2017-03-12 – John 21.1-14 – The King of Fishermen

2017-03-12 – John 21:1-14 – The King of Fishermen

21 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Good morning everyone. I am so happy to see you all here today. Are you ready for a little more snow?

Annie Armstrong – [Video] Last year our church gave $200

Missions is mostly about spreading the Gospel and starting churches. Being fishers of men as Jesus once said. I heard a story about churches and fishermen..

There was once a church group called The Fisherman’s Fellowship. They were surrounded by streams and lakes full of hungry fish. They met regularly to discuss the call to fish, the abundance of fish, and the thrill of catching fish. They were excited about fishing! Someone suggested that they needed a philosophy of fishing, so they carefully defined and redefined fishing and the purpose of fishing. They developed fishing strategies and tactics. Then they realized that they had been going at it all backwards. They had approached fishing from the point of view of the fisherman, and not from the point of view of the fish. How do fish view the world? How does the fisherman appear to the fish? What do fish eat, and when? These are all good things to know they thought. So they began research studies, and attended conferences on fishing. Some traveled to far away places to study different kinds of fish with different habits. Some even got PhD’s in fishology. But problem was nobody was actually doing any fishing. So a committee was formed to send out some fisherman. As prospective fishing places outnumbered fisherman, the committee needed to determine priorities. A priority list of fishing places was posted on bulletin boards in all of the fellowship halls. But still, no one was actually fishing. So a survey was conducted to find out why. It was discovered that some felt called to study fish, a few to furnish fishing equipment, and several to go around encouraging the fishermen. What with meetings, conferences, and seminars, they just simply didn’t have time to fish. Then along came Jake a newcomer to the Fisherman’s Fellowship. After one stirring meeting of the Fisherman’s Fellowship, he actually went fishing and caught a large fish. At the next meeting he told his story and he was honored for his fine catch. He was told that he had a special “gift of fishing.” He was then scheduled to speak at all the Fellowship chapters and tell how he did it. With all the speaking invitations and his election to the board of directors of the Fisherman’s Fellowship, Jake found that he too no longer had time to go fishing at all. But it wasn’t long before he began to feel restless and empty. He longed to feel the tug on the line once again. So he cut the speaking engagements, he resigned from the board, and he said to his friend, “Let’s go fishing.” They did, just the two of them, and they caught plenty of fish.
So the moral of this story is: Churches can easily become much like the Fisherman’s Fellowship, although they were many in number, and the fish were plentiful, the real fishermen were few!

Today’s message is entitled King of the Fishermen.

Please turn in your Bible to John 21:1-14, or Page 115 in the Pew Bible.  Which is the Inspired, Infallible, and Living Word of God     [PRAYER]

The job of a fisherman in Jesus’ day was difficult. In today’s world we can see the most elaborate of boats and gear, with all kinds of creature comforts and technology. Well it wasn’t so advanced in Jesus’s day. The Fishermen worked year-round in the heat of summer, the cold of winter, and often at night. The fact that Jesus lived in Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee brought Him into contact with many fishermen. Several of His disciples – Andrew, Peter, James, and John – knew the fishing trade well. Jesus selected these fishermen as His disciples probably because they were a hardy group of people, accustomed to difficult work and long hours. Also the imagery of the fishing occupation fit well with the mission that Jesus had called them into, being fishers of men.

At this point in history Jesus had rose from the grave and appeared to the disciples a few times now. In last week’s message He appeared to them again and showed His hands and His side to Thomas so that even he might choose to believe as well. Jesus was Alive, and He would remain with them for some 40 days so that they would clearly know and believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

21 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 

The Sea of Tiberias is another name for the Sea of Galilee. That is the same place that Jesus found Peter and his brother at the start of His 3 year mission prior to going to the cross. Recall that Peter and his brother were fishermen. In Matthew 4:18 it says “Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow Me, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” And at once they left their nets and followed Him.…

Several times Jesus visited Galilee and the Disciples were explicitly told to meet Him there after His death, burial and resurrection.

Mark 6:17 After his death an angel explained “He is going ahead of you into Galʹi·lee. You will see him there, just as he told you.”
Mark 14:28 Jesus explained to his disciples “But after I have been raised up, I will go ahead of you into Galʹi·lee.”
Matthew 28:10 Jesus said “Go, tell My brothers to go to Galilee. There they will see Me

Matthew 28:16 “The 11 disciples went to Galʹi·lee to the mountain where Jesus had arranged for them to meet.”

