Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Kingdom of God (03/12/09)
TITLE: Of Fish and Faith
By Chun-yen Stillman
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Of Fish and Faith
As the world is increasingly threatened with violence and financial crises, thoughts of hiding ourselves in a remote cave become tempting. Daily struggles with uncertainties in the job market as well as the political tensions are almost enough to overwhelm dreams of serving God and his kingdom. From parting of the Red Sea by Moses, to the feeding of the five thousand by Jesus, is it all about survival and security?
Perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at the story of Simon Peter, the famous fisherman at the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: Peter and four friends went out in a boat to do fishing. They worked hard all night, but caught nothing.
Early in the morning they saw a stranger on the shore, about a hundred yards away. He called out to them: “Children, have you any food?”
“No,” they called back.
The stranger spoke again, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
That was an odd suggestion. Yet the stranger sounded sure and confident. The fishermen threw their old net to the right side of their boat. In a short time the net became so heavy that they could not haul it in. It was loaded with fish, but the net did not break.
It dawned on someone that this stranger was Jesus – the master who had just come back from the dead, the friend they knew.
Simon Peter immediately jumped in the water, leaving the heavy load of fish for his buddies to tow to shore. The stranger had made a fire with burning coal with fish on it. He asked them to contribute to the breakfast meal with some of the fish they had just caught. And what did they catch? One hundred and fifty-three big-sized fish!
They sat and had breakfast together. Jesus served them bread and fish, all freshly grilled.
A warm feeling of excitement filled the men’s hearts. Yet no one asked him who he was.
They knew he was Jesus. He had come back from the dead, and this was the third time he showed himself to them.
They did not have to ask whether Jesus knew who they were. There was nothing their friend did not know. There was no fish they could not catch in his presence.
Had their master been watching them through the night? Did he care about their struggles? How delighted Jesus must have felt when he saw the happy and excited faces of his fisherman friends? How much hope did that fire of Jesus light up in their lives again?
Yet the most important question was begging to be asked. It did come after breakfast.
“Simon, do you love me more than these?” Jesus said to Peter.
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” answered Peter.
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
This conversation between Jesus and Peter happened three times in a roll. Each time Jesus dug deeper into Peter’s soul.
In the midst of finding a miraculous catch of fish and being served hot bread, Peter was confronted by Jesus with the essential question: Do you love me?
How was Peter to prove that he did love his master Jesus? What was he expected to do with that love? The answer seemed less complicated than the challenges at sea.
“Feed my sheep”, Jesus said three times.
Could it be that beyond fish and faith, the kingdom of God is still about following Jesus and feeding his sheep?
Living in a time of potential danger and scarcity, how does a Christ follower feed the sheep of the kingdom? Perhaps we are confronted with the same question: How much do I love my savior and master Jesus? Am I willing to take risks in order to bring God’s love to the needy and the oppressed? As Gary Haugen said in his book *Just Courage*: “Do we want to be brave or safe? ….We simply can’t be both”.
Writing Challenge Entry for Beginners Level
Topic: The Kingdom of God
Word Count: 660
Submission Date: March 18, 2009
Scripture Reference: John 21: 1 – 19 New King James Version
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