When the seven men crested the final hill they paused. Nathanael took a deep breath. “There it is Boys, whether you call it Galilee or Tiberias, that’s our sea.”
Thomas scanned the horizon. “As much as I feel drawn to Jerusalem I can only take so much of it before it starts closing in on me. It’s so good to be home.”
Peter was almost in a jog as he began his descent. The others followed.
James caught up with Peter as they neared the shore. “There’s your boat. Right where we left it.”
John looked over the bow. “I don’t know what shape they’re in, since they’ve been in the sun so long, but the nets are still here.”
James looked at Peter. “What ya thinkin’?”
Peter stepped forward. “I’m goin’ fishin’.”
Nathanael raced toward the boat. “Not without us you’re not!”
John pushed the boat off shore after everyone was inside. They raised the sail and let the evening breeze send them out to the deep.
When the dawn’s breath gave way to the sun’s rays Thomas looked at Peter. “How much longer we stayin’ out here?”
John stretched in the front of the boat. “How long was I asleep?”
James shook his head. “Practically all night.”
A voice called out from the shore. “Hey, Boys, have you caught anything?”
Peter glanced toward shore. “NO!”
“Cast your net on the port side. There’s a school coming your way now.”
Everybody looked at Peter. He motioned with his hand. “Go ahead. What’ve we got to lose? I’d like to have something to show for all this work.”
Thomas shrugged. “I doubt it’ll work, but, Okay.”
Shortly after the net entered the water the surface started to boil. The boat listed heavily to the right. John grabbed Peter’s arm. “Peter, it’s the LORD.”
Peter turned, grabbed his cloak and walked off the left side of the boat.
James shook his head and looked at John. “I think he was expecting to walk on the water, again.”
John shrugged as he watched Peter splash his way toward shore. The men used every means available to get the boat in. When the bow struck land they saw the fish and bread warming on a charcoal fire Jesus had going.
Jesus motioned for them to come closer. “Bring some of those fish you just caught, Fellas. Let’s have breakfast.”
Peter waded out and pulled the net on the beach. He grabbed two fish by the tails and placed them on the fire.
Nathanael and Thomas joined the others after they sorted the fish on the grass. James looked at them. “So, what’s the final count?”
Nathanael looked at Peter. “Including the two you took, 153, and they’re all huge.”
Thomas placed a hand on Nathanael’s shoulder. “And we don’t even have to repair the nets. They’re in great shape. Like we just bought ’em.”
John looked at Peter. “So, what d’ya say? Are we back in the fishin’ business?”
Peter shook his head. “That’s a catch to go out on, Guys. I’m thinkin’ about sellin’ the boat.”
This ranks right up in my top ten scenes from the gospels. The disciples are drawn back to their old life of fishing. They go out on the familiar water and in their own determination come up empty. Then Jesus steps in at the break of day and shows them who’s in control.
I so love that about Jesus. He just graciously, yet quietly, comes in when we least expect it and makes Himself known in the situation by doing the miraculous. I’ve had similar things happen with my writing. I have a deadline coming up with a magazine article or contest entry. I send up a prayer like: “Okay, God. If you want me to send anything in for this then give me the story.” I don’t panic about it when the date draws near, if nothing comes I don’t sweat it, but many times I get an idea mere days before the deadline.
So, why did the disciples go back to the sea after Jesus told them to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Comforter? I can think of a couple of reasons. First: there’s something very relaxing about the rocking of a boat on water. The breeze and fresh air were a tonic to these old fishermen. Their emotions were on quite the roller-coaster ride the past few weeks. From the high of the triumphal entry to the low of the crucifixion to the high of seeing the resurrected Jesus, they needed something to calm their nerves and the comfort of the familiar was just what the Great Physician ordered.
The second reason for the visit to the water was a God-ordained test. God laid on their hearts the desire to go back on one more fishing expedition to see just where their heart’s desire was now. Would they go back to their family business after getting a taste of the spiritual business they were being called to? A record-setting catch would be quite a test for most people. God needed to know He had their total devotion.
I’ve had similar tests throughout my adult life. The only calling I had was to “be holy as I am Holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) As I mentioned in one of my early posts, my wife, Barb, and I went through a LOT of moves early in our marriage (we had 23 addresses in 23 years). Many of these moves were brought about by mere promptings of the Spirit. Before many of those moves I had an offer of advancement in my job where we were at the time. We could have been fairly secure by this time if we had taken any of those offers, but we followed our hearts to follow God’s leading. Even though we didn’t know what that future held.
Right now I have a job that pays well, but I know God is calling me to write, so I know which path I’m traveling. God’s road.
I’ll see you later. Wade