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John 21:1-8

9/3/11 Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples again at the Sea of Tiberias, (v. 1). Seven of the 11 were together (v. 2) when Peter decided to go fishing and the other six decided to accompany him. They fished all night and caught nothing, (v. 3).

At dawn they were returning and Jesus stood on the beach. When they were about 100 yards out He called out asking them if they had caught any “relish eaten with bread,” which is idiom for something to eat. They answered that they had not, (v. 5). So He told them to cast on the other side and sure enough, they caught fish. Lots of fish, (v. 6).

There’s a parable in the story. Jesus called the disciples to be fishers of men. If they were to attempt this work on their own they were going to meet with no success. They were later told not to do anything until the Spirit came upon them. Had they not obeyed they would have found their success in reaching people as discouraging as their fishing trip.

Nothing obvious would change about their technique. The difference would be that Jesus was directing. Then when they had success in bringing people to Christ they would not be able to say they had done it any more than they could say that about the catch of fish. All would know that miracles were being performed. We are privileged to cooperate with Jesus, but in the end it’s He that does the work.

John said to Peter that it had to be Jesus on the shore. So Peter put on his clothes over his work outfit, which was probably next to nothing, and jumped into the sea, (v. 7). One just has to love Peter. Impetuous, yes. But after Jesus had trained that impetuousness in a proper track it became an admirable character trait that God could use in ways He couldn’t use others. When that impetuousness was Peter acting from self it was a hinderance to God’s plan. But when it was based in faith in Jesus it was occasion for miracles to be worked in response to his faith.

The other disciples pulled the net into shore, (v. 8). And even this was good. God needs all kinds of people to complete His work. He needs Peters out front doing bold and crazy things for Him. But He also needs steady even slow people to bring up the rear and finishing things off properly. No one is called to work the whole process. One plants, another waters, another harvests.

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