So the disciples were where they were supposed to be at Galilee, however they didn’t know when or how Jesus would again appear to them. What a strange predicament to be in. It isn’t like they had cell phones waiting for a call, they were in Galilee but where should they go and how long will they have to wait? I am sure it was a restless situation for them.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

The Disciples needed to eat, and Peter and his brother knew how to get food as they were professional fishermen. Peter was the leader of the group, and when he declared he was going fishing, the others quickly went along. I love how the Bible has real people in real life type of circumstances, I can almost see this story unfolding, can you? But as it says here, despite being expert fishermen they caught nothing. They probably couldn’t understand why they were so unsuccessful that day. Sometimes when I go fishing, although the weather seems to be just right, the timing is just right, the place is just right, but for some reason I get nothing. And ironically, I may have been in the same place and environment where I caught plenty of fish before. But in this case I believe that God might of had a reason for them to not catch anything. For He had a miracle a coming and He wanted it to be really evident that it was His graces that caused them later to get so many fish. Sometimes we all might need to experience a drought to later appreciate the rain. Amen?

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 

The first thing that comes to mind is maybe they were thinking that somebody was mocking their lack of success. But when Jesus said to cast the net to the side of the boat, I wonder if it didn’t ring a bell in their heads as He said almost the same thing before when they first met Him along the shore three years before.

But notice that Jesus met them in their environment that day. Jesus went out to them when He first called them to follow Him, and Jesus went out to them again here as it shows in these verses. Jesus isn’t just in this Church building; Jesus is wherever we are, whenever we need Him. The highest mountain or the lowest of places, Jesus will meet you just as you are, wherever you are. And each of us should consider taking His example and represent Jesus in the world wherever we are. This isn’t a once a week, only in the church Christian dynamic. Jesus wants you to be real all the time, and make a positive impact on the fallen world all about us. Are you willing?

That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

I love how this book of John several times shows the rivalry between John and Peter. Remember earlier when they had heard the tomb was empty, John and Peter took off on a foot-race to get to the tomb. According to this book of John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” won that race. That being the author John himself. And now, in this text John is the first to realize it was Jesus that was talking to them from the shore. It kind of makes me giggle. John also points out that Peter was naked. This so much reminds me of the sibling rivalry between me and my nine-month younger brother Jim. I could tell you some hilarious “facts“ about my little brother, but I will spare you today. Peter was naked because he was the one going into the nets to get the fish out which was common practice back then. Also notice Peter put his clothes on before he jumped into the sea. They caught a bunch of fish and so the others stayed in the boat to hall it all in.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught”. 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 

Now fishermen have been known to tell a few yarns I am told. And by anyone’s account, 153 large fish is a lot of fish. We used to dip-net when we were teenagers with our father. Sometimes we might get five or seven and a couple pieces of garbage or a tennis shoe from the river bottom, but we could never even dream of getting 153 large fish. But the author of this book John was there and he was showing in this Gospel that he knows what he knows. Stating the actual number 153 is a lot more factual than saying a bunch.  Bravo Jesus!

 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 

There is something about the simplicity and beauty and every-day-ness of this command from Jesus to the 7 disciples that I just absolutely love!  Can you image Jesus saying this to you?  Can you imagine Jesus actually making breakfast for you on the beach?  The words of that Mercy-Me song come to mind, “I can only imagine..” Jesus prepared an environment that would be most welcomed to the wayward fishermen disciples. Comfort food probably to them. I just love eating around a campfire, especially if someone else is doing the cooking. Jesus loved His companions and He met their needs both emotionally and physically. He will do the same for you and me. I cannot tell you how much God has provided for me through the years. So much I don’t deserve. Yes there were some rocky roads in my 54 years of life, but even then as I look back and reflect, God was there. God provided for me what I needed and when I needed it. It may not have come the way I would have expected it, but it did come. Jesus even said that we can “Trust Him in this”. Do you trust Jesus to provide for your needs?

13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

The fishing theme is so apparent in many of Jesus’ teachings and the experiences He had with the people that even the Greek word for fish (ichthus) came to represent Jesus’ name. The first letters of the Greek words meaning “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior” spell ichthus. The fish itself appropriately became a symbol for Jesus. [show the symbol] As His disciples, we must learn the lessons Jesus taught becoming His new fishers of men, and find ways to bring all the people we can to know Him as their personal savior and as their King of Fishermen.

The take always of today’s message are these:

  • The Disciples took note of what Jesus told them and followed His instruction to go to Galilee. We too should follow Jesus’ instructions.
  • Just like the Disciples went fishing, God wants us to endeavor to support ourselves as well.
  • Jesus will meet us wherever and whenever we need Him. But we should be like John and recognize Him when He shows up.
  • Jesus will provide for our needs, He loves you so.
  • And finally, never go fishing naked as you never know just who might show up.

At the beginning of this message today I posed the story of the Fishermen Fellowship.. Recall the moral of this story: Church sometimes can become much like the Fisherman’s Fellowship, although they were many in number and the fish were plentiful, the real fishermen were few!

To that I say dear church, “Let’s go fishing church, let’s go fishing”