““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. At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who He was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?” “No,” they replied. Then He said, “Throw 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.””
Peter having previously denied Jesus, finds himself leading the other disciples back to Galilee, his home town. Although Jesus, in the previous chapter, had revealed Himself to all the disciples, it seems that Peter had decided to go back to his old life and do what he knew best, fish! After toiling all night and catching nothing, Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples and tells them to re-throw their nets. Of course the obvious happens and they catch a multitude of fish, 153 to be exact. After the catch John recognizes that it is Jesus, His Lord. As he tells Peter too, Peter jumps out the boat and swims to the shore to greet Him, shortly followed by the other disciples.
This passage is almost an exact mirror of the story in Luke 5:1-11 whereby Jesus again, miraculously helps the disciples catch fish. However, at the end of that particular miracle, Jesus turns and says to Peter that he will no longer catch fish but men; ‘You will be a fisher of men.’ So why do we see Peter back fishing again in this passage? It seems like Peter and the other disciples are hopelessly and aimlessly searching for direction. They had given up their careers to follow Jesus, and after three and half years of following Him, they almost find themselves leaderless and without direction. Fishing was the only thing they knew. Peter was the disciple’s leader, yet instead of leading them to catch men, he led them to catch fish.
Yet when Jesus again revealed Himself to them on the beach shore, He reminded them once more, that their nets were for gathering men, not fish. Jesus had previously showed this to Peter, when He commanded him to go and catch men.
Sometimes in our lives we get lost and almost feel like we are wondering in the wilderness. We lose our way and go back to the only things we know how to do. That is called our comfort zones!! Jesus commands us all to be radical, to be fishers of men. However, this revelation only comes when Jesus reveals who He is, in a fresh way in our lives. Peter had previously seen the resurrected Christ, yet it needed this miracle to get him back on track, to re-align his focus to Jesus’ commission and to jump out the boat to meet Him. Notice that Jesus didn’t call Peter out the boat, he jumped himself. When we have an encounter with the risen King, our lives radically change, as it did with Peter.
Have you lost your focus and are in need of re-aligning yourself with the revelation of the risen Christ? Are you willing to jump out the boat? Take a step of faith. He is just a prayer away!