearly got the message.

 

When Jesus and the disciples arrive back at Capernaum, Peter is approached and asked if Jesus pays the Temple tax. Peter immediately responds, Yes. Then he goes into the house and Jesus does that thing that only He can do. He answers the question before it is asked. But He answers it with a question of His own. Matthew 17:24-27(NLT) On their arrival in Capernaum, the collectors of the Temple tax came to Peter and asked him, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the Temple tax?” 25 “Yes, he does,” Peter replied. Then he went into the house. But before he had a chance to speak, Jesus asked him, “What do you think, Peter? Do kings tax their own people or the people they have conquered?” 26 “They tax the people they have conquered,” Peter replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “the citizens are free! 27 However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.”

 

Notice that Peter is confronted with a problem about Jesus. Yet Jesus does not confront those who confronted Peter. He asks Peter the question and then provides the solution through fishing. He very specifically tells Peter to fish with a line and the first fish he catches will have what they need. Jesus again is speaking in the language that Peter understands, fishing. Jesus after the resurrection has appeared several times. The last time was with everybody present including Thomas. Peter decides he is going fishing and several of the disciples join him. A very familiar thing takes place. They fish all night long and they catch nothing but a sore back. So at dawn, someone was standing on the beach, they did not recognize Him. Then Jesus does the Jesus thing. He asks a question. “Children, did you catch any fish?” A very similar answer follows, no. So Jesus tells them to throw out their net on the right side of the boat and they couldn’t haul in the catch. John immediately recognizes that it is Jesus. So Peter does the Peter thing, he acts immediately and puts on his tunic and jumps in the water to get to the shore. The rest stay with the boat and bring it to shore with all the fish they caught. Imagine being on the shore and when you get to shore, breakfast is waiting for you. It is not just the fact that breakfast is waiting for you, it is Who is cooking the breakfast for you!

 

Jesus the Son of God. Jesus the Son of Man. Jesus the risen Savior. Jesus the promised Messiah. Jesus the King of kings. Jesus the Lord of lords. Jesus the Firstborn from the dead. Jesus the Word. Jesus is cooking a fish breakfast for fishermen. Don’t glance over this fact. If the resurrected Christ can cook breakfast for His struggling disciples, what act of service will we view as beneath us? Jesus tells them, bring some of your fish, so Peter drags the net to shore and there are 153 big fish. Then Jesus says; “Now come and have some breakfast!” Jesus said. None of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Then Jesus served them the bread and the fish.

 

Jesus cooks for them and then Jesus serves them. Can you see the seven disciples sitting around the fire, the fire Jesus made, eating the fish that Jesus cooked? Enjoying the bread that Jesus prepared? Breakfast on the beach with Jesus. No wonder no one dared to ask, who are you, because they knew. Jesus speaks the language these fishermen understood, fishing. They look at Jesus, they look at the 153 big fish and no words are necessary, because they remembered when He called them the first time. Now they understood, this was the confirmation of what He wanted from them, to become fishers of men. They understood that if Jesus can take their ordinary occupation and make it extraordinary, then He can fully equip them to do the work He called them to do.

 

Peter, I showed you whether it is a boat load you need, or a single coin, I can provide for you. Peter, no longer try to live your life holding on to the old, I am changing your direction. The God of the universe, knows your name. The God who created you speaks your language. He is asking you, just like He asked Peter and the other fishermen; “Will you trust Me with your ordinary, so that I can show you the extraordinary? Will you follow My example? Will you be willing to let me lead? Will you be willing to trust Me with your future? Will you be willing to forsake all and follow Me? My child, take a moment, sit down and partake of what I have prepared for you. You won’t have to ask, Who are you? Because you will know…”

 

Prayer:

  • Ask the Lord to help you pursue His purpose for you.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you recognize where Jesus is leading you.
  • Pray for the boldness to obey the Father, if He changes the direction of your life.
  • Ask for forgiveness where you have been reluctant to obey.
  • Pray for the church that we will all have the courage to follow where Jesus is leading.