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Monday, March 27, 2017

Gone Fishing

One of the most poignant stories in the Bible, to my mind, is the one where Peter and the disciples decided to go fishing after Jesus's death. I say poignant because Peter's words, "I go a fishing," (John 21: 3), and the disciples' readiness to accompany him, show a sense of boredom, futility and even a sense of loss.

I can just picture these men, sitting idly in their boat, casting pebbles into the river, watching the sun set, and occasionally emitting a sigh. They needed to be doing something, but what? Their Lord and Master with whom they had traveled the country for the past three years, had gone and left them. Oh, He was alive. They'd seen Him, ate with Him, but where was He now? Did He even care about them any more?

And so these men who had been fishermen before they began their ministry with Jesus, returned to what they once knew. Makes sense, doesn't it? When the wife, husband, friend or whomever  you counted on leaves you high and dry, you return to the old life. Back to the club, the bottle, the dope, the old lifestyle. Anything that would keep you occupied, whether it's wholesome or not.

But something strange happened. These seasoned fishermen failed to get so much as a nibble. They returned with empty nets. This is what happens when you try to go back to the old life. You are in for a rude awakening. There is nothing there for you anymore. The friends are gone. What used to satisfy, no longer does. The pond has dried up.

My heart breaks for Peter and his friends. But wait. Jesus comes to their rescue. They don't recognize Him at first because they have been away from Him for a while. And He says to them, "Children, have ye any meat?" (v 5). 

Notice how tenderly He addresses them. He feels their pain, their disappointment, their hopelessness. He also knows their needs. These men had been with Him for three years. During that time, they'd given up their means of earning a living, and now with Jesus gone, they are left to fend for themselves, and they are most likely broke. Or near broke. But Jesus, our Jehovah-jireh provides for them. He tells them, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find" (v 6).

Friends, hear me. When Jesus seems far away, when those we count on run out on us, that is not the time to go fishing. You will only come up empty handed and depressed. Those disciples could have gone looking for Jesus. They could have inquired of Him, "Lord, what should we do?" But instead they gave in to disillusionment and went fishing.

But Jesus, in His love and mercy, found them, supplied their needs and gave Peter a new assignment, "Feed my sheep," (v 16; 17).

Are you going fishing? Has life dealt you a disappointing blow and you are ready to give up? Don't turn back now. Look to Jesus. 

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 29: 13

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