After the resurrection, and acting on instructions from Jesus, the apostles returned to their homes in Galilee. For them it was an odd time. They were as certain as they could possibly be that Jesus was alive, but they were uncertain about what to do next. In the midst of that uncertainty, Peter proposed a fishing trip. But the fish weren’t biting, and it was a disappointing night on the lake.
As morning was breaking, the disciples heard a man on shore call out, “Well, boys, didn’t catch anything, did you?” Of course no fisherman likes to be asked a question like that. They just grunted “no.”
Then the man told them to throw out their net on the right side of the boat. They did – perhaps because on that lake people standing on shore could sometimes see shoals of fish that the fisherman couldn’t see. When they followed his directions, they made a huge catch of fish – so many fish that they couldn’t hoist the net over the transom and into the boat.
Everyone sprang into action, pulling the nets, making room in the boat, trying to make sure the net did not open and let the fish escape. They tried hoisting the nets into the boat, but failed, and were now talking about what to do next. While all this was going on, it suddenly dawned on the beloved disciple, whom most scholars take to be John bar Zebedee, that the man on shore was their own Jesus. There was no doubt in his mind. It was an “Ah, ha!” moment.
Everyone else was so excited about the catch that they hardly gave a second thought to the man on shore (which, by the way, happens in churches, too. People can get so caught up in the exciting things that are happening in a church that they almost forget the One behind it all). But when John said to Peter, “It is the Lord,” Peter immediately knew that it was so. Every church needs people like John, people who are quick to recognize the Lord. They are often not the first to act, but they are the first to perceive, the first to recognize that some leading is from the Lord.
But churches also need men women with the spirit of Peter – people of courage and faith, who jump right in whenever they recognize the Lord. Whether you’re a John or a Peter, Jesus’s church has a place for you!
Jesus’s church has a place for you.