Come and See the Great Fisherman

GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

“Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:46). “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2: 10).

gary-2015The Pecos River flowed into my childhood. It cut from north to south through our portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. From it crops received water, children learned to swim and Grandpa taught me to fish. For him to fish was to encounter pure joy.

fish1Through his life he taught me fishing is more about the experience than the quantity of catch. When the fish were biting that was just an extra layer of frosting on the cake.

Grandpa fished for recreation. Had either he or I required sustenance from the river we would both have died young.

Jesus knew more about fishing than the professionals. (Having created both water and fish helped). Twice he guided fishermen to a miraculous catch as a sign to point to his heart and to the heart of His Father God. The first account isn’t included in John’s Gospel.

To get the backstory for John’s “belief stop” we must switch momentarily from John’s witness to Luke’s call of the twelve.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

fish8When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners (Luke 5:4-10).

Obviously, John remembered.

It was a landmark event in the start of his walk toward belief. It has to be in his mind as he invites us to come and see a similar sign to restore hope and belief—both dead from crucifixion.

fish13In the midst of a few days a lot of brain fog must have set in among the apostles surrounding Jesus’ death, the resurrection and the future. Thus far, they have seen him only twice since his return from the dead. However, the Romans are still in charge.

The same people who killed Jesus are still on the streets. Surely, the disciples remain vigilant. The kingdom Jesus spoke of remains out of sight. His instructions must seem sketchy at best. “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (20:17). “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (20:21). “Receive the Holy Spirit, If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them they are not forgiven” (20:23).

Peter is in need of time to process and to sort out the last few days. There is nothing like a fishing trip to clear the head. It’s time to go fishing.

Simon Peter, Thomas, 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 (21:2-3).

fish5Once again it snuck up on them. Even though it had happened three years ago they didn’t see it coming. Fishermen readily offer advice. In the light of early morning seven fisherman approached shore with their empty boat and a man calls from the beach:

“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 (21:5-6).

They all seem to realized reality at the same instant. It’s the same voice and the same result they had experienced when first call by Jesus.

John exclaims, “It is the Lord!”

As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he . . . jumped into the water.  The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish . . .  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 

fish6So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat 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 (21:6-12).

John invites us to Come and see the Great Fisherman. It’s as if Jesus uses their trade to make one last pictorial lesson. His power hasn’t diminished. He renews the call “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19-20).

Quietly, the voice echoes over twenty-plus centuries as we join the disciples in the boat to listen for the call of the Great Fisherman. He still leads his disciples to be alert for people he places within our sphere of influence.

He saved the best till now we get to fish with the Great Fisherman—the Creator of the universe. How should that change our perspective as we go about our daily walk?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Come and See the Great Fisherman




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